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

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 194 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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“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."

“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.”

Product Description

In the epicenter of the world financial crisis, a comedian launched a joke campaign that didn’t seem so funny to the country’s leading politicians . . .

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.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2549 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (June 24 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I75EVIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,295 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An enjoyable, inspirational off the wall read from an out-of-the-box thinker and doer. Jon's story demonstrates that the most mundane and controlled 'spaces' can be transformed through creativity, radical trust, love and above all, humour, Recommended for all aspiring or long-in-the-tooth politicos.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, Gnarr has a very interesting perspective on politics and community in general. It's great to read about someone who isn't satisfied with the status quo and is willing to do something about it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1742e04) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa184899c) out of 5 stars Gripping memoir from comedian turned Mayor of Reykjavik Gnarr June 24 2014
By Irene - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1848be8) out of 5 stars Entertaining Memoirs of a Memorable Mayor of Iceland Aug. 2 2014
By Windmill2011 - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1848e28) out of 5 stars I want to meet Jon Gnarr now. Nov. 29 2014
By Martin Joseph Barry - Published on
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1848fcc) out of 5 stars Be Bold, Be Brave, Beyond Your Wildest Thoughts...Success Manifests...Humor Leads the Way Dec 31 2014
By Nancy Drew - Published on
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.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1848ea0) out of 5 stars Best...Best...Best! June 22 2014
By lanmill - Published on
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. [...]