Stan Nussbaum worked in Africa for many years and has observed the dynamics of relationships between Americans and peoples of other cultures. He serves on the staff of Global Mapping International in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In this playful and thought-provoking work of cultural criticism, he presents core values that animate Americans to action. He begins with what he calls the Ten Commandments of American Culture:
1. You can't argue with success. (Be a success.)
2. Live and let live. (Be tolerant.)
3. Time flies when you are having fun. (Have lots of fun.)
4. Shop till you drop.
5. Just do it.
6. You are only young once. (Do whatever you can while you have the chance.)
7. Enough is enough. (Stand up for your rights.)
8. Rules are meant to be broken. (Think for yourself.)
9. Time is money. (Don't waste time.)
10. God helps those who help themselves. (Work hard.)
Behind these core values are various elements of the American Dream, which are assessed in chapters on self-esteem and fun; ways to achieve three goals at once; essentials for achieving any goal; the American view of human beings; loyalties, groups, and families; fairness, blame, and conflict; time and change; hope and God. Nussbaum uses proverbs and slang phrases as a way of exploring popular culture, which turns out to be a surprisingly fresh way of getting at ethical and cultural truths. Check out the proverbs on fun, time, and self-esteem for insights into some of the essentials of individualism and the quest for success and variety in life.