Pumped up by paid motivators and divinely inspired CEOs, American business entered the midyears of the decade at a manic peak of delusional expectations, extending to the higher levels of leadership. Gripped by "runaway positive thinking," the markets rose and rose until reality receded into the far distance. Little wonder that it hit so hard when we all fell.
Americans are a "positive" people. This is our reputation as well as our self-image. We smile a lot and are often baffled when people from other cultures do not return the favor. In the well-worn stereotype, we are upbeat, cheerful, optimistic, and shallow, while foreigners are likely to be subtle, world-weary, and possibly decadent. American expatriate writers like Henry James and James Baldwin wrestled with and occasionally reinforced this stereotype, which I once encountered in the 1980s in the form of a remark by Soviet emigre poet Joseph Brodsky to the effect that the problem with Americans is that they have "never known suffering."
If I was well enough (or my husband in tune enough), I'd already own this book. I'll let you all know how it reads out.
Post Edited (JELAINEP) : 1/2/2010 10:01:33 AM (GMT-7)