[Review] Gnarr! How I became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World

I came across this book in the Orchard Library (one of the libraries without computer stations for individual use – good move in some senses).

It is an honest book about Jón Gnarr by the man himself. No, it is neither a hagiography nor is it a biography in the conventional sense like something about John Major or Margaret Thatcher. It is instead a refreshing take on what it is like to be a politician and to be human. I echo Björk’s (international entertainer) comment on the back cover that Gnarr injected into the ‘…mayor profession a new human earnesty…’ and  has challenged the political apathy and malaise endemic in much of Europe if not the US. (A considerable number do not even bother to vote).

I cannot say I agree with him on every count. But he does have some very interesting ideas including utilising Lao Zi’s (ancient Chinese philosopher) Dao De Jing in political meetings. Money would one day lose its value and become ‘decoration’ or a ‘toy’. (pg. 7) He reserves one hour to himself everyday. (I think this is one way to stay sane). And he has similar views on ideology – they would all be corrupted by human failings. (He also quotes Leo Tolstoy!) Wisely, he does not present himself as infallible and tries to propose that we stop coercing every politician into becoming the Superman or Superwoman. He represents a positive response to the financial fallout that hit Iceland in 2008. [For more see Ásgeir Jónsson. (2009). Why Iceland. New York: McGraw-Hill.]

Yes indeed, being a constructive voice is very tiring; yet can we live with ourselves if we stood idly by?

Other references:

Emma Brockes. (15 Sep 2014). The joker: Jón Gnarr, the comedian who became mayor. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/15/jon-gnarr-comedian-mayor-iceland. The Guardian.

Haukur S. Magnússon. (17 June 2014). Jón Gnarr Is No Longer Mayor Of Reykjavík: “SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH”. http://grapevine.is/news/2014/06/17/jon-gnarr-is-no-longer-mayor-of-reykjavik/. The Reykjavík Grapevine.

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