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Gnarr! How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World Hardcover – June 9, 2014


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Gnarr! How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World + Tales of Iceland: "Running with the Huldufólk in the Permanent Daylight" (Volume 1) + Iceland (National Geographic Adventure Map)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (June 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612194133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612194134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Jón Gnarr, the greatest accident in politics...Integral to Gnarr’s ethos was the idea that politics is a crap job, just like any other crap job – so we all have the right to become involved just because we feel like it."
New Statesman (UK)

“It should have been a disaster. Gnarr had no background in politics...While rival politicians ruthlessly went for him...voters were by and large charmed."
the Guardian's G2 magazine (UK)

Gnarr! is an entertaining reflection on life, politics, and human nature by an original and creative individual...It’s a tribute to, and manifesto for, participatory democracy in the 21st century. And above all, it’s a call for us all to be nicer to each other."
PopMatters

“I love the mayor of Iceland.”
—Lady Gaga

“Certainly my favorite mayor. No competition, in fact.”
—Noam Chomsky

“Jón Gnarr has given the mayor profession a new human earnesty with radical stand-up style, and has chiseled away the stagnancy in that post with explosive humor.”
—Björk

About the Author

JÓN GNARR was born in 1967 in Reykjavík. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became the mayor of Reykjavík in 2010. His acting work includes the movies The Icelandic Dream and A Man Like Me and the television series The Night Shift, which aired on BBC4. In 2014, at the end of Gnarr’s mayoral term, the Best Party will be dissolved. Its members, however, have formed a new political party: Bright Future, which in 2013 won six seats in the Icelandic parliament.

ANDREW BROWN's recent translations include works by Proust, Zola, Flaubert, Stendhal, Rabelais, and Baudelaire.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It was an absolutely wonderful book by an amazing politician!
Conan Smeeth
An entertaining and educational read that will leave the reader hopeful that the average person can change the world.
2withautism
An interesting story of a unique character.....worth reading !
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Irene on June 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Icelandic comedian and actor Jon Gnarr founded the satirical Best Party in 2009, it only cost him 5000 kronur (roughly 30 euros). It may have started as a joke, or so it seemed to the media and politicians alike, but the Best Party's plurality victory in the 2010 municipal elections made Gnarr Mayor of Reykjavik, sparked a political movement, and turned the world's eye to Iceland.

In this memoir, Gnarr recalls his upbringing, espouses some love for Icelandic culture, and details the entire crazy ride of becoming mayor of Iceland's capital and only large city. His translated and straight-forward prose holds a hint of comedy that transcends translation ("And an idea is born when two ideas have sex with each other, and a third idea comes into being."), and it is easy to see why he has garnered international attention from the likes of Noam Chomsky and Lady Gaga. In addition to his honest recounting, he peppers the chapters with interludes from his party website and an interview of his wife Johanna (Joga) Johannsdottir.

As mayor in a country crippled by the recent finanical crisis, Gnarr had to quickly dial from comedic relief to bureocratic icon, making tough decisions including merging schools and saving near-bankrupt energy companies. Beyond the political decisions themselves, it is touching to read about his stress of his political office, his firm stance on a peaceful Iceland, and his commitment to gay and transgender rights--which would explain his 2010 appearance at the Gay Pride parade.

Now that Gnarr has stepped down from his office after not seeking a second term, it is unclear what the future holds. As someone who knew little of Icelandic history and culture before reading this memoir, I cannot wait to see what he does next.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Almost as a joke, Gnarr started a movement that changed the political face of Iceland. This bio/memoir is the fascinating story how it all came to be and provides a ray of hope in the otherwise dismal state of world politics. A perfect supplement to the book would be the documentary of the Best Party campaign. [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Windmill2011 on August 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
During the financial crisis in Iceland a new political party emerged in the city of Reykjavik, the Best Party. By contrast and irony this new party exposed the flaws of the establishment. A grassroots party which after a very refreshing and hilaric campaign (their campaign video is still on YouTube) won a landslide victory and became the Biggest Party. Their front man Jon Gnarr became Mayor. The book is an essential case study of the conversion from Best to Biggest and the personal reflections of a man who succeeded in staying in office, not as an experienced politician, and making a difference through management by speech and statements of principle. The writer is also providing insights in the closely knitted society that Iceland is. At the end one wonders what would happen if mayors rule the world (see also Benjamin Barber's book about this question). In summary an entertaining, interesting and inspirational read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A thoroughly delightful read and proves Margaret Mead's quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." And it was done through Facebook.

Humor, honesty and forthrightness brought success to Jon and his friends who in a good will moment said hey let's create a political party, "The Best Party" and off to an adventure they went.

Fun book learning about another country (Iceland is green and the original word meant island) rather than have the learning come about because we went to war with that country is a breath of fresh air in itself. How a little country took care of the corrupt bankers. A story with a good ending.

We wait to see what this young man will do next with his life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw Jon Gnarr interviewed on Craig Ferguson a few months ago and found his story fascinating. I finally got my hands on a copy of his book about forming his own political party, The Best Party in Reykjavik. Some chapters of this book were more interesting than others and occasionally it felt a little overly self praising, but overall I found the book interesting and informative and definitely know a lot more about Gnarr, Reykjavik and politics than I did before reading. At the end of the day – it’s a nice short read so if you are interested, definitely give the book a shot!
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By John on November 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I had heard about the book on a late night talk show, and thought it would contain more of his promises and campaign experiences. It touched on these things, but it was only cursory. Still, I very much enjoyed it. A great, simple read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Inspiration for peace and a dialogue for humanity in our cities, towns and countries. Spoiler alert: I am ashamed that my President (Obama) didn't respond to Jon's letter.
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By Amazon Customer on September 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After seeing Jim Gnarr on The David Letterman Show I ordered this book. It is a very enjoyable book to read.I highly recommend this book.
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