Rebuilding Brand America: What We Must Do to Restore Our Reputation and Safeguard the Future of American Business Abroad

By Dick Martin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 20
MYTH AMERICA

“It’s a complex fate, being an American.”1

—Henry James

“There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The
real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.”
2

—G. K. Chesterton

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1989, DAWNED AS GRAY AND COLD IN East Berlin as the concrete wall that separated it from the West. No one suspected that by late afternoon a minor government official would gather reporters together to read from a small piece of paper that East Germans would no longer need special documents to travel west. At first, the reporters didn’t understand the significance of what they had just been told. Then it dawned on them—the Berlin Wall, a twenty-eight-mile-long barrier that had divided the city for twentyeight years, was officially open and would soon come down.

By the time the reporters got to the wall from the government ministry, the guard towers on both sides were empty and the barbed wire had been shoved aside in spiky piles. German kids were dancing on the wall, while others hammered away at it with sledge hammers. And every last one of them seemed to be wearing Levi’s jeans.

Those jeans, which were far from cheap (if you could even find them) on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall, were part of the American myth, the stories that remind people they are part of something bigger than themselves and that carry their values from one generation to the next.

-223-

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Rebuilding Brand America: What We Must Do to Restore Our Reputation and Safeguard the Future of American Business Abroad
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction- The Anti-American Century 1
  • Part One 13
  • Chapter 1- Ilting at Windmills 15
  • Chapter 2- The Queen of Branding 24
  • Chapter 3- Charlotte in Wonderland 34
  • Chapter 4- The Prince of Pollsters 43
  • Chapter 5- Measuring Distance 51
  • Part Two 61
  • Chapter 6- Why Do They Hate Us? 63
  • Chapter 7- The Pictures in Their Heads 72
  • Chapter 8- The Business of America 84
  • Chapter 9- The Power of Brands 95
  • Chapter 10- Brand America 105
  • Chapter 11- Ceos' in Handcuffs 115
  • Chapter 12- Plague or Paranoia? 125
  • Part Three 139
  • Chapter 13- in Search of Anti-Anti-Americans 141
  • Chapter 14- The Path to Happy 150
  • Chapter 15- Sink Roots, Don't Just Spread Branches 162
  • Chapter 16- Go Glocal 175
  • Chapter 17- Share Your Customers' Cares 187
  • Chapter 18- Stiff-Necked, Tree-Hugging Critics 201
  • Chapter 19- Share Your Customers' Dreams 213
  • Chapter 20- Myth America 223
  • Chapter 21- A Lever to Move the World 233
  • Chapter 22- Waging Peace 246
  • Coda the Last Three Feet 257
  • A Note about the Endnotes 262
  • Notes 263
  • Acknowledgments 289
  • Index 291
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