The Almost Nearly Perfect People

Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

by Michael Booth

The Danes are the happiest people in the world, and pay the highest taxes.

'Neutral' Sweden is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.

Finns have the largest per capita gun ownership after the US and Yemen.

54 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves.

Norway is the richest country on earth.

5 per cent of Danish men have had sex with an animal.

Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians, on and off, for over ten years, perplexed by their many strange paradoxes and character traits and equally bemused by the unquestioning enthusiasm for all things Nordic and hygge that has engulfed the rest of the world.

He leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success and, most intriguing of all, what they think of each other. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterised by suffocating parochialism and populated by extremists of various shades.

'The next Bill Bryson.’ New York Times

Winner of the Best Narrative Travel Book Award from the British Guild of Travel Writers


  • Random House; February 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448192281
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Almost Nearly Perfect People
  • Author: Michael Booth
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital

In The Press

"A thoroughly entertaining read, written brilliantly"


About The Author

Michael Booth is the author of six books, including the international bestseller, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers award for Book of the Year, and Sushi and Beyond, which won the Guild of Food Writers award.