We all know that that, on the whole, our health care and education systems are straggling like a two-legged puppy on a greyhound track. Our health care efficiency ranks in the bottom 10th of nations, and kids in half the countries of the world lead ours in math, reading, and science. Since when are we OK hanging out in the middle of the pack? Especially when we all know we’re under attack for our “exceptionalism.” Chances are diminished for us locally, yes, but we haven’t seen the last of terror arising on alien shores, nor subversive agitation born and raised in our own heartland. Maybe worst of all, we can’t go to the mall, take our kids to the park, or even turn on the TV without daily witnessing the exponential erosion of our traditional values. It doesn’t help the situation – our standing, our direction – when at the top we find a man like Donald J. Trump.

So our physical infrastructure and social, cultural, and political stability are all badly in need of buttressing—or a gut renovation. The vast majority of us agree the country’s headed in the wrong direction. We’re right, and admitting the problem is the first step in overcoming it. But it’s just the first step. We have to re-engineer the whole country from the ground up—its social fabric, its economy, its politics, and its physical plant. That’s what this book is about.

The good news is there is good news, points of light shining through the darkness. You are the lightkeeper. The architect of our future. You’re the engineer, the builder, and the end-user. You’re the foreman. The steward. The cure.

Look, I know that all sounds grandiose. You might be feeling bleak and frustrated and ready to turn in your key, curl up in a corner. But ask yourself—what attracted you to this book? Maybe you’re not quite ready to count out the extraordinary progress we’ve made and will continue to make if we stay positive and reorient our ways where it’s obvious we’ve gone astray. The truth is, you will not be able to count on a single other human to even start this project, no less finish it. The only person you absolutely know can get a grip on this off-course country, help steer it true, is you.

I want to help, and I’ve got some hard-won experience that ought to come in handy. I ask you to lend me your trust for a little while. I promise I won’t waste your time.

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