After interviewing over one hundred recent and long-time immigrants, Satish Mehta, who migrated to the U.S. in 1973, writes a light-hearted, slightly satirical playbook, taking you on a journey to assimilate in the American society and become a real American. No matter your wealth, your stage of life, or when you migrated to the U.S., this book will provide the insights to help you blend in faster than you ever thought it was possible. In these pages, through simple English and light-hearted stories, you will discover,
How America has changed and yet not changed over the last 50 years
The subtle and not so subtle distinctions in different regions of America
How to meet and greet people
Understanding the conversation styles and knowing the preferred topics
American passions and the idiosyncrasies
American personas and the American Dream
Adopt the mindset and values of Americans and experience the fulfillment you deserve.
“Satish Mehta’s ‘How to be an American: An off-the-record guide for how to be an immigrant in America,’ is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek primer for immigrant assimilation; it certainly achieves this goal as well as being a fun-house mirror for US citizens. In reading this, I had more than a few chuckles at myself and fellows. I am sure that many of us have not thought about how we look in the eyes of other cultures; the comparisons herein may be an eye-opener for those less aware of the differences between other cultures, and in some cases the, similarities. The rule here is: Never take yourself too seriously. Altogether a delightful read.”
~Joseph L. Lennox-Smith, M.Ed., Ph.D.
“Read your new book in one sitting. Irreverently funny, but like all good satire: much truth to be found. … A terrific book: I enjoyed your work and learned.”
Rufus J. Williams 111
Cardinal Point Advisors LLC Principal
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Satish Mehta is a corporate executive turned entrepreneur, and now an author. Mehta, who has coached senior executives in brand name companies, inspired and mentored tens of entrepreneurs, is a low profile, humble, and yet one of the most effective business and life strategist. In this book, he leverages his 46 years of life experience in the U.S. and reveals how to integrate—someone who can, not only maintain his/her heritage identity but who can create an advantage from the fear that immobilizes so many.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
In 1973, as a young adult, I landed at the John F. Kennedy Airport on my way to Boston. I heard a loud announcement that I could not understand at all. I asked the woman behind the TWA counter what was the broadcast. She looked at me with a smile and said, “Oh, some bullshit.” Even then, I knew what “bullshit” meant. That was a confidence booster. I suddenly felt that I had a good command of American English.
Test of English as a Foreign Language® (TOEFL) is a standardized exam to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. Scoring 95 percentile or above on TOEFL is good, but not enough. Why? Like most languages, everyday spoken American English has its own peculiarities.
First, let us look at the homographs, words of similar spelling but with more than one meaning.
Driving on State Highway 24 in Quincy, Illinois, I noticed a giant billboard that read:
“We use this farm to produce, produce.” Not familiar with the local commerce, I could not think of what else they could do with that farm. Even New Jersey has some homographs in its public notices. One landfill in southern NJ put up a large sign on State Highway 70. It read, “This dump is full. We refuse more refuse.”
Annual canoeing and rowing competition among the Ivy League schools is a well-attended event in Princeton, NJ. A few years ago, the police had cordoned off an area, which is usually open to the public. When asked why, the officer in charge said, “Oh, it is for public safety. There is a row among the oarsmen about how to row.”
English is a crazy language, but most languages are. Get a head start. Know that there is no ham in hamburger. The English did not invent English muffins just as the French did not invent French fries.
Not taking English for granted is helpful. Explore its paradoxes. You can make amends, but not one amend, recite at a play and play at a recital! Have noses that run and feet that smell! A slim chance and a fat chance are the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposite!
Marvel at the unique delight of the English language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, you can fill in a form by filling it out and, an alarm goes off by going on. When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
English is originally a language of the Brits. It displays the ingenuity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. I can go on forever, but perhaps this will give you an idea of why you must watch American TV to strengthen your spoken American English language.
Rex Harrison, in one of the greatest musicals of all time, “My Fair Lady,” says that an Englishman’s way of speaking classifies him. Well, an American’s style of speaking regionalizes him. The Cajun style English in certain parts of Louisiana brings others to tears. No wonder Rex Harrison felt that the Americans have not spoken English in years!
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