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ISBN:158648270X
Author: Kevin O'Keefe
ISBN13: 978-1586482701
Title: The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen
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ePUB size: 1733 kb
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Language: English
Category: Writing Research and Publishing Guides
Publisher: PublicAffairs; Annotated edition edition (October 25, 2005)
Pages: 272

The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen by Kevin O'Keefe



Newsweek proclaimed of the book, "The journey toward run-of-the-mill has never been so remarkable. While the "nuclear family" consisting of a married couple with their own children is often seen as the average American family, such households constitute less than a quarter of all households. Married couples without children are currently the plurality constituting 2. % of households, compared to 2. % for nuclear families.

In The Average American author Kevin O'Keefe chronicles his attempt to discover the archetypical resident of the United States, that one man or woman whose quantifiable attributes, preferences, and living conditions are as close to "normal" as possible (normal as determined by the 2000 census and a number of other polls and reports).

The Average American book. Also, he doesn't give enough information about himself to make you even care about him. So when he finally does determine that Bob Whatever is the most average guy ever, then the revelation is kind of "great, now the book must be over soon. Sep 26, 2007 Julie rated it it was ok.

But the book does not advance the reader's understanding of what an Average American would be, if there were such a person. I am sure that many people will find the book entertaining from a human interest point of view because the author does describe his encounters with many people along the way. But it is not scientific and could mislead people about his result.

At the end of the road he discovers that the Average American is, up close, rather extraordinary. Library descriptions.

News, author interviews, critics' picks and more. The Average American.

Its regional success. includes its ranking sixth on The Patriot Ledger's South Shore. Bestsellers list for the Boston-to-Cape Cod metropolitan area. The nonfiction book has been required reading for students. at many high schools and colleges and-from . businesses to HSBC offices in India to the . Embassy in Vienna, Austria-a diversity of employees worldwide. Published by PublicAffairs and Chilva and optioned by Fo. .

Kevin O’Keefe notes that the person, who inspired him to write a book, was not an average person. His name was Lambert Adolph Jacques Quetelet, the man who created the first international statistics conference (O’Keefe 2005). Quetelet discovered that our actions usually refer to a pattern (the bell curve) with the most average result charted in the peak position (O’Keefe 2005). References: O’Keefe, Kevin.

I’m a little bit of a local celebrity, says Burns, who feels honored to be singled out for being perfectly ordinary. I’m just the everyday person who does his or her job to the best of his ability. On a typical workday, Burns might deliver a cartload of textbooks to a classroom, fix a leaky flush valve in the boys’ bathroom or inspect the fire extinguishers on the school buses.

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John Q Public. Plain Jane. The Average Joe. We think we know the type, but have we ever actually met the person? To be the perfectly average American is harder than it might seem: You must live within three miles of a McDonald's, and two miles of a public park; you must be better off financially than your parents, but earn no more than 75,000 a year; you must believe in God and the literal truth of the Bible, yet hold some views that traditional churches have deemed sacrilegious.

Equipped with his trusty Mr. Q, a notebook that he has compiled with over 1,000 facts about the Average American, Kevin O'Keefe has completed a tour of America in search of the sublimely ordinary, the man or woman who represents most definitively all that is average in our country.

In his travels from New York to Nevada, Pennsylvania to Hawaii, Kansas to Connecticut and beyond, O'Keefe talks business and pleasure with the proprietors of Average Joe and Jane Athletics, visits the polls on election day with the first candidate for the Average American party, bypasses both Peoria and Normal, Illinois (for, as he explains, they are not that normal), watches the magician Myklar the Ordinary wow the kids at a church in rural Maryland, and delivers a fascinating, often surprising, look into the history and culture of the common man and woman. At the end of the road he discovers that the Average American is, up close, rather extraordinary.

Reviews: 7
Sat
I heard about this book relatively late in it's life on Michael Feldman's "Whad'Ya know?" in late January 2008. Like most of the reviews I have read, the emphasis on the show was about the statistics. The statistics are both fun and important.

But this book is more about Kevin O'Keefe and discovery. The book has buried tidbits about what life is all about. Kevin really took a journey of self awareness and I found many tidbits about life and what is really important in life buried in the pages of this book.

One could read a book about Buddhism and have these points brought across to them. Or they can read this readable book with fun facts that we all know are part of our lives, and learn about ourselves and life along the way.

The purpose of this discovery is uncovered by one of the individuals in the book. Most readers will figure this out before this section anyway. And where the book ends makes perfectly logical sense based on who wrote the book. One might call it poetic justice and be careful what you put on a T-shirt.

Besides which, I found my self penciling in numbers that depicted my life in the margins near the numbers and values Kevin used to define the average American. I did not fit his definition to well, living most of my adult life 300+ miles from home and eating lots of chunky peanut butter. Thus, I weigh about 10 pounds over the average limit.

I would suggest you buy the book and sharpen your pencil and have a go at it and discover yourself.
Dobpota
This is an interesting journey for a man who sets out to find the average American. There are many interesting anecdotes about what being average actually is or is not. The problem is that many people are knocked out of the running by circumstances outside themselves. I lost my averageness right off the top by living in a state with two Republican Senators. No way could I re enter the club with the fact my income is almost exactly median.

On the other hand I would have been knocked out by my own hand eventually. For instance, I like crunchy peanut butter better than smooth.

This is a frivolous book, but entertaining.
Went Tyu
What should be a fascinating compendium of facts and anecdotes about America and its people is actually a meandering, arbitrary journey. While watertight methodology isn't expected from a book like this, methodology should at least be conscientious and consistent. The writing is also sub-par. It's not bad, but nor does it seem like it benefited from sound editing and fresh ideas. This book doesn't deliver.

Better writing from a better researcher would have increased this book's value significantly.
Netlandinhabitant
The book summarizes the very subjective search for a person who the author considers to be the most representative average American. He develops criteria for the search that change throughout the search making the results less about finding the average American and more about the author learning about people. He chooses some criteria for his search that eliminate vast areas of the country automatically and therefore biases the result completely. For example, why does the average American have to live in a city that has at least 0.1 inch of snowfall each year? That eliminates large parts of the South. Or have to have a measurable amount of dew on their lawn every morning? That eliminates much of the Western US.

It is interesting that he requires the average American must live in the average suburb in the country, which he again describes by his own subjective criteria. Not surprisingly, he discovers that that average community happens to be the town next to the one where he grew up in Connecticut. His various biases come home to roost there.

The search he carries out is interesting from the point of view of a subjective search for a definition of what is average. But the book does not advance the reader's understanding of what an Average American would be, if there were such a person.

I am sure that many people will find the book entertaining from a human interest point of view because the author does describe his encounters with many people along the way. But it is not scientific and could mislead people about his result.

I initially gave the book a two star rating because it does not fulfill what the author claims it represents. It is however readable and entertaining, so for many people it is still worth a read.