Applebee's America

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Advance Praise for Applebee's America

Named to Harvard Business Review's 2006 Reading List


“Welcome to "Applebee's America ": a place where we all belong to a "tribe" and have, apparently, become pretty easy to pin down. For those of us still shocked by recent Republican victories, appalled when another Applebee's pops up on the corner or flummoxed by the power and scope of America's mega-churches, this book astutely and comprehensively reveals the how's and why's. As the book's first half demonstrates, leaders such as Lloyd Hill, former CEO of Applebee's, and Rick Warren, mega-church founder and best-selling author (ever heard of "The Purpose-Driven Life"?), have made their careers by detecting potential allies within narrow sociological behavioral sets and figuring out the best ways to connect with them. ”

— Austin Considine, San Francisco Chronicle , September 18, 2006 (Full Review)


“…Applebee's America offers a readable and useful way of thinking about what our politicians, corporations and religions are trying to do to us -- and how they are doing it.”

— Amy Goldstein , Washington Post , September 12, 2006 (Full Review)


“Fast forward to September 2006 and the anticipated release of their book, Applebee's America , a highly intelligent and inspiring work that explores how the American society is changing, and how political, business and religious leaders who seek to communicate and connect with Americans in this new era of terror, technology and social change, must adapt to those changes.

“Applebee's America offers up many hands-on examples of how these leaders can earn the loyalty and support of people by understanding and sharing their values and goals.

“…Whether you're already part of the Meetup phenomenon or you just have an interest in how successful political, business, and religious leaders are connecting with the New American Community, Applebee's America is a must-read.”

— MeetUp Watch, September 2006 (Full Review)


“'Timely' might be the most overused adjective in book endorsements, but it is hard to recall anything else written in recent times more deserving of the description than Applebee's America. Two eminent political strategists and one of the best political reporters in the country have combined their considerable expertise and intelligence to explain how Americans are responding to broad and unsettling changes in our society with a renewed appreciation for the virtues of home and community, and how foresighted religious, business and political leaders have identified with the public's desire for meaning beyond materialism.In a lucid and engaging narrative, the authors offer an insightful account of modern America that should interest Americans of all political, religious and social affiliations, and prove invaluable to those who presume to lead them.”

—Senator John McCain


“I believe that success is not an entitlement, and that we need to earn our customers' trust every day. At Starbucks, we earn that trust in part by creating a Third Place environment between home and work—in essence, a new type of community. Applebee's America captures the ever-evolving sense of community in America, and offers incredibly valuable insights into the way leaders can connect with the American public.”

—Howard Schultz, Chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company


“For anyone interested in how Americans make connections and build community in the 21 st century, this book is a must read.Whether your interest is in the political world or the business world, Applebee's America explains how community and shared values can determine how we vote, where we worship, and even where we dine. Whether you manage a restaurant or a political organization, there are certain consistencies that matter to people: community, communication, and authenticity.This book examines current trends and provides fresh thinking and new ideas and strategies for anyone interested in influencing large groups of people.”

—Senator Hillary Clinton


“Applebee's America
is a goldmine of insight into the forces shaping and energizing today's American culture.”

—Dr. Robert Lewis, Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock, Board of Directors, Leadership Network


"Dowd, Sosnik and Fournier deliver an insightful look at the essential humanity shaping Americans today in our increasingly complicated and fragmented world ... especially the growing desire to lead more genuine, purposeful, values-based lives. The implications this author-trio underscores, and the ideas they propose in response, offer valuable lessons for leaders everywhere in all walks of life. The reality is, in a dynamic era when so many people are determined to contribute and be part of something larger and more meaningful than their individual self, Applebee's America deserves close attention by leaders and followers alike.”

— Steve Reinemund, Chairman, PepsiCo


“The megachurches that have grown 57% in the last five years were the last major organization discovered by management expert, Peter Drucker.The three super-savvy political analysts who have written Applebee's America provide what may be the most compelling and accurate description of this powerful new source of community, purpose, and authenticity—what Drucker felt was the most important social event of the late twentieth century and one still little understood.A must read from cover to cover.”

—Bob Buford, Founding Chairman, Leadership Network, Author, Halftime and Finishing Well


“An insiders' view on the ultimate question in marketing today: how to create ‘gut-level connections' with those influential consumers who will carry your message to others. That this book is from experts who have done just that on the most high-profile stage around—two U.S. presidential campaigns—makes its insights all the more important and relevant.”

—Ed Keller and Jon Berry, authors of The Influentials


“A lively introduction to the new world of marketing ‘connections' and ‘Gut Values' to an America in search of community and meaning, this book should win a wide audience.”

—Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone


“Applebee's America is aspecial bookco-authored by threefascinating individuals who havecombined their talent, insight and experience tohelp us understand boththe science andart of "connecting." Itis a wonderful, relevantresourceforthosewho aspire to be successfulleaders.This book isa riveting, behind the sceneslook at how real-worldleaders haveeffectively reachedand persuaded the ever-changing consumer to successfully achieve their goals.”

— David Brandon, Chairman & CEO, Domino's Pizza


“ Applebee's America is likely to become the playbook for every candidate for public office, every CEO, every marketer, and every person who wants to have their finger on the pulse of community and nation. It also can help us to connect to one another — citizen to citizen, community to community — at a time when our country needs those connections most. After a 30 year decline in our social connectedness and civic health, we are seeing some important signs of civic recovery. Applebee's America may be the ready-made-meal to help restore our civic vibrancy.”

— John Bridgeland , Former Assistant to the President of the United States & Director, White House Domestic Policy Council & USA Freedom Corps


Anyone wondering what that "values" buzz after the 2004 election was about, and what it means for business, religion and politics, will find solid answers in this analysis by a former Clinton aide, one of the masterminds behind the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign and a senior Associated Press political correspondent. In a unified, third-person voice, the three declare their intention to "help twenty-first-century American leaders think anew about the people they serve—a people that, despite an increasingly multiracial society, "seem to be seeking more homogeneity in their lifestyle choices." Since the 1990s, they argue, the key to winning the hearts, dollars and votes of the American public and its leaders is appealing to "the three C's, connections, community, and civic engagement." Drawing on interviews with the middle class "exurb" residents who eat at Applebee's restaurants, as well as their own inside knowledge, the authors declare that the pattern holds across the greater part of the American spectrum. Though their narrow interview sample is a weakness, they draw conclusions about the political arena, where lifelong Democrats voted for Bush in 2004 on "gut instinct"; the business world, where customers at the more than 1,700 Applebee's restaurants deem it "a second home"; and in megachurches, which fulfill Americans "need for belonging and purpose in a new century." Illus. (Sept.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly