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23 Reviews
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A witty, informative little book
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...
Published on 8 May 2011 by StephenH

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't tell the truth about Finns and Finland
How disappointing this book is... It is written by a Finnish lady, and although she states at the beginning that Finns always tell everything is at best in their country, the whole book is no more than the uncritical reciting of the usual and eternal propaganda. It has always struck me how accurate British writers can describe civilisations, but the Finns seem to lack...
Published 6 months ago by Dirk Van Hemeldonck

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A witty, informative little book, 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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How a guide book should read, 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book!, 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finns as found?, 20 Oct. 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny, 13 Jun. 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit nostalgic but a funny and worthwhile read, 1 Aug. 2013
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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Written by a Finnish native now living in the UK, this Xenophobe's guide does have more than a hint of rose-tinted nostalgia about it, as it praises the Finn's comfortable introversions and quirky habits. It all feels slightly exaggerated and disproportional- in under one hundred pages it's difficult to paint any more than a one-dimensional stereotype in some regards. That said, it's still a fairly accurate portrayal, from what I've been lucky enough to see.

If you're only heading to Helsinki then you won't see much of the true Finnishness described here. The capital is European-ified, and to meet the true Finnish people described in the book, you'll have to head North- and not to Lapland- and somehow get yourself off the tourist trail.

It's also a very funny book. Without mocking the Finns, their idiosyncracies are well told here. It certainly makes you want to meet them, that's for sure.

If you're heading to Finland, then alongside the normal Lonely Planet-style guidebooks, this is an essential companion piece that introduces you to the complexities of the Finnish people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True true., 5 Sept. 2012
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 26 Jan. 2014
This review is from: The Xenophobe's Guide to the Finns (Xenophobe's Guides) (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice little introductory guide, 12 May 2013
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K. J. Greenland "kevinthegerbil" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Xenophobe's Guide to the Finns (Xenophobe's Guides) (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and hilarious, 2 Aug. 2013
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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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