web site hit counter Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World

Availability: Ready to download

It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership. Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership. Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” . . . and he swore he’d break all his campaign promises. But then something strange started happening: his campaign began to succeed. And in the party’s electoral debut, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner. Gnarr promptly proposed a coalition government, although he ruled out partners who had not seen all five seasons of The Wire. And just like that, a man whose previous foreign-relations experience consisted of a radio show (in which he regularly crank-called the White House and police stations in the Bronx to see if they had found his lost wallet) was soon meeting international leaders and being taken seriously as the mayor of a European capital. Here, Gnarr recounts how it all happened and, with admirable candor, describes his vision of a more enlightened politics for the future. The point, he writes, is not to be afraid to get involved—or to take on the system.


Compare

It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership. Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into It all started when Jón Gnarr founded the Best Party in 2009 to satirize his country’s political system. The financial collapse in Iceland had, after all, precipitated the world-wide meltdown, and fomented widespread protest over the country’s leadership. Entering the race for mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, Gnarr promised to get the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park into downtown parks, free towels at public swimming pools, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” . . . and he swore he’d break all his campaign promises. But then something strange started happening: his campaign began to succeed. And in the party’s electoral debut, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner. Gnarr promptly proposed a coalition government, although he ruled out partners who had not seen all five seasons of The Wire. And just like that, a man whose previous foreign-relations experience consisted of a radio show (in which he regularly crank-called the White House and police stations in the Bronx to see if they had found his lost wallet) was soon meeting international leaders and being taken seriously as the mayor of a European capital. Here, Gnarr recounts how it all happened and, with admirable candor, describes his vision of a more enlightened politics for the future. The point, he writes, is not to be afraid to get involved—or to take on the system.

