Who Americans are

A 2022 review of an Admiral Hyman Rickover biography:

“Why is the US populated by so many unreasonable, opposite, entrepreneurial thinkers? We’re not a race as much as we are or we’re descended from a collection of people from around the world who somewhat uniquely decided to risk everything (including their lives) to cross oceans and borders in pursuit not of security, but freedom.

Americans aren’t (name your country) as much as they’re outliers from those countries who had the drive and courage to make the ultimate entrepreneurial leap: starting over in an all-new place. Rickover was one of them.

He made sure that seagoing accommodations were far better for submariners who operated his nuclear subs relative to the horrendous conditions that prevailed in the diesel submarines of the past. He said ‘Don’t tell me what’s going great. I only want to know what’s going wrong.’

His family escaping horrid poverty didn’t look too appealing upon arrival at Ellis Island, but that’s the point. The U.S. won the so-called War on Poverty in the late 18th century by virtue of principles of freedom that it was founded upon. Poverty isn’t cured by handouts as much as freedom is always the answer.”


I didn’t have positive expectations of an interview forty years ago with Admiral Rickover for a position on his staff. I was selected for being top of my Supply Corps class, but wasn’t the Type A personality he wanted for his purposes.

It was still instructive to talk with a person who thoroughly understood what he wanted and how to get there.



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