One of the defining experiences of my life came in the mid-1980s. After working for two years as a geologist in Colorado, I lost my job and my career during that long recession. Struggling to find work, some friends and I decided to start a small business in an undeveloped part of Denver in 1988. Two years later, we built a successful brew pub and eventually opened up over a dozen more around the Midwest. This is the essence of the American Dream — in the land of opportunity, if you have a good idea, create a solid plan, and work hard, you should be able to reinvent yourself and get ahead.

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