The Transformation Behind American Butterfly

American Butterfly Book Cover

Not quite three years ago, an acquaintance asked me to recommend a single “business book.”

After a decade working in a technical field, they were suddenly responsible for an organization: 50 people and tens of millions of dollars budgeted each year. It struck them as odd that they had spent five years earning a PhD in science, four years in college, and thirteen years in grade school…but no more than a few days in formal management classes. There had to be science to the organization of people, they thought.

Organizing Better

For two decades I had helped companies build new technology products. Along the way I had come to understand that it was organizational technology and psychology that made the greatest difference in my work, not information, communication, or machine learning technologies.

I resolved to write an Organizational Primer for my friend. It would cover the critical concepts of the last century, from Frederick Taylor’s “scientific management” to a refinement of the principles behind what is now called OKR, Objectives and Key Results. It would be a digest of the concepts successful organizations are engaging around.

Twelve months later, to no surprise, I had to curb my ambition. I narrowed my focus to An Organizational Guide for the Young Person Changing the World. It would be less comprehensive, more pithy.

In 2019, however, my children laughed at me. No self-respecting American young person, they said, would listen to anyone responsible for organizing the world today. Everywhere they looked they saw American politicians, officials, and business leaders behaving badly…no matter how much the PR and social media representatives spun things differently.

My Northern, urban children and their friends were digital natives, socially aware, and, through their devices, linked to all knowledge. Still, they were limited in how they understood the world. Every interaction with our Southern cousins demonstrated the growing gap between our cultures. Visits to CNN and Fox News on the same day made clear that this gap was really a giant chasm.

Thinking About America In a Balanced Way

I pivoted again towards helping my children understand those on the other side of whatever walls they tended. Once people understand one another, they have a better chance of working well with one another. Right?

It seemed important, too, to help my progressive friends understand traditional values. And to help conservative family see the progressive concern for the future. To help everyone see the rebel in each of us. And to understand the ways we all feel pressured by the modern world.

A Focus on the Stories

A few months back I began sharing drafts with a working title of Stories from the Middle of America’s Culture War. People didn’t like the title, but they enjoyed the family stories.

Draft after draft, readers asked that the research fall away and the family stories grow. These stories felt more real to them, I think, than whatever data or analysis could be assembled. 

These were stories about a Southern family that wanted to do good, to fight for America. To balance the onslaught of a new world that seemed to be doing so much harm. These family members could not understand why some in America said that they were the perpetrators, the ones responsible for so much of the badness in the world. 

Bridging The American Divide

The emergence of Covid-19 and the killing of George Floyd in 2020 have crystalized the American divide like rock candy on a stick. No one can convince anyone of anything. We can’t debate. We can’t even agree upon what the “big” words like capitalism or socialism mean, much less conservative or liberal. All we can agree upon is that we are staring at one another across a great gulf.

American Butterfly has emerged to help bridge that American divide. To share family stories. And to suggest ways our many American families can come together.

I sincerely thank you for listening. 

J. Andrew Shelley

November 2020

Contact Information

Contact Information


Is this a political book?

Everything seems political in America today. This novel is not meant to influence Americans to vote for one political party or the other. It does hope to change the ways we live with one another… after the votes are tallied.

Is this a true story?

This story is fiction. It draws heavily upon the stories told by one American family from the South, the experiences of a son who grew up in the South and the North, and the widely-understood facts of American history.

Where can I get the book American Butterfly?

American Butterfly can be purchased right here, through the website

You can also find a Kindle version of American Butterfly on Amazon. One for your Nook at Barnes&Noble and another for Apple Books.

Do a lot of people read eBooks?

Absolutely. Consumers buy almost as many eBooks as hardback books today. eBooks earned more than one-seventh of all 2020 consumer book revenues through July.

Can I send a book to a friend or family member?

Yes. When you order a single book here, enter your friend’s email address.

If your friend reads on a Kindle, pick the “Kindle” version. If they read on any other reader, pick the “ePub” version. They will receive an email with a link to download their copy of American Butterfly.

Can I share with a friend or family member?

Yes! The best way to enjoy American Butterfly is with a friend who sees the world a little differently than you.

Simply purchase the “Duo” version of the book and enter your own email address. You’ll get a single email. Download your copy then forward the email to one friend. Tell them that you are sending it to them. They can download their own copy.

What digital formats are available?

.epub, .mobi, and .pdf

Mobi works on Kindle. ePub works on most other devices and eReaders. PDF is readible on most devices, including PC’s. PDF is fairly universal but not very flexible. The other two are tailored for digital reading.

How do I get the .mobi file into my Kindle account?

(1) Start a new email from the email address used by your Amazon account. (2) Attach the .mobi book file to that email. (3) Email it to your unique Kindle email address.

You can find the Kindle email address in your Amazon Account. Via your web browser it is often For additional instructions, click here.

Is American Butterfly available through online sellers?

Yes. American Butterfly is available now through Amazon as a Kindle eBook. Also through Barnes&Noble eBooks and Apple Books.

Is American Butterfly available in print?

Yes, you can purchase the paperback on Amazon. It is a nice book! Lot’s of people like the feel and the look.

Why is the eBook so much less expensive than the printed book?

It’s no surprise that eBooks cost a lot less than printed books. No paper, no ink, no printing, and no shipping! 

When we look at eBooks from major publishers we often see them priced more than the paperback version. My goal, as an independent author, is to make the eBook as inexpensive as can be while earning enough to advertise each book. Without advertising, new readers would never learn about American Butterfly!

The paperback is printed on high quality paper that feels like a hardback minus the bound cover. It is a nice book.

Delivering each printed book individually is costly. Despite its far higher price, the amount left for promotion and the author is about the same for a $14.99 paperback as for a $4.99 eBook. 

What if I experience technical problems getting my eBook?

I am sorry! eBooks usually just work, but we all know how even the “simplest” information technology isn’t perfect. Click here to get tips on reading eBooks.

What do you do with my personal information?

This site tries to minimize the collection of personal information. We need enough to get you your copy of the book and just enough to keep you informed about what is happening in the efforts to make America a little bit better for all of us. You can see our privacy policy here.

What is Tensile, LLC?

Tensile, LLC is a limited liability company. It has existed since 2011 for the purpose of business consulting, building new products, and educating people on working better together. 

join the conversation

for a Friend