From Publishers Weekly
Alarmed by the lack of innovation in the United States today, former Harvard Business School professor and current consultant Kao diagnoses the situation, describes best practices, explains how innovation works and puts forth a strategy proposal, all in an attempt to squirt ice water in America's ear. Kao-who has been an entrepreneur, a psychiatrist, an educator and a pianist for Frank Zappa-is clearly passionate about his premise. Aimed primarily at policy makers and legislators, his three-pronged agenda is designed to help the government create a culture committed to constantly reinventing the nature of its innovation capabilities. However, his authoritative and history-rich book is not necessarily useful to the everyday reader, as Kao includes few small-scale strategies. His one effort to bring this down to the citizen's level-in fictional short stories about the future-is a little contrived, jamming in statistics and leaning on flashbacks. But overall, the book does its job. The question is, will lawmakers look at it and follow its lead? (Oct. 2)
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"Tom Friedman sounded the alarm and gave us the big picture about the flattening of the world, and the decline of education and innovation in the U.S.A. John Kao gives us the specifics on exactly why and how the U.S.A. is losing our most valuable asset -- the ability of Americans to come up with great ideas, from light bulbs to PCs. Most importantly, Kao points in the direction the U.S.A. ought to go if it is not to become a global also-ran."
-- Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
"The arms race of the last century has been replaced by a new global brain race -- and the U.S. is in danger of unilaterally disarming. This inspiring book frames the challenge facing us and offers immensely practical advice on how to regain our place as innovation leaders."
-- Paul Saffo, Roy Amara Fellow at the Institute for the Future
"John Kao hits the nail squarely on the head. In an engaging and highly readable way he delivers a timely message with important implications for our future -- that the global race for innovation is on, the field is filled with highly focused competitors, and our biggest mistake would be complacency."
-- Sean Randolph, President & CEO, Bay Area Economic Forum
"A nation's capacity for innovation will determine whether it will be rich and powerful or poor and weak. In his insightful exploration of the world of innovation, John Kao makes clear the challenge that America faces as its own capacity for innovation erodes even as the rest of the world's abilities are growing. America's postition of power and wealth will be determined by whether it can rise to meet the challenge of the innovation agenda that Kao lucidly sets out."
-- Peter Schwartz, Chairman, Global Business Network
"It should be a surprise to no one that John Kao's new book is a highly innovative approach to innovation. He analyzes with crystalline clarity the challenges to U.S. innovation hegemony from ambitious and hungry competitors, China, India, Finland, and even Estonia. He does not shrink from advocating specific solutions, including the creation in the United States of 20 $1B Innovation Hubs and a National Innovation Advisor. His vision is not, however, American. He shows us how the whole planet needs to accelerate its capacity for innovation. For those of us who lead institutes dedicated to innovation this is a Bible and a Koran."
-- Reg Kelly, Chairman, Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, and Director, Institute of Quantitative Biomedical Research
"An insightful, and scary, account of the innovation challenges faced by the U.S... A very useful book that punctures America's complacency about innovation."