From Publishers Weekly
Anyone wondering what that "values" buzz after the 2004 election was about, and what it means for business, religion and politics, will find solid answers in this analysis by a former Clinton aide, one of the masterminds behind the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign and a senior Associated Press political correspondent. In a unified, third-person voice, the three declare their intention to "help twenty-first-century American leaders think anew about the people they serve—a people that, despite an increasingly multiracial society, "seem to be seeking more homogeneity in their lifestyle choices." Since the 1990s, they argue, the key to winning the hearts, dollars and votes of the American public and its leaders is appealing to "the three C's, connections, community, and civic engagement." Drawing on interviews with the middle class "exurb" residents who eat at Applebee's restaurants, as well as their own inside knowledge, the authors declare that the pattern holds across the greater part of the American spectrum. Though their narrow interview sample is a weakness, they draw conclusions about the political arena, where lifelong Democrats voted for Bush in 2004 on "gut instinct"; the business world, where customers at the more than 1,700 Applebee's restaurants deem it "a second home"; and in megachurches, which fulfill Americans "need for belonging and purpose in a new century." Illus. (Sept.)
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Sosnik, a former advisor to President Clinton; Matthew Dowd, a Republican strategist and advisor to President Bush; and Ron Fournier, a nonpartisan political writer, bring their diverse perspectives to an analysis of successful people who have adapted to a fast-changing American culture. They focus primarily on Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush; Lloyd Hill, founder of Applebee's restaurant chain; and Rick Warren, founder of a mega church in California and author of The Purpose Driven Church (1995). All of the success stories have in common the elements of desire to help community, make connections with clients, and find a higher purpose in life. The second part of the book looks at broad social changes that are compelling leaders in all areas to "adapt or perish." Interviews with regular Americans are interspersed with success profiles to offer a consensus that "gut values" are more compelling than strategies and tactics. The final chapter, looking toward the future, profiles "Generation 9-11," young people who were in high school or college when the terrorist attack on the U.S. occurred and are more optimistic, civic-minded, and politically active than most Americans, offering a decidedly optimistic prospect. Vanessa Bush
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