Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?

How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life

A charming and illuminating comparison of the United States and Europe, from the writer Rick Perlstein calls “America’s greatest social critic”

“Tom Geoghegan is not just a witty and congenial traveling companion; he’s a brilliant social commentator. Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? is delightful reading, but it left me seething about what America could be, if we were willing to put human values first.” —Barbara Ehrenreich

Try to imagine your life in a full-blown European social democracy, especially the German version. Free public goods, a bit of worker control, and whopping trade surpluses? Social democracy doesn’t sound too bad. Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? reveals where you might have been happier or at least had time off to be unhappy properly. It explains why Americans should pay attention to Germany, where ordinary people can work three hundred to four hundred hours a year less than we do and still have one of the most competitive economies in the world.


“All dissatisfied Americans, not just progressives, should read the book.”
—Jeremy Gantz, AlterNet
“Clever and immensely appealing.”
—Katha Pollitt, The Nation
“Truly eye-opening.”
—Robyn Blumner, St. Petersburg Times
“Witty and ironic—and to the point. . . . [A] necessary primer.”
—Jurek Martin, Financial Times
“Geoghegan’s passing comments are entertaining and his acerbic wit fun as he buttresses his case with hard facts. . . . Political economics with a human face.”
—Art Winslow, Chicago Tribune
“A travelogue, self-discovery prose and business book all at once . . . written with humor and candor, making for an easy, fun read.”
—Courtney Crowder, Chicago Tribune

Books by Thomas Geoghegan

See You in Court
How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation

Thomas Geoghegan

Only One Thing Can Save Us
Why America Needs a New Kind of Labor Movement

Thomas Geoghegan

Which Side Are You On?
Trying to Be for Labor When It’s Flat on Its Back

Thomas Geoghegan

In America’s Court
How a Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled into a Criminal Trial

Thomas Geoghegan

Goodreads Reviews