THE AVERAGE AMERICAN
THE EXTRAORDINARY SEARCH FOR THE NATION'S MOST ORDINARY CITIZEN
BY KEVIN O'KEEFE
The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen became a national bestseller soon after its debut. 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 many students and—from businesses in the United States to HSBC offices in India to the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria—a diversity of employees worldwide.
Published by PublicAffairs and Chilva and optioned by Fox TV Studios, The Average American has been credited as the inspiration for many other searches for statistically average people, places and things.
Kevin O'Keefe is an award-winning business management, technology, marketing and media production professional. He has led New York Sports Tours and other companies and his clients have included many prominent national and international brands.
Also an independent writer, O'Keefe has been published in The New York Times, leading sports publications and other media outlets.
A former all-America athlete, O'Keefe has long served as a volunteer youth sports coach in New York City. He resides with his wife and their three children in East Midtown Manhattan, where he founded St. Vartan Park Conservancy and is a member of Manhattan's Community Board Six.
O'Keefe is on Instagram and Twitter.
The Average American is available for download from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Google and other booksellers.
"The journey toward run-of-the-mill has never been so remarkable"
"overturn[s] commonly held notions of what the average American does and thinks . . . intriguing, combining as it does the elements of a detective story and the trivia interest of Ripley's Believe It or Not"
The New York Times
"What a thoroughly delightful book. . . At the end of the book, O'Keefe reveals the identity of the Average American, but it is the search itself—and the author's exploration of the whole concept of being average—that makes this curious book so illuminating and enjoyable"
"A demographic portrait that is distinct"
The New Yorker
"When you peel back the numbers and look at the lives underneath, it turns out there's much to love . . . and much to learn, as Kevin O'Keefe discovered . . . What O'Keefe found in his travels was . . . the wisdom of crowds, and pretty soon the average might just become your ideal"
"an interesting journey [of] experiences and discoveries"
Barack Obama in a letter to the author
"has turned ordinary into an art"
Hannah Storm on CBS' The Early Show
"O'Keefe . . . has figured out what it means to be average in this country . . . I love his book"
Michael Smerconish on The Michael Smerconish Show
"thought-provoking read . . . about the issues of our time"
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisiana)
"What does O'Keefe's search prove? That we're more unique than we think"
John Tesh on Intelligence for Your Life
"It's a great book. It's a fascinating read"
Jerry Doyle on The Jerry Doyle Show
"a lot of thought about whether average is a good thing, something to look down on, or something to aspire to"
Neal Conan on NPR's Talk of the Nation
"extremely interesting and pertinent as I travel the country"
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (Virginia)
"A wonderful story"
Lynn Cullen on The Lynn Cullen Show (Pennsylvania)
"a real fun and funny book . . . an enlightening book about who we really turn out to be"
Colin McEnroe on Afternoons with Bruce and Colin (Connecticut)
"a fun and informative way to find out just how
average you are—or aren't"
American Profile—Our Picks selection
"great dinner conversation . . .
get this book and see how average you are"
Martha Stewart on Martht
"a fun and fascinating story of all of us"
Catholic Digest—Top Pick of the Month
"a terrific book. You've got to pick it up and read it . . . a great story"
Steve Doocy on FOX & Friends
"a twist of the sharpest citrus peel"
The Independent (Great Britain)
The Hollywood Reporter
"a fascinating assortment of characters who are both surprising and familiar . . . a surprisingly good read"
"a lot of fun . . . It's genius, really, because we get to hear the stories of interesting people in the process"
Two Books A Week
"one of a rare breed: the truly informative, flowing nonfiction narrative. It's difficult to achieve such a thing in a non-biographical book, and one so laden with facts. Somehow, though, O'Keefe manages to retain the reader's attention while using the statistics to draw us even further into the story . . . I was impressed . . . the numbers in the context of a compelling array of experiences, which fueled further numerical analysis, was refreshing . . . enough to make me say 'Wow!'"
