Alexander Stubb is a Finnish politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs since April 2008. Before that, he lived and worked in Brussels as a member of the European Parliament. What you find in this book, The Naked Truth, is a collection of his columns for Blue Wings, Finnair’s in-flight magazine. Good and funny reflections about what is to be a Finnish politician in the current Europe!
The book “per se” is totally recommended for the foreigners living in Finland just for the simple fact that WSOY, the publishing company, has had the great idea to publish a version in both English and Finnish; an excellent exercise for some of you who want to practice Finnish and read something interesting at the same time.
Although I do not know Alexander personally, it is easy to imagine him as the stereotypical young and cosmopolitan successful Finnish politician, with his Nokia Communicator and his laptop working with no rest while jumping around the European airports, between Brussels and Helsinki.
All over his 19 chapters, divided for every one of the columns, written as a kind of blog entry, there is space for about everything: the Finnish and European stereotypes, remarks about how is the every day work at the European Parliament, of comments about his personal hobbies like running marathons or trying triathlons.
It is interesting to see Stubb’s youthful and plain style when explaining things. He does not get lost in much rhetoric and explain things in an easy way for everybody to understand, connecting with the current reality, so you can really feel that he is “one more citizen” who enjoys the same than any other normal person in Finland, rock music, sports, etc… But sometimes, getting to know how Finnish are, a mixture of shyness and pride, you can feel how the protective ideas about everything that is Finnish being as good or better than the products from abroad are still present there.
In any case, the book is very entertaining and useful. Same than Finnish are always curious to catch a glimpse of their country through the eyes of the foreigners, it is also nice to see how Europe is seen through the eyes of a young European politician. I actually miss that the chapters are not a bit longer, and I also do not understand why their order has been altered between the English and the Finnish version. All in all, easy to read, and have to thank Alexander that he has focused more on a light view of life instead of on boring political speeches. But I have a complaint to make. In the last paragraph of the book, he promises to answer personally to every email sent to him. I tried to contact him in order to get some comments for this article… and I am still waiting. So hope you read this and get to contact me Alexander! A promise from a Finnish politician is… still a promise!