I am an immigrant to America, arriving here when I was two years old with my parents. They knew no English, and had neither money nor connections, nor other family here.
My dad, who fought like hell to get here, worked in electrical engineering in the Soviet Union. But he couldn’t do that here at first because he couldn’t communicate so he did the kinds of labor jobs that don’t require English— the kinds of jobs you do to survive.
A couple of years ago (40 years later), he retired as the head of electrical engineering for Baxter Pharmaceutical’s intravenous manufacturing lab.
From nothing, to that. And I got to watch it happen my entire life.
When I started in business, it was the same: there were no connections, no money or investors, no business experience even. I was 21 years old! (Although I had an excellent U.S. education, thanks to my parents’ hard work.)
What brought me here — to running the largest solo consulting practice that I know of — were the same things that I watched my dad lean on his entire life:
Because with those things, you can literally do anything in America.
I know an international audience of over 20,000 people reads this newsletter, but I hope you’ll indulge me this opportunity to write briefly about the wondrous country that I love on this 4th of July holiday weekend.
(Also — a disclaimer — there are absolutely no politics in this message. You won’t know my politics by reading this, and you will never read a political message from me.)
There is a reason people risk their lives to come here:
It’s a beautiful country, with incredible nature, open spaces, mountains and lakes and beaches and coasts.
It’s a singular experiment in democracy, where the citizens are free to speak their minds and pursue their dreams.
That’s what we enjoy in America: with hard work and perseverance, literally any level of success can be attained.
You are only limited by your imagination.
Last week, my family was in New York City for a getaway, and my friend and long-time Wiley editor Richard Narramore took my family kayaking to the Statue of Liberty. As we sat there bobbing in the water about 100 yards from the majestic Statue, Richard read aloud the famous poem stanza on its base:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
That was us in 1978.
And now we breathe free.
God bless America.
Happy Fourth everyone!