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on January 4, 2012
What a funny, insightful read! Econovation is about freedom in era overtaken by fear and change. Using our collective experiences in this globalized, corporatized, socialized world, Steve takes us on a masterful whirlwind tour of how to break out of our `subjugation prison'. Using wit and humor that are worthy of a stand-up comic, he presents a heuristic on how to unleash innovation in a way that rides the macro-economic waves of the coming decades instead of fighting the tide. If you want to shrug off the business blues, read this book. Heck, even my grumpy MBA-wielding brother liked it!!
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on November 28, 2011
Based on what I have read so far - as an entrepreneur who has founded three companies on two continents - these are the real, urgent issues that we Americans need to be figuring out, versus the endless scares in the financial news which are worthless and distracting drivel. Ask any global-macro hedge fund manager.

Per the book, I would also like to bring up another trend which is that some of our brightest Americans who are lucky enough to have those "scarce white collar jobs" right now are in fact choosing to leave the US on their own... because the US culture is becoming so unbearable and they can afford to choose.

Sure, it may seem like they still live here, but half their attention and cash is long gone. And if they need something from the US, they just buy it, or lawyer it to death.

Very hard to track but a devastating trend I wish we knew more about.
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on December 12, 2011
In less than 3 years China will be filing more US patents than US companies. Our country has lost its manufacturing base, and is quickly losing control of distribution. This book articulates one of the single most important issues of our time. That emergent issue is the role of innovation in the recovery and prosperity of this great nation. This is my new favorite book.

Nicholas J. Webb
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on February 22, 2013
This is a thought provoking approach to economics and America's future. I found it very interesting that the author could hold to both liberal and conservative ideas at the same time. His anti-government approach is not so much political as practical. Not that the government shouldn't do more but that the government is so utterly ineffective at social reform, while Capitalism is the only force that can actually cope with helping social reform. Message: It is time to stop looking to politicians and government for solutions. We are our brother's and sister's keepers. "We the People" is not Washington D.C.
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on December 11, 2011
"Confront the brutal facts, delve into the underlying mechanisms causing the socio-economic challenges, and deal with them with passion & creativity. Don't wait for someone else to fix the problems, each and everyone of us can help innovate our way out of this crisis." That's the consistent message I get from reading this excellent book. I'm a Japanese marketer working out of Tokyo, but in today's highly connected world, understanding the US challenges is crucial for global business. Furthermore, there are tons of very, very important insights in Steve's analysis that the Japanese people cannot afford to miss. The additional bonus is that Econovation is a really fun book to read - it entertains and educates, the best combination to get the message across. My only frustration is that this great book is out of stock at Amazon.co.jp and all major bookstores in Tokyo. I want to buy a lot more copies and give them to my friends! Japanese bookstores, you people need to do a better job identifying a gem.
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on December 20, 2011
Steve brings brutal honesty to the question of the future of American competitiveness in the global economy. Weaving in his characteristic wit, he lays bare the weaknesses we have today, while offering specific prescriptions for a solution. He also attacks today's sacred cows blocking the way, including Education, Public Finance, and Monetary Policy. At the end, the reader emerges with a better understanding of the importance of innovation to our future, and the impact that economics has on this potential.

As he was born elsewhere, Steve cannot become President; however, presidential hopefuls, hear his message!
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on January 11, 2012
The book provided some great investment ideas for me. I'm always looking for insight that would help me allocate my investment portfolio and this book was fantastic. I have particularly been interested recently in finding the right allocation of investment in China and India. Econovation touches on some critical macro issues that get at the heart of where growth will happen globally in the next decade.
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on December 11, 2011
written in a snappy style that kept me turning the pages, the author has formed provocative opinions based on a full spectrum of facts, news, insights and history. i'd recommend this book to a friend.
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on January 10, 2012
It took me more than one month to read during day to day train commuting, tea room, or waiting bars. It was great fun to read. My comments are not related to the essence of the book...1) I saw " a mystery fish " in my high school dorm 2) I agree with "degrees in no degree needed professions". For example, some of my old friends started to work since 18 years old have worked for the same profession and respected among the community... Also, I feel as if the government is a key target to innovate, whatever the nation we are belong to... Again, thanks for writing the book and letting me to read!
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HALL OF FAMEon December 10, 2011
Listening to the public debate, says Faktor, you'd think we solved all the important problems already. We argue over innumerable topics that rarely are of consequence, and never reach resolution. (Eg. We're still fighting over Roe v. Wade - 38 years later.)

Author Faktor believes our decline began with the election of Ronald Reagan and his sea-to-sea optimism. During his presidency, our debt tripled, China's resurgence began, voodoo (supply-side/trickle-down) economics began, and we pumped ourselves up by talking down the Communists while bloating up our military. Then came Clinton and his push for free trade and the initial ruinous deregulation of financial services, followed by Bush II's starting two wars, massive tax cuts, adding a Medicare drug benefit, tax breaks to move jobs overseas, extension and solidification of the Greenspan 'put,' 9/11 - not just a human tragedy, but also a diversion from our deteriorating economy, high and rapidly rising health care costs, mushrooming debt, the realization that the 12 million or so illegal Mexicans we'd winked at were undermining our economy, and clear evidence that any stimulus efforts would likely end up in China. We were now trapped.

What to do? Supposedly wise economists and policymakers, along with vested economic interests with PAC cash, contend that innovation will lift us out of this economic malaise. Conveniently, they ignore the fact that our having abandoned commodity manufacturing (eg. CRT TVs) has locked us out of many of tomorrow's emerging industries (eg. flat panel displays - plasma, LED, LCD, and organic; solar panel manufacturing), and even where we have innovated (eg. most new millennium Apple products), the majority of those new jobs (manufacturing) end up overseas. Sounds like 'New Age' dreaming.

The new economy is not what we were promised just a decade ago - innumerable high-paying high-technology jobs. Facebook as a $90 billion valuation, but only employs 2,000 worldwide. Top earning service industries (software, pharmaceuticals, financial services, engineering, medical research) employ less than a million in the U.S. - far less than the 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession. And the top 1% now control 34% of wealth, vs. the bottom 50% having only 2%, 47% pay no federal taxes - increases all attributable to Free Trade and the offshoring of American jobs. Further, an education that once gave an $800,000 lifetime advantage in earnings now offers only a $280,000 advantage, if that. (Just think of how much your plumber and electricians are making.) And now millions more jobs are vulnerable to offshoring - in the service sector (everything that doesn't require hands on, right here).

Demand for the dollar is dropping - in 2011 the chaos in the mid-East sent money into the safety of precious metals, not American treasuries as in the past. That same year the BRIC and OPEC nations agreed to trade with each other in their own currencies - instead of using dollars. Both actions lower the value of the dollar.

Instead of offering foreign manufacturers (or threatening with loss of access to our markets - aka China) to produce here, we have state and cities competing with each other for shopping centers, offices, etc., in a zero-sum game. We pride ourselves in having laws against U.S. firms bribing foreign officials, yet think nothing of large corporate campaign 'bribes' given to U.S. candidates.

A fairly good job up to this point - summarizing problems. Then it's time for recommendations, and Faktor's brain shifts into nonsense. He recommends selling actualization, building a capital magnet, 'making makers' (improving and lowering the cost of education via greater use of software, limiting the inflationary impact of student loans by limiting their amounts, teaching technical skills - beginning in kindergarten????), micropreneurship, and becoming an incentive nation (incentives now boost financial engineering and marketing, instead of product engineering). Superficial, vapid, and ignoring the responses of other nations, environmental complications (eg. approving a pipeline from Canada that would boost highly polluting oil production), etc.
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