30 review for Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Jon Gnarr ran for mayor of the largest city in Iceland not because he had experience as a politician, but because he was a comic and was, at first, poking fun at the system. But then, he realized that politics as usual was getting his country no where. So, he took the election seriously. Imagine his surprise when he won. "Leo Tolstoy once said, 'Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself.' But I feel that I have changed myself. I've done my homework. And next I want to Jon Gnarr ran for mayor of the largest city in Iceland not because he had experience as a politician, but because he was a comic and was, at first, poking fun at the system. But then, he realized that politics as usual was getting his country no where. So, he took the election seriously. Imagine his surprise when he won. "Leo Tolstoy once said, 'Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself.' But I feel that I have changed myself. I've done my homework. And next I want to try- just try, mind you!- to change the world. pg 6-7, ebook. Iceland is unique in that it has a very small population of around 330,000 people. That's about the equivalent of Santa Ana, California, or Corpus Christi, Texas. In other words, it's not that big of a place. "The most famous Icelander is Bjork. ... Abroad, she constantly has to flee from fans and journalists who pursue her into every little corner, while in Iceland you run into her in the pool, on the bus, or in the shops. In general, she's left alone. In Iceland I was famous by the time I was fourteen. I was a fourteen-year-old with a Mohawk and a ring through his nose, and this too was news." pg 13-14, ebook. Here's the scene: Iceland is quite small, the entire country was in an uproar because of the banking collapse, and the people were more than ready for change. But, Jon Gnarr was not ready for politics. "Thanks to Dad, the newspapers, and the constant discussions broadcast on radio and television, I developed an aversion to politics. Politics was dumb, irritating, and boring. pg 23, ebook. A self-described 'peaceful anarchist', Gnarr was a comic and showman. He created The Best Party as a joke. But, somewhere along the line, the joke became a reality. "Do you have to understand something down to the last detail before you can contribute to it? Do you have to be a scientist to become interested in science? ... No. And it's no different with politics. You don't need to be a politician to have the right to participate in political life." pg 41, ebook. Even though he started to take the race seriously, Gnarr never took himself too seriously. And it worked. "Every time another party made any election promises, we sat down together and discussed how we could top them. The Left-Green Alliance promised children and teens free access to swimming pools- our response was to offer free admission for all- with free towels included." pg 54, ebook. By not playing politics as usual, Gnarr and The Best Party won. I think he shows what's possible when people bring a sense of humor and a desire to do good to the table. I think we can accomplish great things. It just takes someone with a smidgen of imagination and a willingness to try. Recommended for anyone who's tired with politics as usual and for all the peaceful anarchists of the world.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    Iceland experiences the largest systemic banking collapse in economic history; enter Jón Gnarr, anarchist and comic - aaaand he becomes the mayor of Reykjavík and saves the day. You can't make this stuff up. If you'd like to learn more about Gnarr's memoir, you can listen to the the podcast episode (in German). Iceland experiences the largest systemic banking collapse in economic history; enter Jón Gnarr, anarchist and comic - aaaand he becomes the mayor of Reykjavík and saves the day. You can't make this stuff up. If you'd like to learn more about Gnarr's memoir, you can listen to the the podcast episode (in German).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    In 2009, Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr created a fake politician (“an odd mixture of Groucho Marx, Tony Blair, and an American used car salesman”) for a TV sketch show. In the wake of the financial crisis that effectively bankrupted the entire country, however, he decided the character would be in rather poor taste. But rather than shelving him entirely he chose, instead, to make him real — and run for Mayor of Reykjavík through the newly created “Best Party”, to which he recruited a wide selecti In 2009, Icelandic comedian Jón Gnarr created a fake politician (“an odd mixture of Groucho Marx, Tony Blair, and an American used car salesman”) for a TV sketch show. In the wake of the financial crisis that effectively bankrupted the entire country, however, he decided the character would be in rather poor taste. But rather than shelving him entirely he chose, instead, to make him real — and run for Mayor of Reykjavík through the newly created “Best Party”, to which he recruited a wide selection of Icelandic comedians, musicians etc (and whose election video, to the theme of “Simply The Best” you can still watch on YouTube.) At first they were seen as little more than a comedic stunt, but slowly they started to gather momentum, and by the time the established parties got around to treating them seriously it was too late, and the Best Party won more seats than anyone else. Refusing to form a coalition with anyone who hadn't watched every episode of The Wire, Gnarr found himself as mayor, and suddenly needed to work out what to actually do. But if you read this book expecting to find out what the Best Party actually did with their unexpected power, or how successful they were, you'll likely be disappointed. There are lots of tantalising moments, where Gnarr seems about to get into detail, but then abruptly backs away again, leaving us with little more than dim glimpses. We're introduced, for example, to his Wu Wei approach, developed through years of judo training, of refusing to play the game by the existing rules (where he'd surely lose), but the key examples given are simply of him not getting drawn into shouting matches with opposing politicians, rather than any deeper, more important, City Hall machinations, and the whole chapter is over in a couple of pages. It's unclear whether he's uncomfortable blowing his own trumpet too much, whether he's simply a poor story-teller, or whether there actually is no depth to the story, but either way the book simply doesn't work. It's a jumbled mess of general autobiography (including falling into the classic trap of starting with childhood stories before establishing why we'd be interested in the back-story) and political memoir, all oddly interleaved with manifestos, letters, interviews, and random musings that seem to have been transplanted from his blog or facebook page as filler. The main message that rings clearly throughout the book is Gnarr's insistence that politics is much too important to be left to politicians. In many ways the Best Party were a meta-Party. They didn't really stand for anything other than the importance of getting involved. By showing that a new party can indeed come from nowhere, refuse to play by the existing rules, offer a new choice to a population looking for change, and actually win — even if largely as a protest vote — hopefully their long term effect will indeed be to encourage more people work towards creating something better, rather than sitting around bemoaning that no-one else is. But largely this whole adventure comes across like a giant missed opportunity, particularly in contrast to the similar story of someone like Antanas Mockas in Bogotá. ★★☆

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    A quick, easy, fun, & inspiring read. Exactly what I needed right now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schnell

    Remember when Iceland went bankrupt and then turned itself around by throwing out the corrupt politicians and jailing the criminal bankers? Jon Gnarr was at the forefront of that bloodless revolution and this book is his story of how that happened. It should be required reading for the 99% of Americans who got screwed by the economic crisis of 2008 and is still trying to recover. Gnarr was a semi-employed comedian/taxi driver when the crisis hit. In writing some reactionary comic sketches he and Remember when Iceland went bankrupt and then turned itself around by throwing out the corrupt politicians and jailing the criminal bankers? Jon Gnarr was at the forefront of that bloodless revolution and this book is his story of how that happened. It should be required reading for the 99% of Americans who got screwed by the economic crisis of 2008 and is still trying to recover. Gnarr was a semi-employed comedian/taxi driver when the crisis hit. In writing some reactionary comic sketches he and some friends decided to put the satire into action by forming a political party very reminiscent of Monty Python's Silly Party. Only they called theirs the Best Party and actually won enough votes in the next election to make Gnarr the mayor of Reykjavik, a position of great power in Iceland. From then on it was a matter of sticking to his convictions, avoiding any hint of corruption and building a movement that changed the political landscape of the country. No guns or violence necessary. For a small, quick-read book there are a lot of good lessons we can learn from it. One star off just because Bjork.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Finally finished - review to follow later