Toni Borland, Read It Now
"delightfully conceived and well-written . . . meticulously and painstakingly researched. There is a lot of suspense as well as a wealth of information"
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
"a great American quest . . . transforms an inventory of statistical figures into real, human figures whose stories sound familiar, but surprise nonetheless"
"Lessons about life that hit close to home"
Richard Schlesinger on CBS Evening News
"a lively, fact-filled trip"
New York Post
"an interesting discovery"
The Washington Post
"This fascinating, thought-provoking book debunks a lot of what politicians and the media would have us think about our friends and neighbors"
"We have a good many pictures—and caricatures—of the typical American. But is that actually prevalent of the average American? Kevin O'Keefe has found the answer"
"The American way of life"
Los Angeles Times
"A phenomenal book . . . I have certainly been enlightened"
Scott Chesney on Maximizing Life with Scott Chesney (VoiceAmerica)
"I love the book . . . What I found intriguing, what I enjoyed the most in the book, were the interviews . . . A great book"
Connie Asero on Viewpoints (North Carolina)
"An amazing story . . . In this period of debate over what constitutes being an American, [O'Keefe] has defined it"
Mark Mason on The Mark and Dave Show (Oregon)
"Entertaining and enlightening"
Hinton News (West Virginia)
"nice surprises . . . against what you hear on the media or see on television"
Kathryn Zox on Kathryn Zox Show (New York)
"a turn of events that could have come out of The Wizard of Oz"
Broadcaster North (Connecticut)
"a lively, fun and thought-provoking read"
Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota)
"The book is greatly fascinating"
Rick Crandall on Rick Crandall's Breakfast Club (Colorado)
"O'Keefe wrote a fascinating study . . . a colorful and statistically accurate picture of the average American . . . His findings will challenge long-held, often even dogmatic views held by most Americans about the 'average' among them. This book is good reading for anyone who wants to understand the real world"
The HS Dent Foundation—Recommended Reading List
"a keen sense of observation"
"an outstanding book . . . a keeper . . . recommended by just tons of people . . . some amazing people on the journey and I just got the biggest kick out of seeing how these people approached life"
Rod Thulin on The Rod Thulin Show (Texas)
"fun . . . the ultimate segment . . . It's a great reminder that marketing segmentation is the science of finding"
"it will make you pause and take stock of your life"
The Hippo (New Hampshire)
"an excellent book. Incredible . . . I like [O'Keefe's] whole style of checking out what's real"
Allen Handelman on The Allen Handelman Show
"The Average American is a studious, well-researched look at the many types of lives that make up the United States and all that occupies our days . . . a unique viewpoint and the end result is surprising"
Valley Scene magazine
"I love this kind of thinking. The book, you have to read it . . . to savor to the end"
Ron Ball on Coastal Daybreak (North Carolina)
"It's really such a heartbeat of America"
John Pendleton on The John Pendleton Show (Florida)
"a trivia buff's dream . . . If you're delighted by current events and enjoy knowing the minutiae of everyday life, resolve to read this book"
Pahrump Valley Times (Nevada)
"A great book"
Nate Shelman on Alabama Mornings
"my wife could not put it down . . . The book is a great read, folks"
Glenn Lance on The Morning Show on WKSR (Tennessee)
"my new favorite author . . . Kevin O'Keefe has penned the book 'The Average American' . . . a hero to millions of men by now"
John Marx, The Dispatch (Illinois)
"O'Keefe . . . has done a remarkable job at finding out who is average"
Jane Foy on WINA Morning Show (Virginia)
"Fascinating. It truly is"
Jamie Phillips on Mix Morning Show (Iowa)
"a wonderful new book . . . There's great humor"
Gary O'Brien on Gary O'Brien and Friends (Illinois)
"Politicians want to make sure their messages resonate with Joe Sixpack. But I wonder, is there really such a thing as an average American man? O’Keefe ran the numbers . . . I realized, average ain’t bad"
