In this latest edition of Byron’s Book Club, Byron Udell, Founder and CEO of AccuQuote, reviews “Americans at Work” by Craig Storti.
What’s unique about the American workforce? What sets us apart from other nations in our approach to work? What are the qualities that feed our famed entrepreneurial spirit? In “Americans at Work: A Guide to the Can-Do People,” author Craig Storti (Intercultural Press © 2004) tries to answer these questions, amongst others.
Storti theorizes that what’s unique about the American workforce is its mobility, pliability, and flexibility. But how did we get here? “More than that of any other single group, it is the worldview derived from the European-American mindset that has shaped the culture of the American workplace,” the book states. The author reminds us that in Old World Europe, workers were forced into indentured servitude, and therefore never allowed to elevate themselves above their lowly serfdom. But not in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. By not having the historical precedent of centuries of Old World medieval servitude, Americans have always been freer to pursue their own individual destinies.
According to Storti, this “pursuit” of the American Dream has 6 primary cultural themes:
• Unlimited opportunities for anyone with the will to succeed
• A willingness to embrace new ideas and products
• Equality for all
• Focusing on continual self-improvement and achievement
• Economic independence and self-sufficiency
• Efficiency and advancing one’s standard of living
Storti believes that the U.S.’s political, economic, and social freedoms came about because of the American reputation for “positive thinking.” The author believes that this time-honored American optimism continually challenges the status quo, which tends to stagnate business innovation. Storti believes that true innovators instinctively balk against following the herd.
I won’t go into all of the talking points of “Americas at Work,” but the author does discuss a variety of topics, including:
• How Americans view outsiders
• Why Americans are conflicted about control and power
• How U.S. workers navigate their individual work environment
Storti’s book is definitely worth the read. Especially if you’re a “can-do” kind of person.