  7. 5 out of 5

    Always Pink

    I love him to bits! The world needs many more Jón Gnarrs, that's for sure. I hope the English translation of this little book does him justice; I read it in German and the translator did a good job. So he comes across as very funny (of course he is, he's a comedian!), deeply humane, decent and unpretentious. It would be a pity if the anarchic bits opening an closing the book would put any less comedy-inclined readers off. His ideas and thoughts in the rest of the book, which he combines with a s I love him to bits! The world needs many more Jón Gnarrs, that's for sure. I hope the English translation of this little book does him justice; I read it in German and the translator did a good job. So he comes across as very funny (of course he is, he's a comedian!), deeply humane, decent and unpretentious. It would be a pity if the anarchic bits opening an closing the book would put any less comedy-inclined readers off. His ideas and thoughts in the rest of the book, which he combines with a short biography and a retelling of how the Best Party won the elections and how he became major of Reykjavik, are well worth considering and would have made me follow him on Facebook if I hadn't already done so for years... "Der wahre Sieger ist für mich der, der am meisten Spaß dabei hat und das gilt nicht nur für den Sport, sondern auch für das Leben als solches."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I was very disappointed in this book. I mean, what a great story. A comedian runs a joke campaign for mayor and ends up getting elected. I thought it would be funny - it wasn't. I thought I would learn about all the things his administration did for the city - I didn't. It turns out the book was about as well planned as his campaign. I sense he really struggled to fill the scant 133 pages, and barely managed it by throwing in letters he had written and a lengthy, but hardly illuminating, intervi I was very disappointed in this book. I mean, what a great story. A comedian runs a joke campaign for mayor and ends up getting elected. I thought it would be funny - it wasn't. I thought I would learn about all the things his administration did for the city - I didn't. It turns out the book was about as well planned as his campaign. I sense he really struggled to fill the scant 133 pages, and barely managed it by throwing in letters he had written and a lengthy, but hardly illuminating, interview with his wife. The rest was a bunch of aw-shucks style bragging about how wonderful he was with very little evidence to back it up.

  9. 4 out of 5

    mary evenson

    This is a difficult book to rate. He started the Best Party and was elected mayor if Reykjavik Iceland after the economy there tanked. He was a comedian, actor, radio broadcaster prior. He is a pacifist and thinks Iceland should leave NATO and that any military flights should be banned from their airports Much of what he was able to do was because everyone almost knows everyone in Iceland He is a strong family man with great ethics but quirky An interesting quick read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    This was a fun, comedic political read. Gnarr is a liberal punk who has grown up and learned how to communicate his beliefs in relatable language. It's a quick read - there are a lot of blank pages in the book. I would recommend it to anyone who is really into peace, turnaround stories, democracy and Iceland. His discussion of democracy is pretty helpful for me in light of the current situation in the U.S.A. - democracy needs more than a leader to work, it needs the participation of all constitu This was a fun, comedic political read. Gnarr is a liberal punk who has grown up and learned how to communicate his beliefs in relatable language. It's a quick read - there are a lot of blank pages in the book. I would recommend it to anyone who is really into peace, turnaround stories, democracy and Iceland. His discussion of democracy is pretty helpful for me in light of the current situation in the U.S.A. - democracy needs more than a leader to work, it needs the participation of all constituents.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ebb

    An interesting look into how one man became mayor of Reykjavik. This was quite a quick read and I got a lot of information on what type of person Jon Gnarr is and how he views politics and his climb up to being Mayor of Reykjavik. What was missing from the book for me was information on what he did as mayor of Reykjavik. In the beginning he talks a little bit about the changes he made to Reykjavik but it would have been interesting to hear how an average person would fair as the mayor of large c An interesting look into how one man became mayor of Reykjavik. This was quite a quick read and I got a lot of information on what type of person Jon Gnarr is and how he views politics and his climb up to being Mayor of Reykjavik. What was missing from the book for me was information on what he did as mayor of Reykjavik. In the beginning he talks a little bit about the changes he made to Reykjavik but it would have been interesting to hear how an average person would fair as the mayor of large city, but I don't feel that we got that. The book does mainly focus on how he got to be mayor, not so much what he did in the position of mayor.

