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

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  220 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 9th 2014 by Melville House (first published January 1st 2014)
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(showing 1-30 of 558)
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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 ...more
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
...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
Ondřej Puczok
Rozhodně jde o zajímavou knihu, kde jsem rád, že jsem ji získal a přečetl. O Nejlepší straně a Jónu Gnarrovi jsem slyšel hodně a doplnění informací z jeho pohledu je vítané. Bohužel Jón Gnarr je možná dobrý komediantem (nemohu posoudit, nikdy jsem ho neviděl) a byl dobrým starostou (v knížce se to nedozvíme, ale dle různých ohlasů tomu tak skutečně bylo), ale vypravěčem je děsivým. Nedrží se tématu, odbíhá, nevysvětluje, mate - to vše dohromady s cílem Nejlepší strany co nejvíce přehánět, blbnou ...more
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 ...more
Joshua
Interesting enough. I would have preferred a bit more substance of what the Best Party wanted to do and accomplished.
Ricardo Ribeiro
Horrible. I am not even commenting what's behind the book - all the rhetoric, the bullshit, the irresponsibility which seems now to be a pattern in Icelandic politicians (including those who deny it, like the author). If I just consider the book by itself, in abstract, it's also horrible. Poorly written (yes I know, Jón, you think a mechanic can proceed with a brain surgery, so why wouldn't you write a book...), hollow, empty. A collection of assorted texts, mostly interesting for Icelandics (wh ...more
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 ...more
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.
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.
Sara Jane
I love this man's story. I love the idea of the long-shot political outsider getting into government and effecting real change--I wish it would happen here, except that I absolutely do not desire the total economic collapse that made Gnarr's rise possible. This story is told with a true sense of humor, and I truly wish that we here in polished, PC America could take a lesson from it in our own political dialogue. As a bonus, this book taught me a lot about Icelandic life and culture, and I can't ...more
Marc
I had the opportunity to see him speak in Baltimore recently and was rather impressed with his accomplishment, he started a political party as a joke and then got his friends on board and won the mayors race. However, this book could have used a little more, it was a short read and seemed to gloss over details, which might be good for his target audience but I was hoping for more. All in all though the message of citizens getting involved with their government to make change is an important mes ...more
Matt Capizzi
A book about an Icelandic counter-culture Comedian creating a joke political organization and creating one of the most amazing Left Liberal Democracies in one of the most inclusive and positive cultures in the world.

He's a Punk, Comedian, and an Anarchist elected as the mayor to the most important cities in the entire world. read this book if you like peace, politics, Iceland, or gender equality. Don't read it if you hate positive people with the disgusting political agenda of fun.
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
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!
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
...more
Jen
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 - ...more
Erin Frost
After listening to a fantastic interview on NPR, I was excited to read his book. While I did enjoy his insight on being a politician and its effect on his family and personal life, I know nothing about what his party accomplished. Drat.... I really was looking forward to reading this.
Misty
Another book that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but I enjoyed being introduced to through our book club. I was expecting something that would put me to sleep. How I became mayor? Does not sound like a fun read, but the author made it enjoyable both in his comedy and the expression of his views, many of which I share.

Stefan Percy
I remember first hearing about Jón Gnarr back a few years ago after he had became the Mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland. I could not remember all the details of his story on how he had come to win the Mayoral race, so when I saw this book, I immediately thought it would be, if nothing else, an entertaining read.

It was rather interesting, although a little light on some details for my liking. If you are at all interested he how Jón Gnarr started the Best Party, and ultimately become the Mayor, then giv
...more
Elisabeth Hubrecht
If you are looking for an elaborated insight in the politics of Icelands Best Party then you might be somewhat dissapointed. But if you seek to be inspired by the down to earth, positive ideas and a view on life of a warmhearted, intelligent man then this book will do the trick.
Oriana
Jun 30, 2014 Oriana marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-read-soon
Wait, what? A memoir of a fake political candidate who accidentally becomes a real politician? Yes I said yes I will yes.
Leanne Russell
Good stuff, just wish it was longer. I've followed Jon Gnarr on facebook for awhile now. Always a facinating guy and I hoped to see more of that in his book.
vgy
3.5 stars
Fascinating story and it was very interesting to get Mr. Gnarr's perspective.
Marykay Pogar
Only in Iceland could this guy become mayor. They have a weird sense of humor.
Adi Shtamberger
A little too silly. Nice guy, though.
Pauline
A quick, fun, and very honest read.
Debbie Alter
This was an interesting and amusing story of a stand-up comedian who runs for and wins as Mayor of Reykjavik after the big financial crash in Iceland. The book proves that regular people can hold political office and affect change without being or acting like a typical politician. The author was very honest about the toll the job took on him mentally. Although he acted like a buffoon on purpose at times, I think he tried very hard to take the job seriously and deserved more respect from other wo ...more
Loki Carbis
A short read but a good one. Jon Gnarr's tale of his life and beliefs, and how that led to him becoming the Mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland. Some interesting ideas about politics, and not a few belly laughs. (My brain kept insisting on rewriting Lard's "The Power of Lard" into "The Power of Gnarr" while I was reading it - I can't help thinking that Gnarr would probably like that.)
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Jón Gnarr Kristinsson is an Icelandic actor, comedian, and politician who became the Mayor of Iceland's capital city Reykjavík on 15 June 2010, and stepped down on 16 June 2014. Born Jón Gunnar Kristinsson, Jón legally changed his middle name in 2005 to the way his mother pronounced it when he was a boy. He is married to Jóhanna Jóhannsdóttir with whom he has five children. His daughter, Margret, ...more
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“I wish you could simply extirpate violence and war from the world, abolish all the armed forces, and destroy all the bombs. But this is probably not very realistic. Ultimately, everyone has to start with themselves. Many want to be active somewhere else, at best in a country where they don't currently live. But what's the point, if there's no peace in your own life? So be at peace with yourself. And how? Through peaceful dealings with others. Start by ensuring peace at home before you go out into the world. Or work for peace in both spheres. You can't be working for a peace camp in the Middle East during the day and then in the evening have a quarrel with your family over the phone.” 0 likes
“The only realistic way to change things is direct participation in democracy.” 0 likes
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