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4.4 out of 5 stars29
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 May 2011
As the author points out, not many people know where Finland is let alone what the Finns are like. Which is a shame. Finland is one of my favourite places and this charming book helps to explain why. There aren't any photos so the book can't show the outstanding natural beauty of the country; however, the text delightfully evokes the character of the people. I defy anyone to be unimpressed by a people who are as efficient and (notwithstanding the jokes in this book about their taciturn character) as friendly as I have always found the Finns. They also, as the author demonstrates, have a keen sense of humour and are able to laugh at their own foibles: a trait bound to endear them to Britons. Smuggled into the string of amusing anecdotes and tongue-in-cheek stereotypes is a surprising amount of genuinely useful information. Which meant that as well as being thoroughly entertained I learnt quite a bit from this slim volume about Finnish culture. Since I've just booked my sixth trip to the country that's particularly welcome and will make my stay there richer. Highly recommended.
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on 4 May 2011
This is how a guide book should be written. It won't tell you where to catch a bus in Helsinki, but it will give you a very sharp insight into the mind of the guy who drives it.
I judged the book from two perspectives: firstly as a keen traveller and secondly as a published writer. Firstly, as a traveller, I have shelves creaking under the weight of numerous guide books and this one has to be one of, if not the absolute best. It tells me things I want to know about the people who live in the country; things which other guide books avoid mentioning. That alone makes it a worthwhile read.
Secondly, as a published writer I enjoyed immersing myself in Ms Moles' brilliant text and wonderful sense of humour. This is about as far as you can get from a dry, dusty old guide book. It is refreshing and honest and a wonderful read. If you buy no other book about the Finns, buy this one. The first time I read it was to learn about the Finns. The second time was simply to enjoy again the brilliantly funny prose.
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on 15 May 2011
Book decribes the Finns to the tee! Even if I try to avoid stereotypes, as a Finn myself I can regognise lots of the characteristics described in this book in myself especially after living abroad for nearly a decade. I am a typical Finn! Not sure whether that's good or bad though...
Love the witty humour and detailing in all the important aspects of Finnish lives. Book is quick to read, so it does not take too much time from the busy lives of us. It flows from subject to another easily and is really interesting. I will definitely give the book for my partner (englishman) to read and hope he will understand me better.
Highly recommended!
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on 5 September 2012
Most of the things that are listed in this book are very true. I'm Finnish, and I very much recognized myself in the descriptions. We indeed are stubborn, reindeer eating people with a tendency to avoid physical contact when greeting and a habit to think talking is silver silence is gold. And like the book suggests, we are extremely competetive, so we aim for the gold. We swear an unnecessary lot that this book tells more about, should someone be interested in such. It will also tell you more about common sauna habits and such.

"They even turn up at the bus stop 20 minutes before the bus is due." Hey! They don't wait!
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on 20 October 2011
This little booklet is quite amusing, but, as all things of this kind, it has to be taken with a few pinches of salt. Being a Finn myself I found some descriptions embarrassingly accurate, but some just rehashing old myths. I wonder what would happen if the titles of these books were swapped - would the books read a bit like horoscopes, i.e. the one presumably describing your personality looking strikingly accurate?
Never mind; it was fun to read, and you can always put it in your guestroom for foreign visitors and use it as a talking point.
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on 13 June 2011
This is a well-observed gem of a book. I've never been to Finland, but, despite this, was laughing out loud all the way through. My Finnish friend nearly fell off her chair!
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on 26 January 2014
This is absolutely amazing if you are either Finnish or know a Finn. I bought this because I have a Finnish friend, and I read it aloud to him, and we just spent a long time laughing as it is amazingly accurate! One might say it is a Finn-tastic buy! He would hate me for that pun haha :)
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on 12 May 2013
I'm off to stay with a friend near Helsinki this summer so I thought I'd buy this little guide to the Finns.

It's pitched as a witty comment on Finnish stereotypes and on the whole delivers, although it's obvious that, in parts, the Finns would get more from the author's attempts at wit than those unaccustomed to Finland or the Finns like myself.

A nice introduction but it's essential to delve deeper.
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on 2 August 2013
I can warmly recommend this book to anyone who has contact with Finnish people, or anyone who has Finnish origins (and may be wondering why he is the way he is). The author has really hit the nail on the head in her observations, and although she may be exaggerating some things, she never lies. What's more, she's very funny. All my friends have loved the book.
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on 8 May 2011
The book reads like your Finnish friend giving you the low down on Finnish people and culture - very informative, very informal and unguarded. The humour is a little bit uncomfortable in places but overall it's a triumph.

The author has considered a diverse and broad range of topics to cover and has thought it all through very well and creatively. You get the sense that you are privy to information not normally or easily available. The book is also very easy to read with accessible short chapters and a good lay out and order.
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