Chapter 3

A New Way to Think

If you could read my mind love what a tale my thoughts could tell.


In 2015, as part of our work at the Martin Prosperity Institute, we conducted a series of interviews with middle-class Americans. Our desire was to gain insights into what it is like to live in America today by talking to individuals from many walks of life—a firefighter in Florida, a teacher in North Carolina, a truck driver in Illinois, a corporate trainer in Utah, and so on. For several hours, via Skype, we sat with each person and listened to stories about their lives.

As part of interview preparation, we asked participants to select an artifact—an object that represented, for them, what it means to be an American. Many of ...

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