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Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America's Future Hardcover – August 14, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Praise for Entrepreneurial Nation

"I have always believed that America remains the greatest superpower of innovation. Khanna is a leading thinker on how to make U.S. manufacturing more competitive across this country, whether it comes to making high-technology planes, cars, steel bars, fire suits, or even blenders. The unconventional ideas in this book chart the path America can take to lead the world for years to come."
--Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla and Space X

"This captivating book adds to the growing discourse on the relevance of American ingenuity and our manufacturing heritage . . . It is a collection of captivating stories and real ideas on how to keep America competitive in the 21st Century."
--Ellen Kullman, Chair and CEO, DuPont, one of America's original manufacturing companies

"Entrepreneurial Nation is an excellent reminder of what makes American manufacturing great . . . It's an important read for anyone interested in impacting our manufacturing future."
--Paul Otellini, president and CEO, Intel Corporation

"Khanna lays out a refreshing vision of innovation-based U.S. manufacturing leadership, not just competitiveness. Entrepreneurial Nation is based on the views and experiences of real manufacturers making real products in America. It prescribes a hefty dose of federal policy changes to empower privatesector innovation in manufacturing. This is a very important addition to a very important debate."
--Charles Vest, President Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and president of the National Academy of Engineering

"Khanna led Commerce's domestic offices that implemented President Obama’s National Export Initiative. He was a key player in the policy debate in Washington, and he was in the trenches listening to the perspective of manufacturers across our country. It shows. His book provides a powerful vision of what American companies need to do to thrive and grow in the world market."
--Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Obama Administration , 2010–2011

About the Author

Ro Khanna spent two years as deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he worked with the country’s most influential business and labor leaders to rebuild the nation's manufacturing sector and increase American exports. He also served on the White House Business Council. Khanna is now a visiting lecturer in the Department of Economics at Stanford University and a technology attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071802002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071802000
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I fell in love with the stories of American manufacturers as I traveled to over 30 states during my two years in the Obama Administration. I wanted to share these stories of American economic hope and vibrancy with readers. I also wanted to explain why manufacturing matters to our economic future, and what policies can best help our manufacturers compete in today's world.

I am now practicing technology law at Wilson Sonsini, a Silicon Valley law firm, and teaching Economics at Stanford. I'd love to get your feedback on the book, or ideas for what we can do to grow our economy.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The title misleads, because the book is not about entrepreneurship but about the state of manufacturing in the US. Fortunately, the subtitle is more descriptive: "Why manufacturing is still key to America's future." Thinking about entrepreneurship in 2012, the first companies that come to mind are Google, Facebook or Amazon, who do no manufacturing, or Apple, which subcontracts it. Several of the executives described are in fact entrepreneurs, but you also encounter regular managers and fifth generation heirs running family businesses. I don't blame the author for this, as I suspect the title was chosen by marketers who thought that entrepreneurship would sell better than manufacturing.

The author's bio on the book jacket describes him as "former deputy assistant secretary of commerce," a title that leaves you wondering what he was actually doing. You have to look up his LinkedIn profile to find out that his primary function was to boost exports of manufactured goods. Until then, he was an intellectual property lawyer. To his credit, he makes no claim to having any particular knowledge of manufacturing before he started. But he clearly fell in love with the subject, and a passion for it shows through in his writings.

The book contains facts, interpretations of these facts, and policy recommendations. Crisscrossing the country for the commerce department enabled the author to visit many companies and meet outstanding leaders in steel making, aeronautics, mining machinery, defense, and other manufacturing industries. I had not heard about many of them and learned from the author's account of these visits.

The author quotes many sources, and his position gave him the opportunity to be tutored by industry icons like Andy Grove.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Awesome, topical, brilliant piece of work! Ro writes straight to the point and straight from the heart. One can see how passionately he feels about this country and the perception that we have lost the "war" on manufacturing abilities. He provides very realistic, balanced, practical opinions on what needs to be done to course correct. Must read!
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Format: Hardcover
Wow! I was very impressed with this book. Mr. Khanna explained some of the questions that I always had about our trade deficiencies with China and how we can strategically fight back and win. I had completely lost hope and now I realize that it is possible for America to manufacture the worlds goods not only in the near term but for our future of our nation. I have asked several of my friends who are in the business world to read this book. It is destined to become a cult classic similar to what became of Malcolm Gladwell's economic books. A must read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Entrepreneurial Nation is the best book I have read this year! It dispels the common myth that America has lost its edge in manufacturing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The author, a former high ranking official with the US Department of Commerce, shares his experiences and cites several key examples on where America still leads the rest of the world in manufacturing. He also shares a vision on how we can continue to compete and succeed over the likes of China, Brazil, and the rest of the world. This book captures your attention from the very beginning and restores all hope in America and its ability to innovate and create jobs. This book is a game-changer and truly a must-read!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant book that tells the stories of successful American manufacturers who, despite what is portrayed in the media, are beating the foreign competition. In eloquent yet straightforward prose, Ro Khanna explains the formula for successful American manufacturing. What he demonstrates is that it is the application of American ideals to the manufacturing world that drives innovation. The ability to innovate is rooted in a deliberative process that values the ideas and experiences of everyone involved and American companies are leading the way in maximizing the talent of all of their employees to provide the world's best products.

What Ro's book also demonstrates is the role the U.S. government can play in helping American companies overcome their foreign competition. While companies in China are not able to maximize innovation in the same way American companies can, the Chinese government spends billions of dollars trying to level the playing field. What Ro demonstrates brilliantly is that the U.S. government has a key role to play to make sure that American companies can keep pace. This book is an absolute must read. By telling the story of American manufacturers from the inside, the reader gains an appreciation for the great work going on in this country. By extrapolating policy prescriptions from the everyday experiences of American manufacturers themselves, the book offers a roadmap for American policymaking to come up with targeted and effective policies that will ensure that these great American companies get the government support they so clearly merit.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a worthwhile book. Even though it is sometimes a wonkish rehash of talking points from government bureaucracies and the big-corporation viewpoint of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it does have a solid core of understanding of what makes American manufacturing tick. Author Ro Khanna, a former Deputy Secretary of Commerce in Obama's Administration, clearly has in-depth knowledge and passion about this subject. He draws his manufacturing knowledge from industry legends like Intel CEO Andy Grove on down to the proud owners of smaller niche manufacturers like Vitamix (the manufacturer of gourmet coffee blenders used by Starbucks), specialty steel maker Steel Dynamics, and the entrepreneurial aerospace complex around Wichita. Then he brings his own creative and intellectually honest thinking to bear on the subject of reviving American manufacturing.

Khanna is a breath of fresh air from the atmosphere of profound indifference of too many of our political leaders and economic academics. We hear them say, "Manufacturing is the 'old economy.' Manufacturing jobs will either be automated out of existence or removed to low -wage countries overseas. Forget manufacturing. Let's get on with building the 'new economy' of information technology, education, services, and trade."

However, the loss of our manufacturing industrial base, and its replacement by a seemingly less stable economy of finance, real estate, and healthcare has not had such a happy outcome in the recent boom-and-bust economy. So perhaps manufacturing is more important to our economy, not to mention our national security, than the "new economy" pundits want us to believe.
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