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on December 17, 2009
As a career venture capitalist, I have always felt that I have a very thorough knowlegde of technology and innovation. However, I found this book's historical review all the way back to Victorian England fascinating and informative. The authors present what many might consider a dry subject in an engaging manner the keeps the reader involved. Understanding how innovation has been nurtured and supported historically gives the reader the framework for evaluating the role of innovation in America today and the danger our country faces now as resources devoted to innovation are declining.

The authors present a strong case for more government support of basic research after many of the great private research labs have disappeared as corporations devote their R&D resources to projects with a short term payoff. They show how perilous it is for a country that has thrived as the world's leader in technology to relinquish this position while loosing its manufacturing base. It will be very difficult to maintain our standard of living if we cannot continue to lead in innovation. The authors delve into the problem of our declining education system and the lack of student enthusiasm for science and math, but do not offer many suggestions on how to improve this situation.

As I read the list of suggestions for getting the U.S. back on track in innovation, I wondered what the outcome would have been if our government had devoted it's stimulus dollars to the kind of projects described instead of to efforts that are temporary in nature. In any case, I hope we develop the political will and foresightedness to reverse the delcine in American innovation.

This book should be required reading for every politician and high school student in America. You will be well rewarded if you read it.
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on June 23, 2010
* "A sweeping variety of science and history lessons in innovation and boldness ... a scathing analysis of what the authors identify as anti-technology sentiment, policy, and beliefs in the United States that are jeopardizing the nation's role as the world's leader not just in technology but in hope, creativity, and aspiration. " -- JOHNS HOPKINS MAGAZINE.

* "A prescription for America's ills ... Melissaratos' insights carry significant weight given his decades of technology and business-development experience in both the private and public sectors and his current role as supervisor of technology transfer at Johns Hopkins University." -- ONE MAGAZINE (CAREY BUSINESS SCHOOL).

* A recommended read of both the INSTITUTE OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERS and the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS.
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on October 31, 2009
The book INNOVATION: The key to prosperity by Aris Melissaratos and N.L. Slabbert is quite the interesting and nugget packed book. I was particually taken aback by the advocacy of MagLev train technology as a means to spark a transport revolution in America at the start of the book. Maybe it was from my experience riding the Shanghi MagLev the past July; or, perhaps, it is my SiFi-thing of utilization of MagLev trans on the Moon to boost payload to orbit, I don't know. But I am impressed by the notion that MagLev technology should be pushed by the nation as a new alternative for rapid transport.

At one point the book caused me to have some anxiety from the realization that we are mindfully neglecting innovation in this nation and living largely upon the innovations of the World War II generation. Nothing is new only modern forms of prior inventions. It made me uncomfortable while reading those passages.

Aris Melissaratos is an interesting fellow within the Mid-Atlantic Region and appears to have been a major contributor to innovation-thought. But American East-West and North-South MagLev trains, such as those in Japan is advocated. I accepted the premise proposed by the authors that now is the time for America to take the lead in this technology and others. A MagLev train could go from New York City to Atlanta in 4 hrs. FOUR HOURS!

The author impressed me right from the start with his historic discussion of Abe Lincoln. In Lincoln's day "the transcontinental railroad, which in those days was as new-fangled an idea as you could get." But "Lincoln was a railroad lawyer, representing and supporting the leaders of technological change. Putting a railroad advocate in the mid-19th Century White House was like electing an ardent magnetic levitation, artificial intelliegnce, nanotechnology, or Mars colonization proponent today." WOW! Changed my view and historic outlook of Old Abe indeed.

While I do not review the entire book here, I strongly suggest that it be purchased, read and then passed to a friend.
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on May 15, 2009
I was lucky enough to get a preview copy and look forward to the final product. Melissaratos and his co-author have captured the essence of what is needed to get through these troubled times and create better days ahead.

This is a blueprint that promotes hope through innovation and tells us how the USA can regain its foothold as a technology leader.

Here are a few reactions to the book from the book's website:

"This book's motivating, thought-provoking message could not have come at a better time for America and the world. It is a stimulating, readable and valuable overview of technological innovation's role as the creative engine of our civilization."

