investments can bring us wealth if we can spot trends.
Sometimes the biggest trends first give us warnings in subtle little
ways such as this early warning about the fading American Dream.
One way to see trends is to monitor bestseller book lists,
such as the New York Times and USA Today.
Merri and I read USA Today because it is the largest circulation
in the US. I don't like the paper a lot but reading it
helps me to
know what the largest single block of Americans are reading.
gives us clues as to what this large block is thinking.
One phenomenon spotted in this effort has been the great
secrets and magic. The best sellers of Harry Potter and
response to the “Da Vinci Code” give clues.
Perhaps Americans have become cynical about the system.
They feel lied
to and deceived by all of the institutions. Perhaps people
the education system, religion, government, law enforcement,
athletics, big business, all have let us down. Maybe
Americans feel as if they are fed too much spin and to little
Can you blame them?
So people want to know the secrets, the real truths, things
so correct that they are magical….and this leads to this
yearning for magic. I don’t know if this is correct but it’s
one of the best shot
theories I use in my guess work.
This may have been the force that led the book “Jonathon Strange and
Mr. Norrell” a book about the 1800s in England and the science of
magic, to became a surprise best seller.
This of course put the book on my reading list. I picked it up for
Merri last year in London and she has been urging me to read it every
Talk about hard, circuitous lessons. Though every review I have read
about this book is a positive rave I had a hard time getting through
it. Merri did too. We both had to take a break in the middle and leave
it for a bit. The 800 page length has something to do with this, but
not all. I had a problem with the book. Reading it solidified my
thinking on a reason why the US economy has been so strong for 200
years and could be fading now.
The reason is a possible change in the American belief in happy
I think that this book was written by an English writer. (The
information on the author is very scanty just 2 lines really.) English
novels, films, TV shows and such, unlike Americans, often lack two
elements of the great American novel. They do not have sympathetic
characters striving for worthwhile goals and they do not always have
happy endings. The problems presented in the British stories do not
always get resolved.
Belief in happy endings has made America different from so many other
nations.Americans have not only wanted, but have really expected and
believed in happy endings. Bless our rose colored souls, we have been
so positive and upbeat and believed that if we strive and work hard we
will be compensated for it!
This is not the philosophy of the old world country, and this is why
so many millions left and came to the USA.
This feeling regrettably may be changing. The gold paving on America’s
streets may be tarnishing, It seems to me that more best novels and
films that sell well in the USA come out bad at the finish.
Am I mistaken? Or is this the beginning of a bad trend that reflects
on more than how to sell books.
Somehow I do not think the American Dream is dead yet. After all,
breakfast business meetings in the US still exist! Let’s hope so
for the whole world.
Having lived abroad for twenty years I know how irritating the
boundless, upbeat, pushy, narrow-minded American attitude can be to
Yet parts of me love this positive, upbeat framework of thought. It
creates a great entrepreneurial energy. Combined with America’s
labor mobility, low cost labor from immigration and easy access to a huge
one-language market, there is an ease and encouragement to do business
that could help keep America (and in the process the global economy)
For many years Merri and I have considered ourselves citizens of the
world (or as Merri says “citizens of the universe”) rather than
Americans, but I am hooked on happy endings and this is where I ran
afoul of “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”. Neither Strange or
Norell are sympathetic characters. Nor are their goals especially
worthwhile. I can see as the book progresses that there will not be a
Let’s hope that America’s belief in happiness remains. The
US has been
the engine that has pulled the global economy along. Americans have
spent and spent and spent, far more than they should. Partly I think
this is true because they still believe in happy endings. Somehow they
feel they’ll resolve the debt.
The world does not have to have American growth to grow. Continued
globalization of the economy will carry on and create more wealth. The
emergence of China, India and other nations will have an incredible
impact on this global community. Yet America’s steadfast belief in
itself could also help this process…a lot.
As you observe the world, economies, markets and currencies to see
which way economic winds are blowing, keep this lesson in find. Happy
endings are good for business but belief in them is even better.
The Happy Ending is dead. Long Live the Happy Ending!
Until next message, I hope all your business and investing has a happy