  12. 5 out of 5

    pozharvgolovu

    It was a beautiful book. Translation I guess is good because it was done in plain English, & as the author says, his main ability is to entertain and not to write complicated stuff. Overall he gives a good insight of what meant becoming a Major without the corruption of all politicians and without all the ideological brainwash, usual as well in all politicians. I just wish my country would be as small as Iceland, so all politicians and corrupted bankers would go away and all problems would be sol It was a beautiful book. Translation I guess is good because it was done in plain English, & as the author says, his main ability is to entertain and not to write complicated stuff. Overall he gives a good insight of what meant becoming a Major without the corruption of all politicians and without all the ideological brainwash, usual as well in all politicians. I just wish my country would be as small as Iceland, so all politicians and corrupted bankers would go away and all problems would be solved easily.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zivile

    J. Gnarr is one of my favorite living people from now on and there are not many! He gives us a hope that world could change for better, even political world. I would like to recommend this book to each person, even the ones who aren't interested in Iceland or their little political affairs. It is a story you could get inspired to do brave things even if you were at the bottom of society's hierarchy. Oh, and to learn some peaceful positive attitude! J. Gnarr is one of my favorite living people from now on and there are not many! He gives us a hope that world could change for better, even political world. I would like to recommend this book to each person, even the ones who aren't interested in Iceland or their little political affairs. It is a story you could get inspired to do brave things even if you were at the bottom of society's hierarchy. Oh, and to learn some peaceful positive attitude!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    This is the first-person account of how Jón Gnarr, stand-up comedian, crossdresser, and high-school dropout, started a political party as a joke and ended up mayor of the capital city of Iceland. This is a very dangerous book. It has almost convinced me that participatory democracy can be functional under late-stage capitalism, at least on a small local scale. Who wants to help me start an American Best Party? We can call it the American Best Coalition, or ABCs for short.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kamil

    Despite being quite short, I stopped reading about half way through when it became clear that the book didn't offer much to take away. I enjoyed the occasional glimpses into Icelandic life, but the story of the Best Party was far from interesting. This was either due to Gnarr's erratic retelling of the events or perhaps because there wasn't much to tell in the first place. Despite being quite short, I stopped reading about half way through when it became clear that the book didn't offer much to take away. I enjoyed the occasional glimpses into Icelandic life, but the story of the Best Party was far from interesting. This was either due to Gnarr's erratic retelling of the events or perhaps because there wasn't much to tell in the first place.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emlikescake

    I finished this book in a coupe of hours, slammed it shut and declared, "Awesome." Finally an advocate for fun in politics. Finally, a voice of both reason and unreasonableness at the very same time. I knew a little about Jon Gnarr already, but this book is an insight that I thoroughly enjoyed. He's an inspiration. I finished this book in a coupe of hours, slammed it shut and declared, "Awesome." Finally an advocate for fun in politics. Finally, a voice of both reason and unreasonableness at the very same time. I knew a little about Jon Gnarr already, but this book is an insight that I thoroughly enjoyed. He's an inspiration.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    An interesting read but I kind of wanted a little more meat on it. Maybe there isn't that much meat to the Best Party-- which is kind of the point-- but I'd like to know a little bit more about the man and what motivates him. Still a worthwhile read. An interesting read but I kind of wanted a little more meat on it. Maybe there isn't that much meat to the Best Party-- which is kind of the point-- but I'd like to know a little bit more about the man and what motivates him. Still a worthwhile read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jo Coleman

    This started out an interesting story about growing up in Iceland, being disenfranchised with politics and then accidentally becoming mayor of Reykjavík. But as soon as that happened, it got a bit dull! Needs more jokes.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Interesting enough. I would have preferred a bit more substance of what the Best Party wanted to do and accomplished.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    The story of Gnarr is so much better than the book's execution. The story of Gnarr is so much better than the book's execution.

