Articles From John Manzella View Profile

Share this Article
  • The Secret to America’s “Secret Sauce”

    John Manzella, The Secret to America’s “Secret Sauce”

    America’s “secret sauce” has provided tremendous advantages that no other country can. The “secret sauce” includes the U.S. system of free market capitalism, capital markets, rule of law, separation of church and state, entrepreneurialism, balance of power, the welcoming of immigrants, and a brilliant Constitution. Combined, these factors have promoted stability and created an environment empowering people to unleash their creativity to achieve their dreams.

    The role of immigrants and the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution cannot be emphasized enough. In many cases, the immigrants were young people like my grandparents who left their homelands with little hope of ever seeing their parents again, but with tremendous hope of securing a better future. They understood the difficulties they would incur, but possessed the necessary courage and resolve to persevere. This strength and determination continues to be reflected in all that is American.

    To borrow a phrase from Lord John Acton, a member of British Parliament in the 1860s, the framers of the U.S. Constitution understood an important fact: “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The American experiment, which was founded on a philosophy and not a bloodline, clearly sets the U.S. apart. These factors, which promote opportunity regardless of individual differences, in great part are why America is the most powerful nation on Earth.

    Although not flawless, capitalism has generated the greatest economic growth the world has ever seen. At the core of its brilliance is its ability to create incentives to produce solutions to problems, and to distribute those solutions broadly. And in doing so, it has paved the way for tremendous gains in efficiency and productivity.

    No other system so rapidly raises up the living standards of the poor, so thoroughly improves the conditions of life, or generates greater social wealth and distributes it more broadly.When discussing its benefits, Michael Novak, the author of dozens of books on the philosophy and theology of culture, said “No other system so rapidly raises up the living standards of the poor, so thoroughly improves the conditions of life, or generates greater social wealth and distributes it more broadly. In the long competition of the last 100 years, neither socialist nor third-world experiments have performed as well in improving the lot of common people, paid higher wages, and more broadly multiplied liberties and opportunities.”

    Novak indicated that a free society requires economic liberty. He also stressed that checks and balances are to the political order what competition is to capitalism. Unlike many other countries, America is fortunate to have a strong system of checks and balances, as well as one that promotes competition. Nevertheless, Novak stressed the need to ensure these systems are well maintained.

    Few nations possess the American-like system of checks and balances that prevents any one group from permanently imposing its will on others. This balance is part of an important American formula that shepherds constant changes — some good, some bad — but always allowing for self correction. With all its flaws, for generations countless numbers of people worldwide have wanted to participate in the American experience.

    After dozens of speaking engagements in Mexico in the early 1990s, I found that many in the audience either had an American passport or badly wanted one.

    When I crossed through Check Point Charlie from West Berlin to East Berlin in March 1990, it was like entering a time warp. The grey unkempt landscape and dilapidated buildings in the former German Democratic Republic, known as Communist East Germany, looked as though that country hadn't been repaired since combat-ready American and Soviet tanks faced off yards apart in one of the world's most tense nuclear showdowns.

    While there I witnessed the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and observed the first free parliamentary elections held in that region since 1933. I also was told by countless East Germans of their wish to move to the United States in order to seek a better life.

    When visiting Nanjiang, China, I had the opportunity to address the Jiangsu Academy of Social Sciences, the provincial government think tank. Not surprisingly, I was asked about various problems associated with the United States’ political system.

    I could not help recalling a quote by Winston Churchill, who when asked about problems with democracy said, “It's the worse system except for all the others.” I answered the question and then explained how I believed China's leadership has made some excellent economic decisions for its country, especially with regard to how it spent its stimulus funds designed to ensure its economy would not falter after the Great Recession.

    But then I asked in a more polite way than this: what if future generations of Chinese leaders are not as intelligent?

    On a post-Great Recession trip to China, I sensed a heightened patriotism and a new confidence in the Chinese system, often referred to as “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Still, young Chinese I meet often tell me of their desire to study in or permanently move to the United States. I have found this desire is shared by students and others from all over the world.

    When I entered Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York, our football team was on a winning streak that stretched well before I arrived. Prior to each game, our coach often spoke about our consecutive winning seasons and reminded us that our undefeated record was not guaranteed simply because we donned Canisius football jerseys. This overconfidence is not limited to sports.

    Many successful companies assume that since they have beat market expectations for lengthy periods of time, it’s virtually assured that they will continue to do so. But many forget why.

    Similarly, the United States has achieved remarkable results for generations. Many assume this will continue — not understanding the factors that have made this country truly exceptional. As a result, it’s essential to understand what’s in the “secret sauce” so we don’t poison it.

Share this Article



  • Thank you to both of you for everything surrounding Mr. Will as our special guest. I suspect, soon, I will be in touch regarding our next event. 
    Oxford Financial
  • "We loved our speakers. Thanks to you and your team for your outstanding service and thank you for your patience!"