Bill Nash, Ventura County Star
"identifies—and celebrates—what it is to be an average American"
Salina Journal (Kansas)
"In a nutshell, this is what America is . . . Awesome"
Matt McAllister on The Morning Show on KTYD (California)
"an amazing story. The details of it are even more amazing"
Tim Axelrod on The Tim Axelrod Show (Utah)
"a much interesting read"
U.S. Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (New York)
"It will teach you a lot about people"
Bob Rivers on The Bob Rivers Show (Washington)
"highly informative and interesting"
U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall (West Virginia)
"A fascinating book . . . It grabs you . . . It's got everything you could possibly want "
Reid Howell on KYMO Morning Show (Missouri)
"the definitive average American"
New York Daily News
"a fun account of a man's search for the 'average American'"
Michael Blasland and David Spiegelhalter in The Norm Chronicles (Machete)
"The problem of the unrepresentative center is captured perfectly in Kevin O'Keefe's book . . . In painstaking detail, O'Keefe described his arduous cross-country search . . . is valuable in helping understand the qualities that typical Americans hold . . . We think of O'Keefe's pursuit every time we set a mean or a median, particularly in a cross-cultural or international study, and we wonder just how does the average person in that study differ from everyone else from whom data was collected"
Susan A. Nolan and Andrew F. Simon in Cross-Cultural Psychology (John Wiley & Sons)
Among other books that address The Average American:
The Brand Bubble (Wiley) by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar; Cultural Intelligence (Baker Academic) by David A. Livermore; Culture Across the Curriculum (Cambridge University Press) by Kenneth D. Keith; The Master Algorithm (Basic Books) by Pedro Domingos; Plastic (HarperCollins) by Cristian Campos
"Delightful goodness . . . O'Keefe rattles off statistics and draws you in"
Pastor Doug Serven, City Presbyterian Church—Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
"O'Keefe experiences a deep and profound appreciation . . .
for ordinary life in all its glory"
Senior pastor Rick Vincent, Immanuel Church—West Bend, Wisconsin
Among others who cited The Average American in sermons:
Minister Timothy Merrill, Henderson Community Church—Henderson, Colorado; Founding Pastor Steve Jackson, NewSong Community Church—Cumming, Georgia; Rector Bill Stoop, St. George's Epsicopal Church—Roseburg, Oregon; Pastor Norman Russell, North Bend Church of Christ—North Bend, Oregon; Senior Pastor J. Lawrence Cuthill, Winter Park Presbyterian Church—Winter Park, Florida; Lead Pastor Brad Mather, Bethany United Methodist Church—Madison, Wisconsin; Pastor Charles Exley, St. Luke Lutheran Church—Albuquerque, New Mexico; Pastor Dewey Johnson, Grace Presbyterian Church—Crystal City, Missouri; Pastor Henry Brinton, Fairfax Presbyterian Church—Fairfax, Virginia; Reverand Brad Beeman, Santa Monica First United Church—Santa Monica, California; Pastor Scott Carmer, Calvery United Methodist Church—Fort Wayne, Indiana; Senior Minister Dale Rosenberger, Dennis Union Church—Dennis, Massachusetts
Alabama Book Festival (Montgomery)
Auburn University (Auburn)
Livermore Reads Together (Livermore)
Arcadia Coffee Company (Old Greenwich)
Chaplin Elementary School (Chaplin)
E.O. Smith High School (Storrs)
New Canaan Library (New Canaan)
UConn Co-op Bookstore (Storrs)
Windham Tech (Windham)
Eagle Hill School—commencement address (Hardwick)
BookExpo America (Manhattan)
Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn)
KGB Bar (Manhattan)
Morgan Stanley (Manhattan)
The New York Times Great Read in the Park (Manhattan)
Renaissance Weekend (Charleston)
South Carolina Book Festival—keynote address (Columbia)
Virginia Festival of the Book (Charlottesville)
Town Talk (Charter Communications)
Nitebeat with Barry Nolan (CN8)
Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
CBS Evening News
FOX & Friends
Good Morning America (ABC)
Showbiz Tonight (CNN)
The Early Show (CBS)
Westerman's Nieuwe Wereld (The Netherlands)
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