  21. 5 out of 5

    emma

    "¯\_(ツ)_/¯" - that's it. that's the book. "¯\_(ツ)_/¯" - that's it. that's the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Rainstein

    Definitely a different and interesting perspective. I think Jón Gnarr is a great and interesting person but I didn’t super connect with this book. However if you consider yourself worldly, political, and into comedy, you’ll definitely get something out of this!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ola

    Jón Gnarr six years ago became a mayor of Iceland capital - Reykjavik. The country's largest city - more or less 200 thousand people live there, and that makes around 60% of Iceland population. What's interesting for me, and I didn't know about that before, is that second biggest ethnic group in Iceland are Polish people, they make up almost half of all the immigrants in Iceland. I must say that Iceland is an amazing country, it's beautiful and peaceful. They consider themselves a literature coun Jón Gnarr six years ago became a mayor of Iceland capital - Reykjavik. The country's largest city - more or less 200 thousand people live there, and that makes around 60% of Iceland population. What's interesting for me, and I didn't know about that before, is that second biggest ethnic group in Iceland are Polish people, they make up almost half of all the immigrants in Iceland. I must say that Iceland is an amazing country, it's beautiful and peaceful. They consider themselves a literature country, I heard that from two of my guides and Gnarr also mentions it in the book. They love to read, and they read a lot. Bookstores are one of the stores that are opened till late. They spend their Christmas reading together, whole family sitting down in their new pyjamas reading books they got for Christmas (how amazing is that?!). Icelanders are very artistic, the majority of them does music, Reykjavik is full of murals and strange and fantastic sculptures. Getting back to the book. Jón writes about his journey to becoming a mayor. He mentions his troubled childhood and his troubles at school. He writes about his odd jobs and family. He writes about this all with an amazing honesty. He isn't ashamed to write about anything. What I found most endearing was a story of how he dealt with a loss of his mother - sometimes he puts her lipstick and nail polish on, just to feel a little piece of her. Gnarr also presents his view on the world, how he would like to change the world and how he would like Iceland and a whole world to look like. He's a peaceful anarchist. He values human rights, he wants people to live with each other in peace and respect, he wants people to take care of less fortunate, to look after the environment. He wants a good life for everyone. And he tried to make a change in Iceland's capital, where he created a new political party with his friends that weren't involved in politics before but were good people, a lot of them artists. He tells an inspiring story, that change is possible, but we have to leave our armchairs and do something. If we don't agree with the current state of things, we have the power to change it. If there is no one to vote for in elections, then create a new party that you would like to cast a vote for.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a simple, short book about a revolution in politics that is truly inspiring. Perhaps it's naive to think changes to the political system such as the ones chronicled here could happen in a place bigger than Iceland or without the economic cataclysm Iceland experienced, but Gnarr responded to events out of civic responsibility. And he responded in the way he knew how, even if it might not be in the traditional way. For me, that's the inspiration; that, if there is an injustice, impropriety This is a simple, short book about a revolution in politics that is truly inspiring. Perhaps it's naive to think changes to the political system such as the ones chronicled here could happen in a place bigger than Iceland or without the economic cataclysm Iceland experienced, but Gnarr responded to events out of civic responsibility. And he responded in the way he knew how, even if it might not be in the traditional way. For me, that's the inspiration; that, if there is an injustice, impropriety,a cause or improvement that stirs us, we must respond. For Gnarr, it was not just a matter of responding, but responding creatively enough to answer in a way that both addressed the dire economic predicament and the business-as-usual political system. Gnarr's story is one of artists, rebelling. Iconoclasts assaulting the venerable seats of power, but always with a sense of humor and, with that, nothing to lose. It worked because it struck a chord that resonated in the populace. If it hadn't worked, we would be talking about Iceland's rigid established party political system, the moneyed interests' control of the media, the apathy or fear of the Icelandic people, or maybe, the last minute radical restructuring of the established ruling parties and the way they had managed the economy for years. It also worked because, when granted this opportunity to govern, Gnarr and his Best Party, assumed the responsibility and governed seriously and with a strong commitment to their personal values and beliefs. I enjoyed reading Gnarr's description of his martial arts practice, the quality of Wu Wei, and his use of it in the politic arena. I also found his instruction on how to use facebook instructive.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Gnarr was a kind of interesting book. Definitely unique. As the subtitle states, it's the recounting of how Jon Gnarr started his own political party in Iceland and became the mayor of Reykjavik almost by accident. I didn't know this before I started the book, but apparently Jon Gnarr is kind of the Jon Stewart of Iceland, just without his own TV show. A few years ago there was a major collapse of the banking system in Iceland, and a lot of politicians were implicated. So the atmosphere was ripe Gnarr was a kind of interesting book. Definitely unique. As the subtitle states, it's the recounting of how Jon Gnarr started his own political party in Iceland and became the mayor of Reykjavik almost by accident. I didn't know this before I started the book, but apparently Jon Gnarr is kind of the Jon Stewart of Iceland, just without his own TV show. A few years ago there was a major collapse of the banking system in Iceland, and a lot of politicians were implicated. So the atmosphere was ripe for change. Jon got on Facebook and wrote a joke manifesto calling for the creation of the Best political party.... and a movement started. Before he knew it, he was an actual contender for mayor... and then actually elected mayor! While he definitely keeps things light, you also learn that he takes his job pretty seriously and really tries to do what's best for Reykjavik. Some small detractors (for me): I had no point of reference for the book, the places mentioned, or the people mentioned. I probably missed some jokes. Also, the book wasn't really the best translation. There were some grammatical hiccups throughout. It just distracted a little. And finally, I didn't agree with a number of his political views. I'm 120% American capitalist, and he's Icelandic socialist-leaning. Eh. To each their own, but it made for a slightly less enjoyable read for me. I picked it up just because I was piqued by the title and subtitle. My mom has this fascination with Reykjavik, so it popped out at me. I don't regret the bit of time to read, but I'm not fawning over it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    This is a spirited, breezy romp through the life of Gnarr who, as the title implies, invented a new left-of-center party for Reykjavik. This “Best Party” won a plurality of seats (six out of 15) in 2010, and what began as a satirical lark—with leanings toward anarchy—turned real. A professional comedian and performer, the author basically led the charge to bring to task those who caused Iceland’s 2008–11 economic meltdown, getting votes from of a lot of riled up people and those who wanted a cha This is a spirited, breezy romp through the life of Gnarr who, as the title implies, invented a new left-of-center party for Reykjavik. This “Best Party” won a plurality of seats (six out of 15) in 2010, and what began as a satirical lark—with leanings toward anarchy—turned real. A professional comedian and performer, the author basically led the charge to bring to task those who caused Iceland’s 2008–11 economic meltdown, getting votes from of a lot of riled up people and those who wanted a change. Unfortunately, there is little of substance to the movement and the memoir. Gnaar’s “platform” is made up of sentiments such as “Free dental treatment for children and the disadvantaged,” which, while really quite nice, is long on magical thinking. Gnarr himself comes off as meatless, mild, and tame and freely acknowledges that the Best Party “governs” the city in partnership with the more established Social Democrat Alliance. Perhaps this stands as a lesson in charisma, akin to the U.S. electing an actor or a clown as President (oh, wait). VERDICT Gnarr’s bio reads as though he is the Icelandic Dean Martin: sunny-time frolicking with smiles and revelry. Perhaps we should turn back to that perpetual Icelandic favorite, the women’s cross-country skiing team? Find reviews of books for men at Books for Dudes, Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex Radtke