    National Association of the Blind
  • "We not only went 3 for 3 but I'd say they were all home runs! Thanks for your help on the speakers. It was a key and very positive component of our c...
  • "You made my job so much easier! You are the only bureau I will use."     
    Sigma Systems
  • "As I mentioned before, your engagement model was incredibly easy to work with, and I know we came to you on short notice!  I would highly recomm...
    Capitol One
  • I’ve used the services of a number of speakers bureaus in the past. However, my current experience working with the Executive Speakers Bureau ha...
  • Thanks to you, Jo and the rest of your team.  You are the BEST.  Knowing you are behind a speaker allows us the luxury of concentrating on o...
    Ohio Hospital Association
  • "I will be sure that all involved know what a wonderful resource you have been. The universe smiled on me when I discovered Executive Speakers and you...
    Ocala Eye
  • "OMG Richard! As always you make me look like a rock star. Every single speaker we selected hit it out of the park. Thank you again. Can't even say wh...
    Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Assn.
  • Everything went really well and we really enjoyed having Jack Uldrich as our speaker!  He was entertaining and funny and provided great examples....
    Novo Nordisk
  • “Thank you guys it was a pleasure working with you.... You made the whole process easy. Thanks again”
  • Our bank has held an annual business and economic conference for the past 9 years.  We have worked with Executive Speakers every year and I have ...
    First Midwest Bank
  • I want to thank you for all of your assistance you and Jenny were wonderful. If it had not been for you sending me suggestions I would not have found ...
    West Virginia Tourism
  • "I want to thank you for helping with our Principals Day event. Marshall Goldsmith was excellent. Not only is Marshall the consummate professional, be...
    Burns & McDonnell
  • "My entire team has enjoyed the experience of working with you and ESB more than words can express. Everything was handled in a professional and timel...
    Cregger Company
  • We could not have done it without you.  Thank you for the outstanding suggestions.  The speakers were by far the best we have ever had.
  • "This year’s speaker line-up at our Summer Meeting was the best yet. We knocked it out of the park. Thanks for all your help securing such excel...
    North Carolina Hospital Association
  • "It was a great pleasure to work with you in making this event a success. Your professionalism, attention to detail and response to all my questions a...
    Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • "Thank you so much for all your help in putting this together on such short notice. I will definitely use your services again in the future."
    Applied Materials
  • You ladies really are the BEST!  After this event I am going to be on the hunt for keynote speakers in May.  I really want to work with you ...
  • "Thanks to you and Jo for all your efforts.  Connie Podesta and Roger Dow were great!"   
    National Apartment Association
  • "Let me tell you that the ESB team and Christine's responsiveness, follow up, proactivity, industry knowledge, and overall customer service was phenom...
    Clear Link
  • The event was EASY Cake! and it went over very very well.  Thank you so much for the help and organization, it made my life very easy. 
    Boys & Girls Club
  • "Everyone loved Bob and he was so nice on site. Thank you for all you did. The process was so easy and we will definitely work with you again next yea...
  • Thanks to Richard and Jo for all the coordination. Another homerun from Executive Speakers Bureau!  
    Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • "My mind was very much at ease knowing that Jack Uldrich was so well prepped.  I will definitely use your agency again."  
  • The Nebraska Hospital Association along with numerous other state hospital associations have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Executive Speak...
    The Nebraska Hospital Association
  • "The group that I work with to obtain all of my keynote speakers is Executive Speakers Bureau and I can tell you that I don’t like working with ...
    Indiana Youth Institute
  • "I wanted to share with you feedback of my experience in working with Executive Speakers Bureau.. Very responsive and detail oriented.  When I wa...
  • "I LOVE this list that you sent me! I emailed several different places on Tuesday an...
  • "Let me just say again, what a pleasure it is to work with you and ESB. You really make it harder for others to reach the bar."
  • Bridgeworks was awesome!!! Great feedback from all!! Thanks for all of your collaboration and positive we'll use you in the future.  
    Johnson & Johnson
  • As always, you deliver excellent service. Thanks!
    Camden National Bank
  • "I shared with Kaplan [Mobray] that I had never had this type of experience with ANY vendor I have worked with in the past. Your responsiveness to urg...
    Gates Corp.
  • "I appreciate your recommendations.  In addition, you are always a pleasure to work with and understand the pains of an over worked meeting plann...
  • "Your tenacity and persistence in staying in touch with us is a model example of good salesmanship and partnering.  I will be using you as an exa...
    Schneider Electric
  • "WOW, is all I have to say and thank you!  Our event was a huge success and you never steer me wrong, both David Cottrell and Ryan Estis were exc...
  • "Richard, Your ability to put me in front of just the right group again and again, is nothing short of amazing. You work your tail off, you sweat the ...
    Alan Hobson
  • We truly appreciate the excellent support and attention to detail we have received from Executive Speakers Bureau.  They have provided us with so...
Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Call us to discuss how we can help find the right speaker for your organization.

Get Ideas in 2 Hours or Less

Please fill in information below

Executive Speakers Bureau consistently receives praises about our speed and efficiency. From the beginning of your event planning, our extensive online speaker database and resourceful staff allow us to quickly equip you with the best speaker for your event.

Need a last minute speaker? No worries. Our speed and efficiency help us give you ideas for speakers in two hours or less.

Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM