In his most recent book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? published by Portfolio/The Penguin Group, Seth Godin discusses a number of important topics, including “The New American Dream.” Here is an excerpt from the book:
Do you remember the Old American Dream? It struck a chord with millions of people (in the United States and in the rest of the world too). Here’s how it goes:
Keep your head down
Show up on time
Suck it up
…and you will be rewarded.
As we’ve seen, that dream is over.
The New American Dream, though, the one that markets around the world are embracing as fast as they can, is this:
Make judgment calls
Connect people and ideas
…and we have no choice but to reward you.
* * *
As I read this passage in Linchpin, I was reminded of a book Alan Watts published in 1989, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, in which he observes, “We need a new experience — a new feeling of what it is to be ‘I.’ The lowdown (which is, of course, the secret and profound view) on life is that our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing — with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.”
Godin and Watts urge all of us to believe in and then pursue The New American Dream so that we can be not only ourselves but our best selves. Why be satisfied with anything less?
Now, this is an endorsement of a book! — Levitt loves Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto, as does Dubner
If there is one topic that I have no natural affinity for, it is checklists. I don’t use checklists. I’m not interested in checklists.
Yet, against all odds, I read Atul Gawande’s new book about checklists, The Checklist Manifesto in one sitting yesterday, which is an amazing tribute to the book that Gawande has crafted. Not only is the book loaded with fascinating stories, but it honestly changed the way I think about the world. It is the best book I’ve read in ages.
But Dubner is not too confident that the checklist will be adequately adopted and implemented, because there is no money to be made on such a “free” solution to a very real problem.
What a sad and discouraging dilemma…