    A light and pleasant read, Gnarr is unfortunately too light to be really interesting. Much like politics, I'm sure writing this in a more detailed fashion would have been a bit too boring, involving too much rehashing of the banalities of mayoral life. So instead, the book is filled with a slapdash retelling of the events at a breakneck speed, coupled with idealistic yearnings and a few writings serving as brief intermissions (these are posts to the Best Party's website, an interview with his wi A light and pleasant read, Gnarr is unfortunately too light to be really interesting. Much like politics, I'm sure writing this in a more detailed fashion would have been a bit too boring, involving too much rehashing of the banalities of mayoral life. So instead, the book is filled with a slapdash retelling of the events at a breakneck speed, coupled with idealistic yearnings and a few writings serving as brief intermissions (these are posts to the Best Party's website, an interview with his wife Jóhanna and the letter Jón sent to Barack Obama). Given the strangeness of his election, and his unabashed status as an outsider, there should be plenty to mine in his time in office. There are a few mentions of concrete actions taken by his party, but not a lot of introspection on the effect that it had on the city or it's populace. When he considers if he himself has changed from the process, he decides that he has not. I want to shake him by the shoulders and ask, "Do you think maybe you should have a bit?!" Jóhanna's answer to the question (from the interview with Bill Hayes) is more satisfying, remarking that now when it snows she thinks of how much it will cost to plow the streets. It's the answer of someone who as actually come to terms with the realities of managing a community. The book's saving grace is its earnestness, and it never feels as though he is attempting to gloss over or hide his thoughts or feelings on a matter. Though his writing more often obfuscates than illuminates, it is a genuine to a fault and that is worth quite a bit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Clain

