What is the American Dream?

Forbes is running a feature online where they ask prominent American leaders what the American Dream means to them. Most say it has to do with freedom. Or hard work.

When driving in Texas last week I listened to a Stanford panel with Jacob Needleman on "The American Soul". Needleman’s big point — similar to what Andrew Sullivan says in his wonderful "This I Believe" piece on NPR — is that America is about the singular promise of being more fully human. What does it mean to be "more fully human"?

For me, the American Dream means the freedom to be who I really am and the freedom to reinvent who I really am at any point. As Sullivan puts it, it’s about the permanent fresh start.

What does it mean to you? If you don’t live in America, what’s your perception of this common phrase?

(hat tip: Jing Chen)

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