Monocle magazine has published its annual review of leading countries that possess “soft power.” Editor Tyler Brûlé, appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, explained that Sweden had risen to Number 6 on his publication’s annual soft power list. The first reason he gave for this meteoric rise? The global influence of Stieg Larsson and the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo novels. He then added Ikea and H&M as core components in Sweden’s unique mix of soft power attributes. H&M of course just announced a Lisbeth Salander-themed clothing line to accompany the launch of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie next month. Meanwhile, Ikea figures prominently in The Girl Who Played with Fire. By the way, if you are interested in the Ikea connection, check this out.
Those sitting around Joe Scarborough’s table, including Joe’s co-host Mika Brzezinski, then chit-chatted about the important role they expect America’s new Ambassador to Sweden to play. The new American Ambassador just happens to be Mika’s brother, Mark Brzezinski, son of frequent MSNBC guest expert, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Mark Brzezinski presented his credentials to the Swedish King on November 24, 2011 to formally take up his role as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. He replaces Matthew Barzun, whose views on the Larsson books were captured in an interview he did for our book, The Tattooed Girl.