on June 3, 2011
The first book I've read in a while that actually made me feel hopeful about the American economy and the chance for the US to thrive in the 21st century. Mr. Holstein is a master storyteller who has done the legwork (literally) to uncover some of the most informative cases of interactions between academia, government, and industry. I highly recommend the book to anyone who is tired of the doom and gloom forecast for the American economy and wants to know about the best and brightest ideas being conceived, incubated, and commercialized in various pockets (or 'clusters', as they're known) of the United States. These are clearly the innovations and industries that will lead our country forward in the next century and Mr. Holstein is to be praised for highlighting them in this thoughtful book. It's a feel-good read with real takeaways.
Here's a link to Mr. Holstein's interview on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show": [...]
on April 26, 2011
At a time of ongoing uncertainty, this book offers such tremendous insight into ways to transform our economy. As we continue to look at the horrific effects of joblessness, lack of health care and housing, escalating poverty and the struggle of middle class families, Mr. Holstein offers real solutions. His case illustrations are poignant and compelling as they bring home the despair of so many of us for so very long. His research is thorough and suggests refreshing ideas on a micro-economic level that is applicable to all people...from large corporations to small business. It highlights the essential need for collaboration which includes a vital emphasis on the need for innovation and the creation of new industries. He urges us to consider the wealth of ideas coming from universities and research which can help businesses while creating what he refers to as "ecosystems" which he convincingly suggests can positively impact our use of energy, expand our workforce through retraining and, perhaps most importantly, create sustainable growth. It is indeed a book that combines a rational approach to our ailing economy while offering impressive insight and provocative thought.
on February 14, 2016
Holstein describes how creating a cooperative environment based on entrepreneurs, universities, federal grants and contracts, and led by risk takers and believers can fuel an economic ecosystem - with examples from San Diego, Austin, Orlando and other locations.
He reminds us that America invents new industries faster - listing "thin-film solar and other renewable forms of energy, simulation and modeling, advanced robotics, lithium-ion batteries, nanotechnology, biotech and genomics, and new materials."
We need to find a way to build these new industries faster so that more jobs are created on US soil, instead of hoping that the next business cycle will automatically correct each downturn.
on November 16, 2011
While Washington may practice the politics of conflict, the rest of America is showing that cooperation between the business, government, educational, and foundation sectors can foster innovation and create new jobs. William J. Holstein's The Next American Economy: Blueprint for a Real Recovery is an essential roadmap for America's renewal and an insightful reckoning of the global challenges ahead.
William Jefferson Clinton
on February 14, 2013
It is a sound blueprint based on data and facts in the various regions spanning across technology innovation, export, labor and schooling. America is never short of innovation and talent. I do think with the concerted effort from businesses, technologists and administrations the American economy will emerge stronger and stronger.
on May 11, 2011
As a current student, it is impossible not to worry about the economy and jobs (specifically, my future job). Everything (from small businesses to non-profits) hinges on our country's ability to build wealth and sustain it. It seems like Wall Street crashed and the ground came out from under everybody. This book gives me hope about how America can build wealth - real wealth - and produce exciting innovations. I hope our government, business leaders, and thinkers all read this so they can see what's working in small pockets around the country and make it happen everywhere...and then give me a job.
on July 4, 2011
I ordered this book because of an interview I saw with William Holstein on MSNBC. I liked what he said, and sent immediately for the book.
Because I am a teacher, and have written on careers, I thought to just scan through for any new points. That didn't work. Just a couple of pages glimpsed, and I went back to read attentively from the start.
I expected all the usual caveats. I expected a discussion of annual reports and means of understanding a corporation before applying. But Holstein had more. He had stories to tell.
I love stories. They teach effectively.
In the first chapter Holstein described how college professors in technical scientific areas, like biophysics, need investors who are willing to risk their venture capital on what look and sound like good ideas to them, and to other entrepreneurs, their friends. But there needs to be someone with management experience to first hook venture capitalists and highly skilled researchers up, and then to manage the setting up of an enterprise that can take the good ideas to fruition.
Holstein told in one chapter how this worked under the sponsorship of MIT. The university supplied a unit in which the work could take shape, a phsical place in which all the necessary people could gather to make the idea work, sponsored by university effort, support, and staff. The people came because they believed in the idea and wanted to make it work. And when it succeeded, the university had a minimal bit of stock and made its investment back
By the end of the chapter I had finally understood what a colleague, Peter, had meant when he said, "You're the only one of us who made a space for yourself in which you could survive." Peter was a Phi Beta Kappan (PBK) out of Stanford. He was an outsider in our department. So was I an outsider, a PBK from Newcomb. I thought what Peter said was sweet, and I took it as a compliment.
As I finished Holstein's first chapter, I realized for the first time that both Peter and I had in common an entrepreneurial spirit, trapped in the bureaucratic and quasi-corporate world of academe. I thought we were just scholars. I had never thought of us from the perspective of the entrepreneur or the venture capitalist.
Peter was more patient than I. He found satisfaction outside the college. I kept creating space for myself. I funded the establishment of a research lab, created an undergraduate moot court, in which students could learn to argue in a crowded courtroom to local court room judges, appellate and supreme court justices, and began to give, with my students, exhibits and performances as community outreach.
By the end of Holstein's Chapter 1, I realized what Peter and I had shared, without naming it. We wanted our innovations, our academic production to be put to practical use in the society we meant to enrich, not just published in some fusty old journal or book. Holstein's story fits the scholar as well as the technical scientist. We both have highly specialized skills. We both need help in turning our work into practical uses.
Now, that's quite an insight for one chapter to provide. I stopped right there and turned to my computer to translate my teaching website into, well, into a kind of book, but not the kind you're used to, not even the Kindle kind. I've been writing so intensely since then I haven't had a chance to delve back into Holstein's book. But I was surprised, by your request, into putting into words what had inspired me.
I did peek ahead into the next chapter, but decided the better part of valor was to run with one inspiration at a time. In a few weeks I'll have set up a way to share this "book", and create a successful enterprise, not for profit, but for the betterment of the world we live in.
I wish my university had known Holstein's stories about the way to turn solid knowledge into practical useful ways to create jobs and solve this awful economic crisis. Maybe I should buy them a copy, hmmm?
on July 4, 2011
This purchase was for a gift to one who has read other works by Mr. Holstein and who has admired his thinking and work. I have known the author for many years and trust his experience and instincts as well as his methods of research, some of which I have witnessed first-hand. This is a no-nonsense perspective; no pie-in-the-sky; no robinhood approach to the slutions to the economic dillema of the United States. To implement thee ideas will require many to turn off their microphones, put their money where their collective mouths are, and roll up their sleeves. All would do well to give these approaches a try.
Well-written, thought-provoking, sensible, via media.
on June 1, 2011
The Next American Economy by Bill Holstein is well worth reading, especially for economists, policymakers, business leaders and economic development types. Instead of the usual handwringing and Armageddon scenarios, this book offers a practical, optimistic blueprint for getting the economy moving again. In his muscular prose, Holstein profiles those industries and geographic "clusters" from the genomics industry in San Diego to the robotics industry in Pittsburgh, that hold the promise of creating American jobs. These case studies are inspiring and rays of light in an otherwise dark U.S. economic picture. Holstein, a former foreign correspondant with a global perspective, argues for an American version of industrial policy, ie., an intelligent government-corporate partnership that can keep us competitive with Asia. Hooray to Holstein for his very readable, reported polemic. Hopefully his inspiring vision will spur some initiatives to support American innovation and creativity in Washington and the executive suite. Full disclosure: talkischeap123 is a friend and a former colleague of Bill's.