From the name of the book, it is clear that the cardinal theme of the book is the American dream. This is just but an insight into the many promises that the United States makes to its citizens. It is important, with the changing of times, to be able to comprehend how various issues such as family, history, religion, politics, and work among others are integrated into the American dream (DeParle, 2005).
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Jason DeParle, in his book, seeks to address how the American dream is a agglomeration of real-life models of real lives that are made up of several emerges that are in most cases only approached in a philosophical point of view. It is based on Bill Clinton’s vow to end ‘welfare as the Americans knew it’ in 1992.
This was a welfare that was very much detested by the general public due to its nature of undercutting most significant American values such as personal responsibility and self governance despite the many efforts they managed to put in (Kloppenberg, 1998).
Jason, then, a reporter with the New York Times, tracking urban poverty, had all reasons to typify the agnosticism surrounding this kind of welfare reform.
He however, goes way beyond partisanship by delving into what is capable of dissipating ignorance and confounding not only liberalists but also critics of welfare as well. The book goes a step further to dig into the equivocal interaction between life in the hood and public policy.
It is clear that just like any other politician, President Bill Clinton was aware of the fact that every individual had this general hatred for welfare. It also occurred to him that most poor people were bouncier as compared to the thinking of most of the liberals. His push for reforming welfare was inspired by one thing: his wish to give the poor “the same piss and vinegar” possessed by the immigrants (DeParle, 2005).
DeParle’s literary work is centered between Milwaukee and Washington DC. It is about three women who live totally different lives, which however, have a similar trend. Angie abandons welfare and devotes herself to her work. Jewell on the other hand decided to put a stake on a man that was imprisoned while Opal conceals a very sad secret that have detrimental effects to herself and her children.
The book goes further to trace the family lineage six generations back to the times of slavery and threads paupers, politicians, reformers and rogues into a hypnotizing story. Putting humanity into mind, DeParle shows that though American citizens live in a country where everyone is given an equal chance to be successful in life, some may not be in a position to do so from generation to another (Krueger, 1994).
Peter Drucker is yet another renowned author whose book The Essential Drucker captures a contracted descriptor of his works of management over a span of sixty years. During the 1850s, when the concept and process of management was least thought of, or known, there were no enormous organizations and companies that were in need of management and hence there arose no need of managers.
As a result, ‘charge hands’ were given the duty to be in charge of other employees in terms of disciplinary responsibilities though they themselves were also their fellow workers (Cullen, 2004).
However, after the Second World War, management managed to sprout and has continued growing rapidly to the extent it is now evidenced in all spheres of life. The thoughts and ideas postulated by Drucker were both instrumental in reviewing what has transpired over time and assisting in molding the same. It is worth noting that his ideas have gained general acceptance and recognition.
Drucker also avoids partisanship in his book by presenting varied ideas, some of which are mundane while others tend to be equally fundamental. The book is made up of three different but related sections that cover the functions of organizational management. Such include those of individuals in society of organizations as well as the organizations themselves (Ownby, 1999).
He explores the meaning of management, its proportions and the rationale behind its existence of business organizations and the courses of development of the same. He also reviews the impacts of the growth of non-profit making organizations and the lessons that can be drawn therein.
The essential principles he uses to define management emphasize the fact that it is all about human beings. It empowers individuals to perform jointly and amplifies their strength while at the same time diminishing their weaknesses. This effectiveness requires every individual’s indomitable will to achieve the corporate goals that may have to be set.
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Culture also plays a major role in management by the mere fact that the people involved all share a common venture. In an example, studying Japan and India’s economy reveals that Japan has a more robust economy (Drucker, 2001). This is attributed to the fact that Japan was in a position to employ management concepts from outside and integrated them into their culture, where they were allowed to grow.
Both books seem to give an overview of the need to put in a little, if not much more in doing common things uncommonly well if any positive improvement is expected in any given public setting.
Public Affairs Implications
According to me, the book American Dream is highly relevant, honest and authentic to the current happenings in the society. In it there is vivid revelation of the way Angela Jobe’s experiences were a proper representation of the shifts that could in one way or another perplex early doubters including DeParle himself (Cullen, 2004).
A bigger portion of the current debates on the reauthorization of welfare has always streamed from the question of whether to emphasize on the requirements of federal requirements or family matters.
DeParle advocated for Shaw to use his political capital to push for fatherhood as opposed to the federal work requirements, which he thinks can be very easily counterfeited. He gives an account of a certain woman in Wisconsin, who had been ciphered in the system as being in a position to satisfactorily participate in welfare works. This is contrary to the fact that she was pregnant and in a crack house.
It is very clear from the book that one major way of helping people with low incomes could be using the earned income tax credit to support them instead of letting them rely on welfare which had over the years proved ineffective (Kloppenberg, 1998).
Education among the citizens is yet another sure way of solving such a problem. In this case, individuals will be able to understand that it is only education that may be able to ease anyone of the pressure that may haunt one throughout his or her entire lifetime.
In addition, according to Stenholm, proper fine tuning should be administered in the United States immigration policy. Kaus on the other hand said Americans ought to have been given the first crack at jobs. He also explained that legalizing drugs would kill the widely believed notion that black men are solely drug dealers (Ownby, 1999).
Viewing the public affairs implications with the above mentioned postulations would definitely make one understand that it may not be as simplistic as it appears. Rather, much has to be included and collective responsibility is to be implemented from all the stake holders right from the civilian level.
Cullen, J. (2004). The American dream: a short history of an idea that shaped a nation. New York: Oxford University Press.
DeParle, J. (2005). American Dream. New York: Penguin Group.
Drucker, P.F. (2001). The Essential Drucker. New York: HarperBusiness.
Kloppenberg, J.T. (1998). The Virtues of Liberalism. New York: Oxford UP.
Krueger, D. (1994). Strategic Management and Management by Objectives. New York: Penguin Group.
Ownby, T. (1999). American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, and Culture 1830-1998. New York: University of North Carolina Press.