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Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America Hardcover – February 4, 2014
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“Andrew Yang lays out a solution that is a proven winner for not only the young generation coming of age, but for the nation as a whole.” (Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of Rock Ventures)
“I have great respect for the foresight Andrew brought to his groundbreaking start-up, Venture for America, and Andrew has become living proof that it’s possible to create a platform that makes it easier than ever for the country’s best and brightest to help others succeed.” (Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn)
“Andrew is one of those rare visionaries who puts dreams into action. This book is a roadmap for young people in designing their careers, a playbook for policy makers for rebuilding our cities, and a path forward to moving entrepreneurship back to the center of the American economy.” (Arianna Huffington, founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post)
“I wish this book and Venture for America had existed when I graduated from college and wanted to make the world a better place but didn’t know where to turn. This book details how we can channel our top graduates into impactful entrepreneurial opportunities while addressing our economy’s biggest problems.” (Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker)
“A lot of people in the world are chasing the money, not the passion. Smart People Should Build Things shows them a way out -- and has the potential to change the way we define success in business.” (Tony Hsieh, NY Times bestselling author of "Delivering Happiness" and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.)
“Enlightening and frequently surprising and moves much of the author’s pro-entrepreneurship slant from conventional wisdom into fact-based guidance for the “young, hungry talent” he hopes will help rebuild the American economy. A galvanizing amalgam of personal history, acquired business wisdom and mentorship.” (Kirkus Reviews)
From the Back Cover
We've got a problem—our most talented and educated young people aren't building things. They're not starting or joining innovative companies that are addressing crises in education, energy, or transportation. Meanwhile, in recovering cities such as Detroit, New Orleans, and Baltimore, promising startups and growth companies representing the next generation of job creation are desperate to attract the talent they need to expand and thrive.
Imagine if the same people who are currently heading to Wall Street were instead joining startups and early-stage companies throughout the United States. How long would it take before they positively impacted job creation and economic competitiveness?
Knowing firsthand why the current vision of education and career paths isn't functioning properly, Andrew Yang has set out to fix this problem. As the founder and CEO of Venture for America, he places top college graduates in startups for two years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train a new generation of entrepreneurs. In Smart People Should Build Things, this self-described "recovering lawyer" and entrepreneur has woven together a compelling narrative of success stories (including his own), offering observations about the flow of talent in the United States, and explaining why current trends are leading to economic distress and cultural decline. He also presents recommendations for both policy makers and job seekers that will make entrepreneurship more realistic and attainable. The country needs teams of committed builders to create value and restore the culture, and Smart People Should Build Things is about how we can get there.
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Top Customer Reviews
I think the real message should be, we should encourage EVERYONE to develop the competencies to become entrepreneurial: problem solving, risk taking, excellent oral and written communication skills, financial common sense, creating, innovating, leading .... Those who choose to use these skills to develop new entities (for profit and non profit) will do a lot of good. Those that use these skills within an existing company will also be doing their part to move the country and economy forward.
The second half of the book is an advertisement for Venture for America, and it sounds like a great organization. Again too focused on recruiting from a very small number of select schools, but that's their perogative. I want to duplicate it on a smaller scale at my college, where I co-direct the entrepreneurship center.
Bottom line, decent book, but don't expect anything earth shattering.
An inspiring read for anyone considering a start-up, and an essential read for anyone considering law/finance/consulting!
Had this book been in my hands (and had VFA been around) while in the thick of the job search in college, who knows... maybe I would have started my working life differently.
This should be required reading for all college students everywhere.
This message needs to make it back into our cultural value system before we lose all our societal IQ into self-serving black holes.
I am a 28 year old who fits the mold this book describes (mostly). I am smart, hard working, and looking for meaning in what I do. I was disappointed in the 2nd half because it was 99.9% a pitch for Venture For America (VFA) (the author's Nonprofit). It's essentially an entrepreneur version of Teach For America (go to s***ty city for 2 years trying to build up a business). Perfect, right? Great organization + Me who fits the mold. BUT NO!! To paraphrase the 2nd half of the book, Yang's laser like focus on VFA and their economic solution is to recruit top graduates (defined as Ivy League almost exclusively), of whom even fewer are accepted, and send them off to build companies. There was ZERO discussion about those who are A. Not 22 years old, or B. Did not attend Yale (state school? AHAHA, AHAHA, aha...).
On the one hand I understand this is a young organization, and maybe the plan will evolve in time, but on the other hand I found all the Ivy League ass kissing to be arrogant and irritating. To top it off, the first-hand accounts from the fellows were enough to make you want to rear end those smug idealistic bastards in their rusty Volvo station wagon/green Subaru Outback.
Interesting book, narrow focus, lots of pretentious d-bags.
Despite his many accomplishments, he stays so humble and down-to-earth - and you can see that in every page of this book. Andrew is tackling a huge problem and offering a real solution without sounding preachy. As founder of Venture of America, he's already done so many amazing things and this book is yet another extension of that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well thought through analysis of how we can improve our communities and economy by refocusing how our bright, young talent pool is first introduced to the job market once... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Andy
This was a truly inspiring read highlighting our societies need to have our young people innovate and create value for others. Read morePublished 22 days ago by William Whitmore
Myself being a recent entrepreneur, I really wanted to learn and understand the value and the perspective of what I'm trying to do. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Franck Vinchon
Someone in a previous review mentions that the author only focuses on the Ivy League schools. The author mentions these schools a lot but does not send the message that this is the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Aaron Ludwin
Yang makes great points about how entrepreneurship will revive economic growth. Very well written. Makes me want to "build things".Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book with a lot of insights about current and past job trends.Published 20 months ago by CHRISTIAN D KNUDSEN
Yang does a good job describing the current environment facing our country's top graduating students. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kevin Rocco
Excellent book with an excellent vision. Written in an approachable, conversational manner which makes for easy readying and thinking while taking in the content. Read morePublished on May 10, 2014 by E. S.