2.8.15: Bill Littlefield, Swedish Utopia, & Living With OCD

Feb 6, 2015

Credit Flickr-Anselmo Sousa

The media often portray Sweden as a modernist utopia where blond-haired trend makers export upbeat pop music, hip furniture and meat balls, and parents enjoy unparalleled family leave. On today’s show we debunk the myth of the Scandinavian utopia. Then, we’ll talk about the clear difference between ordinary obsession and the disease known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. And Bill Littlefield talks about his favorite sportswriters, and reads from his new collection of athletics-inspired poetry.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


The Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

  • Michael Booth’s new book The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.  Booth is British-born but has lived in Denmark for many years now, and in his book he wryly describes Swedes as a stiff and conformist people paralyzed by good manners, with a government that exists as a sort of “benign totalitarianism”.  
  • We came up with a few reasons Sweden isn't so perfect after all, check it out here.

Ikea Hacking

  • Instead of following the assembly directions to the letter cartoon, some people are opting to use Ikea’s raw materials to create their own customized furniture. 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars enters the world of Ikea-hacking.
  • You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Living With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Hotwiring Habits

  • For decades scientists have used animal models and human technologies like MRI, to learn how habits work in the brain, and how they take control. Now neuroscientist Kyle Smith and his team of researchers are fighting back. Kelly Prime brings us the story.
  • You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Bill Littlefield

  • You probably know Bill Littlefield as the host of NPR’s Only A Game, heard every Saturday morning right here on NHPR, but he has also tackled sports from nearly every angle, including essays, fiction and now poetry.
  • We've got a short list of Bill's favorite sports books at this link.