Letter from America

The time is ripe for this practical guide to the assumptions and norms that inform American business behaviour and corporate culture.

Working with Americans is the work of Allyson Stewart-Allen, a Californian who has lived and worked in London for over three decades, advising on transatlantic business, and Lanie Denslow, who lives in California, working with organizations around the world. This second edition aims to go “some way toward demystifying the American approach to business”. They are lessons worth learning: after all, America’s economic weight and cultural heft continue to give it unique leverage in business.

The book is structured in four parts. The origins of the American business mindset, rooted in the national history, are crisply summarized. An “intensely, stunningly independent” mindset helps explain the constant drive of US businesses for personalized retail offers; deep-rooted optimism is summed up in the saying “The best is yet to come”, a mantra for us all in the face of today’s crises. There is an exploration of shared assumptions and values. A deeper dive into the business world provides a useful exploration of corporate culture and common ideas about leadership, litigation, planning, failure, innovation and entrepreneurship. The final section, meanwhile, offers practical insights on business etiquette.

For anyone headed to the States for work or embarking on a new project with US partners, this is an enjoyable and useful guide.