    I'm in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, I really like Jón Gnarr, the way he sees the world and other people, and I really like what he achieved with his 'fake' political party. But on the other hand, the way he tells his story is a bit of a let-down. I first heard about him (and his book) in early 2014 when he was a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. When he said he was a comedian who invented a crazy politician persona for an act, and then went one bit further and created an a I'm in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, I really like Jón Gnarr, the way he sees the world and other people, and I really like what he achieved with his 'fake' political party. But on the other hand, the way he tells his story is a bit of a let-down. I first heard about him (and his book) in early 2014 when he was a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. When he said he was a comedian who invented a crazy politician persona for an act, and then went one bit further and created an actual political party, and then went another bit further and ran for mayor of the capital city of Iceland and won, I knew I wanted to learn more about it. And after reading his book, I know a tiny bit more about it, but it's not enough. The book barely scratches the surface on many occasions and it was frustrating not to have more details or examples. I've found one sentence that illustrates this lack of depth: "A sense of humanity is also high on the list, because without humanity everything else is futile: religions, political movement, or anything else at all." (end of chapter) Don't get me wrong, the story itself is worth a read. It's somehow comforting that humane politicians can exist and can even be in power. But the book could have been so much better with more details about the things that matter and without the several filler chapters made of letters, manifestos and interviews.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This short memoir was interesting, not for the writing so much as who wrote it. Jón Gnarr, the now-former mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland, is something of a character. After the financial crisis that bankrupted Iceland around 2009, many Icelanders had had it with their elected officials, whom they viewed as being complicit in the total collapse of Iceland's nearly unfettered financial sector. Comedian and entertainer Jón Gnarr emerged as satirical political candidate (like Stephen Colbert's presiden This short memoir was interesting, not for the writing so much as who wrote it. Jón Gnarr, the now-former mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland, is something of a character. After the financial crisis that bankrupted Iceland around 2009, many Icelanders had had it with their elected officials, whom they viewed as being complicit in the total collapse of Iceland's nearly unfettered financial sector. Comedian and entertainer Jón Gnarr emerged as satirical political candidate (like Stephen Colbert's presidential bid) for the mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland, the country's largest (really, only) city. He started up what he called the "Best Party" as something of a joke, and used it to poke fun at politicians. But somewhere along the line things got serious, and the people rallying around the Best Party decided to make it a legitimate political party. Gnarr ended up building a platform of social issues and actually running for mayor. He and the Best Party won the election, and he served as mayor from 2010 to 2014. He did not run for re-election after that and dissolved the Best Party, but the players in the party formed a new party (Bright Future) that continues to be influential in Icelandic politics. The book isn't amazing, but it gave me some humorous insight into Icelandic politics and culture.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Faryn Fireball

    this book had me reconsidering how i consider a book good or not. is it content? is it how it serves the intended audience? is it concept? is it the precise language used to convey ideas? by which i mean this: Jon Gnarr is brilliant in some ways. he saw a broken and corrupt system and tried something that nobody did before. to discuss the turnaround and glowing success of Reykjavik and Iceland in the past decade and to leave out Gnarr's name is foolish. he spawned 'The Best Party' through his not this book had me reconsidering how i consider a book good or not. is it content? is it how it serves the intended audience? is it concept? is it the precise language used to convey ideas? by which i mean this: Jon Gnarr is brilliant in some ways. he saw a broken and corrupt system and tried something that nobody did before. to discuss the turnaround and glowing success of Reykjavik and Iceland in the past decade and to leave out Gnarr's name is foolish. he spawned 'The Best Party' through his notoriety as a comedian and his ability to connect people and ideas. Iceland is blossoming once more and he has been an important figure in the transformation. but for an inspirational story, the writing is rather un-inspirational and dull. in his comedy, Gnarr's jokes often do not land as they are intended. in his writing, his turn of phrase find a similar fate. his building of a narrative thread is rather flat and render this book a waste of a good story - something which is truly unfortunate.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.