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The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent Paperback – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Vivek Wadhwa’s new book, The Immigrant Exodus, is admirably short, yet he packs it with righteous fury. America, he points out, has one of the greatest assets a nation can have: people yearn to live there.”
The Economist

“A thoughtful contribution to the dialogue surrounding immigration.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Immigrants have long been the backbone of America—our nation itself was a start-up founded by immigrants. The Immigrant Exodus demonstrates the danger this country faces if it continues to turn away such a precious resource.”
World Policy Review

“A must-read for anyone who wants to understand why America is losing the talent race.”
—Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors and PayPal

“As the son of immigrants and a champion of American Innovation, I can think of no more important book for our politicians and CEOs to read. Get it, read it and fix this problem now.”
—Peter H. Diamandis, MD, Chairman/CEO, X PRIZE Foundation and author of Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

“Talk about hitting our economy when it’s down! And we’re doing it to ourselves, as Vivek Wadhwa’s shocking new book illustrates….Vivek’s timely book should wake Washington up to this destructive folly.”
—Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media

“Over the past couple of years, Wadhwa has been at the forefront sounding the alarm about America's flawed immigration system. In The Immigrant Exodus, he writes persuasively about the problem and what we need to do to solve it. A must-read.”
—Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman, LinkedIn and partner at Greylock

“With his masterful blend of hard-hitting analyses and empathy for the real people who strive to succeed, Wadhwa lays out a strategy for keeping America the birthplace of great innovation. The Immigrant Exodus is a must-read.”
—Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D. founder, Level Playing Field Institute

“Vivek hits the nail on the head: The key to unlocking American prosperity is making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to start businesses here and ultimately stay here. Voices like Vivek’s are critical to making that reform possible."
—Marc Andreessen, co-founder and partner, Andreessen Horowitz

“I highly recommend The Immigrant Exodus for everyone who is concerned about America's competitiveness in the twenty-first century.”
—Vinod Dham, Executive Managing Director, IndoUS Venture Partners

The Immigrant Exodus points out clearly that America is in a stiff competition for valued immigrants, the entrepreneurs and the capital of the world, and we can do something about it.”
—Timothy Draper, Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

The Immigrant Exodus is a cautionary tale of a great success going wrong and what we can do to reverse this trend before it is too late.”
—Mitch Kapor, founder Lotus Development Corp.

“In The Immigrant Exodus, Wadhwa argues that America remains the beacon of hope for talented individuals from around the world. Let's not allow this flame to be extinguished.”
—Jeff Skoll, founder and chairman, Participant Media

“A wakeup call. Vivek Wadhwa proposes enlightened and constructive ways to keep the American Dream alive for the best and brightest global talent.”
—Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa

“As a nation, we’re fortunate to have Vivek Wadhwa and others advocating on behalf of America’s future prosperity.”
—Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company

About the Author

Vivek Wadhwa is director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization and executive in residence at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; vice president of innovation and strategy at Singularity University; fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; and distinguished visiting scholar, Halle Institute of Global Learning, Emory University. Wadhwa is a regular columnist for the Washington Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and In February 2012, the US government awarded Wadhwa distinguished recognition as an “Outstanding American by Choice”—for his “commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans.”

Alex Salkever is a writer and former editor of where he managed technology coverage for the publication. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications in print and online publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, Wired Magazine,, BusinessWeek, and Inc. Magazine.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Wharton Digital Press (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613630212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613630211
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on December 28, 2012
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This is because the US ability to attract and retain highly skilled and entrepreneurial individuals worldwide is at the essence of its success. As long as the US can maintain an economic and cultural climate favorable to entrepreneurship, the US can still remain the leader in the innovation of markets for new products and services.

The author documents that the US magnet for talent has broken down due to impairing immigration policies. This is at the same time as other countries have far strengthened their own talent magnet. Historically, the US has attracted the best and the brightest and made it relatively easy to stay. But, this situation has rapidly deteriorated.

The author firsthand experience is interesting. He came from Australia with a degree in computer sciences in 1980. Within days of his arrival, he had applied and gotten a job with Xerox. Within a short 18 months he had gotten a green card. This will provide him total freedom to fulfill his full potential. And, he will soon found two successful high tech companies: Seer Technologies and Relativity Technologies creating hundreds of jobs as a result.

The author indicates that he could not have replicated his own success today. This is because he would have to wait for a decade to get a green card. Stuck in near corporate servitude with a temporary H-1B visa, he would be not only tied to his sponsoring employer but also tied to the specific job associated with his green card application. He would never have started his two companies and hundreds of jobs would not have been created. If he would have to start today, given current circumstances he would have stayed in Australia. This is obviously wrong.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Caulfield on October 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading "The Immigrant Exodus" and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to Mr. Wadhwa for his patriotic and sane dedication to raising this issue. It is a dangerous kind of arrogance to think that this country is such a desirable destination that we can treat worthy, contributing immigrants like interlopers. This book is a wake up call that I plan to share and amplify.

I spend a lot of time in Detroit, a place where the greatness and struggle of the American worker is clearly visible. As I read this book I couldn't help but think of how outraged the legions of unemployed and underemployed workers there would be if this issue were put plainly to them. The idea that we are literally turning away risk taking job creators and discouraging them from investing in America at a time when cities like Detroit are desperately trying to attract the industries of the future is almost unbelievable. Immigrants are always an easy political scapegoat and focus of paranoia. At a time when our leaders know that job creation is priority one for the electorate the volume on this issue needs to be turned up to 10. Instead of having countries like India and China subsidize and entice these talented innovators away lets flip this drain and funnel that talent to cities like Detroit eager and ready to grow with them.

This is a clear, concise explanation of the issue. I highly recommend it. I put it down two hours ago and it has already sparked two lively conversations.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Manylander on November 8, 2012
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First thing first, I agree with the main idea. But as an avid reader of all sort of things, and most importantly as an East European immigrant who came to the U.S. 14 years GO, I have numerous issues with the book.

The summarized version: The book is much longer (even at 80 real pages) than it should be and it is written in a very pro-Indian style. Examples are far from diverse and centered excessively around start-ups and tech and the experiences of Indian individuals.

If you have time to read in detail please continue reading, otherwise, thank you for reading this far. Here are the areas of major issues with the book:

- Extreme redundancy: The same message repeats over and over and over again. This is actually a "word fattened" version of a short paper or essay. The message of the book could could have been delivered with only a few non-redundant examples in 5-10 pages. Namely: a paper.

- The author takes pride in being a true "American" but the entire book is a campaign for Indian workers. Throwing China's name every now and then is just a weak attempt of disguising this propaganda.

- If you are really writing a book about the immigrant exodus, maybe you should exit your immediate circle and realities (the Indian community in the U.S.) and attempt to provide a more diverse set of examples. Two thirds, if not more of the often non-importnat/critical examples are about Indian immigrants. I have many Indian friends. I 've met amazingly gifted Indians in my graduate studies and professional life , but if I were to write a book about "all immigrants' I would not be writing only about them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Snakewine on September 2, 2013
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The Immigrant Exodus by Vivek Wadhwa gives some good suggestions as to how to improve the Immigration Process, however it focuses highly on tech workers from India and China. Although this information is helpful and informative, the book is light in other aspects of the immigration question. These other points are briefly mentioned, but his stance on tech workers from India and China dominate the conversation. This book is a good introduction to part of the debate concerning immigration, however it does not give a complete picture.
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