-- The Honorable Jacques S. Gansler, Professor and Roger C. Lipitz Chair, Director: Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, former United States Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

"By identifying and vividly explaining innovation, technological advance and education as driving forces of the U.S. economy, Melissaratos and Slabbert excitingly signpost the way out of America's crisis of confidence. All business, government and educational leaders will benefit from this timely, nationally and internationally relevant work, which convincingly shows that industrial and manufacturing ingenuity is an engine of limitless economic growth potential."

-- Emily DeRocco, President of The Manufacturing Institute and the National Center for the American Workforce, Senior Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor 2001-2008

"There is only one way out of the country's economic, environmental and energy mess and it is described with rare clarity in this book."

--Richard McCormack, Editor & Publisher, Manufacturing & Technology News

"We urgently need the excellent antidote to pessimism that Melissaratos and Slabbert offer. They remind us of the power and adventure of human intelligence. Essential reading for everyone who is in any way concerned with public policy or entrepreneurial development."

-- Gilbert F. Decker, Science Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research, Development & Acquisition (1994-1997); former Chairman, Army Science Board. Mr. Decker has also served as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences' Board of Army Science & Technology, as Trustee of the Association of the U.S. Army, and as Executive Vice President of Engineering & Production, Walt Disney Imagineering.

"This wise and well-written book, inspired by an immigrant's optimism, shows lucidly how and why America must marshal its capacity for innovation and ingenuity in order to compete in the global marketplace of the 21st century."

--George Vradenburg, Executive Vice President, AOL-Time Warner (retired), and Herb Miller, Chairman, Western Development, Co-Founders of The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative, which works with leading universities, federal agencies, venture capitalists, high-tech firms and state and local governments to develop new innovation models for 21st-century America.
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on October 8, 2009
America has always been a strong economic power, but how do they retain this in the modern era? "The Key to Prosperity: Technology & America's Role in the 21st Century Global Economy" discusses modern America, its economy, and how it restricts both economic and technological development. Once the forerunner of technology, America seems to have fallen behind as Japan and China and other nations have picked up the pace. "The Key to Prosperity" is an honest examination of America's shortcomings.
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on August 25, 2009
A very strong contribution to our understanding of the global economy and the role of technology in the 21st Century. Aris Melissaratos and N. J. Slabbert have produced a powerful book that documents technology and innovation contributions to the economic success of the United States and society, in general. The recipe for beginning technological leadership is provided in their delightfully easy reading in which they treat nanotechnology, biotechnology, and other important technologies of the 21st Century. Risk associated with technological development is especially well documented. This book is a recommended reading for those who need to understand the intricacies of technology and innovation in the 21 st Century. -- Dr. Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D., D.Sc., US National Medal of Science laureate 2006, Director of the US National Science Foundation 1998-2004, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 1996, former President of both the American Society for Microbiology and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, current Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland's Center for Bio Informatics and Computational Biology and Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Paul. S. Sarbanes, United States Senator (ret.):"A succinct, well-informed analysis of the potential which technological innovation combined with sound public policy holds for the future of our nation and world ... a challenge to government, business, academia. A prudent yet visionary rallying call for all who believe that American leadership can help achieve a more prosperous and stable 21st century. A most timely book in an era of rapid change."

Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "The authors make a compelling case that America MUST reclaim its leadership in science and technology--and that we'd better get moving before it's too late!"

Gilbert F. Decker, Science Advisor to the US Secretary of Defense, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research, Development & Acquisition (1994-1997); former Chairman, Army Science Board; former Member of the National Academy of Sciences' Board of Army Science & Technology, Trustee of the Association of the US Army, Executive Vice President of Engineering & Production, Walt Disney Imagineering: "We urgently need the excellent antidote to pessimism that Melissaratos and Slabbert offer. They remind us of the power and adventure of human intelligence. Essential reading for everyone who is in any way concerned with public policy or entrepreneurial development."

