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Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > B018QLGBF2
  1. The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life
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  2. The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life

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A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children.

Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life—from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare—was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland. At first, she attributed her crippling anxiety to the difficulty of adapting to a freewheeling new culture. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension. To understand why life is so different in the U.S. and Finland, Partanen began to look closely at both.

In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Partanen compares and contrasts life in the United States with life in the Nordic region, focusing on four key relationships—parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and government and citizens. She debunks criticism that Nordic countries are socialist “nanny states,” revealing instead that it is we Americans who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realize. As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do.

Partanen wants to open Americans’ eyes to how much better things can be—to show her beloved new country what it can learn from her homeland to reinvigorate and fulfill the promise of the American dream—to provide the opportunity to live a healthy, safe, economically secure, upwardly mobile life for everyone. Offering insights, advice, and solutions, The Nordic Theory of Everything makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild our society, rekindle our optimism, and restore true freedom to our relationships and lives.

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Anu Partanen
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

by Anu Partanen
Reviewed by C J Singh (Berkeley, California)
A "Must-Read" Book
Noticing the high praise by Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, I purchased a copy last week. Yesterday, at the Books Inc Store, Berkeley, I attended the author’s lively presentation. She answered audience questions with precise knowledge, concision, and grace.

“THE NORDIC THEORY OF EVERYTHING: In Search of a Better Life," documented with more than 400 research citations and written in highly engaging style is an excellent example of lucid critical analysis.

The widely held stereotype in the US of Nordic countries is that they are “nanny states” that discourage individuality and impose high taxes. In fact, the Nordic countries foster enhanced adult individuality by minimizing dependencies on family members... Read more
The author makes absolutely clear what the differences are between the way the U.S.and the Nordic governments operate on behalf of their citizens. Essentially the Nordic theory of love offers care for its people from prenatal life to retirement and old age in such ways that their citizens do not have to worry about money at every stage of their lives, like American citizens do. Heavy on footnotes (over 300) and bibliography, Anu Partanen presents a carefully detailed comparison of all aspects of life in the U.S., particularly education and health care, at the same time as she exults in her American citizenship. Down-to-earth, almost conversational, this book is a must-read for anyone who mistakenly dismisses the Nordic countries as "socialist" without understanding how their systems really work.
The Nordic Theory of Everything is an eye opening comparison of the socio-economic structures supporting (or not supporting) the Nordic nations (primarily the author's home country of Finland) and the current United States, by a writer whose life has bridged both worlds. We in the United States are fed a distorted view of life in nations like Finland, possibly to support systems in the United States that no longer work and haven't for some time. This book clears up many misunderstandings about the Nordic point of view. Both nations have their good and bad points but while the Nordic countries are overcoming the issues that beset all developed nations, overall progressing into the 21st Century, the United States in many ways is falling behind the other developed nations by clinging to a mythology based in a bygone era. The author addresses shortcomings in the Nordic philosophy and well as her admiration for the good qualities of her adopted home in America as well. All in all a... Read more
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