Summary of Why Do Americans Smile So Much?

The Atlantic,

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Why Do Americans Smile So Much? summary
To smile or not to smile – the answer depends on your location.


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If you want to know what people are really thinking, Reddit is usually a pretty good place to start. When someone posed the question, “What’s a dead giveaway that someone is American?” Redditors delivered. The consensus was that people from the land of the free and the home of the brave walk around grinning like lunatics for no good reason. If Americans smile too much, some other cultures tend to lean toward the grim side. Why such a discrepancy in facial expressions? The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan digs into the research. getAbstract recommends this illuminating article to traveling businesspeople and expats.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why Americans smile so much and with so much excitement,
  • How the meaning of a smile relates to a country’s diversity and stability, and
  • How even facial expressions have cultural implications that might impact business.


The denizens of some countries smile less than others. Smile too much in Russia, and the locals will think you’re foolish. In another country, a smile could characterize someone trying to communicate his or her superiority. In yet another country, people tend to distrust a person who smiles for no reason...
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About the Author

Olga Khazan is a staff writer for The Atlantic. She has also written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and Wired.

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