Former US Under Secretary of Defense Jacques S. Gansler, Professor and Roger C. Lipitz Chair, Director: Center for Public Policy and Private Enterprise, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland: "This book's motivating, thought-provoking message could not have come at a better time for America and the world. It is a stimulating, readable and valuable overview of technological innovation's role as the creative engine of our civilization."

Richard McCormack, Editor & Publisher, Manufacturing & Technology News:"There is only one way out of the country's economic, environmental and energy mess and it is described with rare clarity in this book."

Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute and the National Center for the American Workforce, Senior Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers, US Assistant Secretary of Labor 2001-2008: "Melissaratos and Slabbert excitingly signpost the way out of America's crisis of confidence. All business, government and educational leaders will benefit from this timely, nationally and internationally relevant work, which convincingly shows that industrial and manufacturing ingenuity is an engine of limitless economic growth potential."

George Vradenburg, Member of the US Government's Private Sector Senior Advisory Committee, Homeland Security Advisory Council, Executive Vice President, AOL-Time Warner (ret.), and Herb Miller, Chairman, Western Development, Co-founders of The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative, which works with leading universities, federal agencies, venture capitalists, high-tech firms and state and local governments to develop new innovation models for 21st-century America: "Wise and well-written ...shows lucidly how and why America must marshal its capacity for innovation and ingenuity in order to compete in the global marketplace of the 21st century."
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on July 18, 2009
A historical look at the relationship of public policy and private enterprise in the development of technology in the United States. The book's argument for what is needed for our future is clear in concept
and based in this country's CAN DO spirit. Optimistic in vision and chock full of interesting facts. Hope it makes it onto college course lists and into the hands of our politicians.
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on July 14, 2009
Read "Innovation, The Key to Prosperity", cover-to-cover. It is busting with information, communicated in simple, interesting and comfortable/folksy style (liked the somewhat dated "chest-pounding" for good old U.S.A, self promotions and reminders of Greek origins). But regrettably, there is not a single breakthrough in the book as all the items have been headlined plenty, plus I thought it came across as a lecture on philosophical idealism, rather than communicating reach objectives, as the discussion was more backward (19th century strategies)than forward looking into the 21st century.

Yes, implementing all the initiatives stated in the last chapter is a novel idea, but it is not realistic. Plus, the authors seem to think that the government should be partnering in all of these innovation initiatives, which from my banking background, would be a sure way of bankrupting an already over-extended government.

The authors give an example of the railroads in the 19th century, which were all built and paid for, by the private sector and a lot of wealth was created. In the process, government was only an enabler (didn't understand the relevance of Lincoln being a railroad lawyer to the suggestion of the authors of government partnering with new initiatives going forward). Yes, government benefited from all the taxes it collected from the railroad. Without the incentive to create major wealth, there would not be a reward/incentive for anyone to take any risk, other than governments....

Meanwhile, Peoples Republic of China (PRC) surpassed USA in total automobile sales and with a close to double-digit GNP growth, PRC's GNB should be surpassing USA's within less than 20 years.

Going forward, USA's prosperity will rely more and more on outside of its borders, just like major US corporations today, who generate 50+% of their revenues from overseas (Exxon is 75%!). I would love to see more focus and foresight of the brain thrust, on how we in USA can be more competitive in overseas markets.

19th century strategies of massive infrastructure related works would work for the majority of the world population who essentially are living in the "Dark Ages", and it is not too late for USA to profit from it, which is what the US needs; income from overseas (about a Trillion Dollars a year), to grow its GNP at higher rates than in the past, as GDP alone is stagnant at best. If not, I see the US (like the UK did by early 20th century), losing its global leadership position within a generation, similar to how foreign car makers now having 70% of US market share...which like the UK, could turn to 100% very quickly.

Mission is possible, as many US private citizens & corporations have been doing just that, and in the process, making more money overseas than in USA. I don't see why within a generation of two, US's GNP being double its GDP.
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on July 31, 2011
I liked some parts of it; but I was hoping for more on things like innovation economics, history of innovation etc. A good start, but there needs tobe much more.
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