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Global Mapping International

The ABCs of American Culture

Understanding the American People through Their Common Sayings

In 50 easy-to-read pages, this book weaves together 234 common American sayings to reveal the pattern of current American culture. American values are briefly described, centering on success, self-esteem and fun followed closely by love, money, and "playing to win." Sprinkled through the book are 59 "Ask an American" questions, encouraging the reader to test ideas with American friends. An invaluable resource for:

Published by GMI with a suggested retail price of $5.95 (ABC), this book is sold exclusively by WorldChristian News & Books. WCN&B offers all their books at discounted prices, and offers special discounts for bulk order purchases. In the USA, call toll-free: 1-888-WCN-NEWS; call 1-719-380-0507; or e-mail

“Time is money.” Three simple words. One profound observation about American culture. time is money graphic

This and 233 other common American sayings are woven together in a 50-page booklet, The ABCs of American Culture, published by Global Mapping International. The booklet is GMI’s first step into a multi-year project called Listen First, Speak Later, to promote cultural research as a pre-evangelistic approach to the world’s least reached peoples.

Though America is not a “least reached” people group, the booklet on American culture serves as a prototype, showing how any culture can be described through a study of its proverbs. The process of writing a booklet like this about an unreached culture gives the pioneer evangelist a focused activity which involves lots of conversation with local people about their beliefs and values, yet does not immediately threaten them. The evangelist listens, learns and writes, earning the trust of the people to whom he or she wishes to speak. The resulting booklet makes an excellent resource for other evangelists, both as a piece of cultural education and as a tool for starting conversations with local people.

Booklets will vary in length, depending on the writer’s skill, connections and available time. Some may be 20 pages rather than 60 (like the model booklet on America). Some may even be leaflets rather than booklets, but even here the booklet on American culture gives a guideline. It starts with a four-page overview of “The Ten Commandments of American Culture,” ten of our most common and revealing proverbs. In a new culture, a four-page summary like this could be a sensible target for a first-time researcher. Of course it can be expanded gradually as additional insight is gained.

Though designed as an aid for foreigners including those learning English as a second language, The ABCs of American Culture may also help Americans in a couple of ways. Those working cross-culturally need better awareness of their own cultural baggage which may interfere a great deal with their ability to represent God. Those who stay at home need to reflect on their own culture and its relation to the gospel. As The Message paraphrases Romans 12:2, “Don’t become so accustomed to your own culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”

The Ten Commandments of American Culture

1. You can’t argue with success (Be a success).
2. Live and let live.
3. Time flies when you’re having fun (Have lots of fun).
4. Shop till you drop.
5. Just do it.
6. No pain, no gain (Get tough).
7. Enough is enough (Stand up for your rights).
8. Time is money (Don’t waste time).
9. Rules are made to be broken (Think for yourself).
10. God helps those who help themselves (Work hard).


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