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on 13 April 2001
I picked up this book because I will be going to Sweden this summer and wanted to learn more about the Swedes' foibles and traits. Apart from knowing some Swedes on a business level, I read several books dealing with Swedish history, mentality, and culture. This one adds to putting more pieces together and confirms the information gathered from the other books and my own experiences so far. It is ever so enjoyable to read since it is packed with humour and irony (in fact, the sense of humour appeared to be so British, I first thought Mr Berlin is a Brit). I couldn't put it aside although I had to at times simply because it had me in stitches. But rest assured, this book won't put you off Sweden or the Swedes. The underlying fondness the author has for his native country is still discernible. Can't wait to get my hands on the Xenophobe's guide to the Germans...
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on 30 December 1999
Berlin, of Swedish birth, left his folkhem and has resided in numerous "chaotic" countries (read: anywhere outside of Sweden's harmonious, beautiful borders)
This affords him the ability to look at his country of birth in a manner which only foreigners who live here can appreciate. His hilarious comments, observations and explanations will certainly leave Swedes baffled and, without doubt, full of justifications, statistics and government financed studies in their attempts to prove him wrong about the anal nature of so much here.
Share this one with your other expat/foreign resident friends, but be sure to keep it well away from Swedes. Liberalism don't extend that far! You should note however, that traces of Berlin's Nationality still prevail, as he is indeed fair about so much that is typically good of this marvellous country.
Suggested too: P.J. O'Rourke's 'Eat The Rich'
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on 26 March 2010
I think that the authors' fears concerning xenophobia are exaggerated. As far as offensiveness is concerned, this book has no chance against the Swede jokes frequently published in Norwegian newspapers.

That said, the book - obviously - tells various things about Swedes that the authors find funny. For instance, the Swedes appear to absolutely insist on splitting bills equally. In one story, a Swedish guy let himself to be persuaded to follow the British custom of one guy buying drinks for both, then the other guy buying drinks for both, and so on, but eventually the other guy was dumbfound to learn that the Swede had kept exact track of who owed how much to whom.

This book is somewhat entertaining and somewhat educating. The stress is on "somewhat". It's neither very funny nor very informative. So you can read it if you have nothing better to do with your time, but you won't miss anything if you don't.
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on 24 November 2013
This book has helped me understand more of the Swedes and their culture as I have one daughter in law from Sweden, and now my second son living in Sweden. The book was very helpful when he tried to move to Sweden. He did it now and is very happy there.
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on 1 February 2009
I always wonder if people get put off by the 'xenophobe' in the titles in this series, because they all seem to be affectionate, if critical, portrayals of the nations concerned. This is an amusing and enlightening introduction to the Swedes, and gets more useful information into far fewer pages than many more pretentious guidebooks. I shall certainly pop it in my handbag before venturing in to Viking-land.
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on 26 August 2004
I bought the book for working out in Sweden as part of my University course this year. When asked by my wonderful Swedish hosts how I found Swedes and Sweden I couldn't help thinking and feeling that Sweden and the UK are an exact mirror image of one another in terms of culture, religion and many other things.
So a great help to me in discovering wonderful Sweden where I hope to eventually live.
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on 9 March 2014
When I read the first edition many years ago, I laughed a lot, but so much has changed that most young people wouldn't know what the book is referring to. Some small new oddities have been added as a make-over, but I think a co-writer has to come in if this book shall serve its purpose - to tell something about Swedes in order to help foreigners to stand them.
If the book is just meant to entertain, it's still a bit fun, but I miss the sharpness and relevance.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 August 2011
I'm starting to learn Swedish so I thought I'd take a look at the culture and the people as I study the language. I now know why there are 400 words describing a quizzical expression and only one word for laughter, which is the same as the ones for funny and joke.

Seriously (56 words) though, this is an amusing (same as laughter) and irreverent trawl through the Swedish psyche (I daren't read one about the English).

From the land that gave us ABBA, Ikea & Wallander I'm so surprised that the Swedish appear to be so uptight about themselves. Makes for entertaining reading though.

Thoroughly recommend it.
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on 9 April 2014
My husband loves the Swedes and I am not giving him this to read as he would not enjoy it at all. Some pieces are funny but others just seem to be unnecessarily nasty. I would not continue the series.
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on 28 December 2014
This wasn't the best Xenophobe's guide I have read but was OK to give a quick insight into the nature of Swedes.
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