The American Dream Revisited: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results

“The American Dream is dead,” said the young man at the table behind me.

I was sitting in a coffee shop and sipping my mocha.

“Between all the student loans and the job market it’s more like the American Disaster,” another voice chimed in.

“Yeah. Tell me about it. My credit cards are almost maxed out and all I do is go to school, work, sleep, and do homework. I’m barely hanging on. Forget trying to climb up,” I heard a third person say.

It was at this point I decided to sneak a peak. There were four people in their early 20s sitting around the table. Three were animated, passionate, and in agreement about the bleakness of their futures. But there was one who hadn’t spoke.

He hadn’t joined in the conversation yet. He sat quietly, eyes staring down at the cup he cradled in his hands. His thumbs were tracing lines around the rim. He had just opened his mouth to speak as I turned back around.

“I mean…I don’t know. Yeah, I’ve got some debt but I’m also getting a good education. I’m not really afraid to work hard and there’re good jobs out there. So…yeah. I mean, I feel pretty good about the future.”    

I wrote The American Dream Revisited for him.

There’s so much doom and gloom in the media about how bad it is, or is going to get. But that’s not the whole story. There’s a positive side. I know there is. Not only have I seen it first hand, but I’ve helped others see it and achieve it too. I’ve spent my entire career giving countless people the tools they need to explore the opportunities and possibilities of their lives and succeed.

The American Dream Revisited: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results is my response to the conversation I overheard. It’s the true stories of 13 different people, from all walks of life – from a South African Indian, to an Old Order Amish rebel, to a Holocaust survivor –  who achieved their American Dream. 

So please, join me on a journey that starts in 1865, has all sorts of stops (including a Puerto Rican street gang and the White House), and is still very much alive today. It’s my hope that these stories will inspire you to seek and find your own American Dream. And together – you can achieve it.

Oh – and because I was serious when I said I wrote American Dream Revisited for the quiet guy at the coffee shop – I’ve partnered with Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges ( to set up a scholarship. 20% of all profits made from the American Dream Revisited will go directly to supporting the American Dream Revisited Scholarship.  

If you simply listen to the news, it would seem that the American dream is not possible any longer. That is why I appreciated this book by Gary Sirak so much. He makes the case that hard work and determination still matter today. He showed that we live in a world of possibilities and opportunities. It was inspiring to read the stories of real people and the lessons that they learned as they pursued the American dream. It’s a great read!

Thomas J. Houston Jr.

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