The Nordic Theory of Everything

The Nordic Theory of Everything
In Search of a Better Life
Anu Partanen
Price: £
  • Hardback
19 Oct 2017
  • Social Science
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At a 2012 conference on social mobility, Ed Miliband said: ‘If you want the American dream, go to Finland.’ For decades, the country best known for opportunity had been the United States, but that crown has now been taken by our Nordic neighbours.

When journalist Anu Partanen moved from her Scandinavian home to the US in 2008, she quickly went from being a confident, successful professional to a wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life – buying a mobile, filing taxes, education and childcare – were more complicated and stressful than anything she had encountered before. As Partanen got to know Americans better, she discovered that they shared her deep apprehension, and to learn why she looked closely at the differences between life in her Nordic home country and the US. In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Partanen focuses on four key relationships: between parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and the government and its citizens. She debunks the criticism that the Nordics are socialist nanny states, revealing instead that it is we who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realise. 

Her conclusion: the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence. Filled with fascinating insights, advice and practical solutions, The Nordic Theory of Everything makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild society, rekindle optimism and restore true freedom to our lives, while pursuing the ‘American’ dream by following the Nordic way of life


‘Partanen is a careful, judicious writer’ New York Times

‘A passionate and intelligent argument’ Publishers Weekly

‘An earnest, well-written work worth heeding’ Kirkus

’An engaging fusion of reportage and memoir’ O, the Oprah Magazine, a Best Book of Summer 2016

‘A book you desperately need to add to your to-read pile’ Gizmodo

‘Partanen’s sensible book should be required reading’ Foreign Affairs

‘A must-read’ New York Post

'This highly readable and entertaining work is timely, as the conversation about inequality and the role of social services in this country has never been more relevant' Library Journal