THE NORDIC SECRET: A European Story of beauty and freedom is an incisive book written by Lene Rachel Andersen and Tomas Björkman published by fri tanke.


  • The reasons behind the happiness among the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) with rigorous analysis complemented with facts and supplemented with data in tables and figures.
  • How the countries evolved from peasant and feudal societies often ruled by absolute monarchy to modern societies marked by freedom, liberty, individualism and at times nationalism
  • The book gives an overview of Sweden, history and geography (borders) and politics; and also informs about Gothenburg – Göteborg: etymology.
  • A leitmotif of the book is ‘Bildung’ – self-cultivation by linking philosophy and education for personal and cultural maturation: societally, nationally and pan-regional identities (Scandinavian and Nordic).
  • Philosophically, and academically, the book points out about – ‘the problems we face as a species are problems we have created (climate change, overpopulation, poverty, pollution, wars, terrorism) and stresses the imperative to see for solutions. How? ‘What is needed is a systems perspective: the ability to see systems within systems. The ability to see the big patterns in the affairs of the world plus the ability to zoom in on the details and out to the full picture of interacting systems. Not many people have this kind of complexity of mind but almost all of us have the potential’.
  • The book is beautifully written and one can profit from the perspectives the book discusses ranging from nationalism to historical perspectives.
  • The book will immensely benefit the political and bureaucratic classes of the Nordic countries in the backdrop of raging nationalism as a result of immigration and threats of terrorism (or paranoia?)
  • The book can serve as policy guide for countries marred by corruption such as the ones in Southern Hemisphere and Third World countries especially the countries of the Indian subcontinent (SAARC), and those trying to identify values for their societies – freedom, generosity, health, social support, income, and trustworthy government (also the indicators for measuring happiness for the WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT).


One can also ask, if the Nordic countries are the happiest countries in the world, why, the governments do not come up with annual Gross Happiness Product like Gross Domestic Product or Gross National Product?


Lene Rachel Andersen is a Danish author, (independent) futurist, philosopher, publisher. She also wrote comedy and entertainment for Danish media after studying business economy and theology. Her works won awards and acclaim: Ebbe Kløvedal-Reich Democracy Baton (2007), Danish librarians’ Døssing Prize (2012), Globalt gearskift (2014) and Testosteroned Child. Sad. (2017).

Tomas Björkman is a Swedish entrepreneur, and dabbled in many fields ranging from financial services to property development to media. He studied physics for his post-graduation and macroeconomics as a supplementary. He manages the Ekskäret Foundation and a social entrepreneur. He is the author of The Market Myth (2016) and Världen vi skapar (2017)