Book Club: In December, we’re reading Good Sweden, Bad Sweden by Paul Rapacioli

Book Club: In December, we're reading Good Sweden, Bad Sweden by Paul Rapacioli
Paul Rapacioli is co-founder of The Local and author of a book about Swedish values. Photo: Sofia Runarsdotter
The Local's Book Club is looking at this non-fiction book by one of our founders about how Sweden's reputation is used and misused around the world.

Published in 2018, Good Sweden, Bad Sweden by Paul Rapacioli draws on his years of experience managing The Local in a world where fake news and polarised narratives pose a serious threat.

So what part does Sweden play in this?

For nearly three decades, values and social norms around the world have been measured by the World Values Survey, in which Sweden is an outlier: more secular and individualistic than any other country. In this way, it's extreme.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

It is also a country that a lot of people have limited knowledge of: it has a relatively small population, a language few foreigners understand, and it's geographically fairly isolated.

This makes it easy for people to misrepresent Sweden, and present a one-sided picture to support their own views. Good Sweden or bad Sweden. 

To join in with the Book Club, all you have to do is find a copy of Good Sweden, Bad Sweden and let us know what you think of the book.

If you have questions for Paul, send us an email and we will put some of your questions to him in a Book Club Q&A later this month.

Throughout the month and beyond, we'll be discussing the book in our Facebook group, so here are a few questions to keep in mind:

  • The book discusses several news stories and how they were portrayed around the world. Do you remember coming across any of these stories?
  • What adjectives and what values do you associate with Sweden? If you moved here from abroad or have visited regularly, has your impression changed?
  • Good Sweden, Bad Sweden was published in 2018. How has the situation changed since then?
  • Do you agree with Rapacioli's arguments, and why/why not?
  • If you read Factfulness earlier this year, do you see any parallels or contrasts between the arguments both books put forward?
If you'd like to share your thoughts on Good Sweden, Bad Sweden, ideas on what we should read next or other suggestions for the Book Club, join The Local Sweden's Book Club on Facebook, or send us an email In Sweden, you can buy the ebook from Adlibris and the paperbook from Amazon, among other retailers.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.