The Nordic Theory of Everything


At a 2012 conference, Ed Miliband said: ‘If you want the American dream, go to Finland.’ For decades, the country best known for opportunity had been the US, but that crown has now been taken by our Nordic neighbours. When Finnish journalist Anu Partanen moved 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 was more complicated and stressful than anything she had ever encountered in Finland. In this book, Partanen focuses on four key relationships: those between parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and 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.

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From childcare to healthcare, provision for the elderly and tackling issues of homelessness, the Nordic countries are world leaders in organising society – no wonder Finland has been ranked among the happiest places in the world.

But when Finnish journalist Anu Partanen moved to America, she quickly realised that navigating the basics of everyday life was overly complicated compared to how society was organised in her homeland. From the complications of buying a mobile, to the arduous task of filing taxes, she knew there was a better way and as she got to know her new neighbours she discovered that they too shared her deep apprehensions.

The Nordic Theory of Everything details Partanen’s mission to understand why America (and much of the Western world) suffers from so much inequality and struggling social services. Filled with fascinating insights, advice and practical solutions, she makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild society, rekindle optimism and become more autonomous people by following in the footsteps of our neighbours to the North.

Additional information

Weight 0.386 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 3.2 cm






v, 418




948.0712 (edition:23)


College – higher education / Code: F