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Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge Hardcover – January 10, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Only a few hundred Chinese received doctorates at Chinese universities in 1987; two decades later, China could boast "36,247 doctoral students, approximately 63 percent with degrees in science and engineering." Segal, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, examines Asia's prodigious boom in education and entrepreneurship, and how its progress is hindered by bureaucracy and overregulation (India) and state control and a lack of transparency (China). Segal shows how America can meet the Asian challenge with such specific recommendations as increasing the number of H1-B visas for skilled foreign workers and other prescriptions that prove more vague: a call for more "collaborative communities of scientists and entrepreneurs." Still this lucid, stimulating analysis shows why America's open, multicultural society can make a significant contribution to innovation in the decades to come, even though Asian countries will continue to gain influence and the U.S. will never again enjoy the scientific and technological dominance it enjoyed following WWII. Segal concludes on a guardedly (and welcome) optimistic note: with more attention paid to fostering and funding ecosystems of scientific research, the U.S. can "prosper and play a dynamic role in the new world of globalized innovation." (Jan.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A thoughtful new book on innovation" with a "striking argument about America's resilient, open, and risk-taking culture." --The Economist, January 27, 2011

 "A new framework for thinking about the East-West innovation competition" --Fast Company, January 21, 2011

"The most impressive recent book about . .  innovation . . offers the most sophisticated analysis . . of international relationships between the US and emerging economies such as China and India .  ." --Financial Times, March 25, 2011

“A new framework for thinking about the East-West innovation competition.” — Fast Company

“A well-reasoned antidote to gloomy views of American decline.” — Joseph S. Nye Jr., Harvard University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393068781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393068788
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,798,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Segal presents a thoroughly researched, exceptionally well-written account of the issues confronting India and China as they continue to attempt to develop the capacity for technological innovation. It is at once a cautionary tale of how far they have come; an optimistic view of the strengths of the American culture of innovation and market exploitation, and a realistic challenge to American corporate and political systems to embrace an open global technological marketplace with the confidence that will be required to take maximal advantage of this marketplace. Emphasizing the culture of cooperation and competition in the U.S.; the transparent and consistent U.S. legal structure; and the proven ability of American business to transform innovation into marketplace successes, he clearly defines what will be required in the coming years to maintain the leading economic and technological status America currently enjoys. A fantastic book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an extraordinary book, which should be read widely by anyone interested in the future of science and innovation in the United States. Segal really understands how these things work, and how they can be made to function more effectively in global competition. Despite everything you hear in the media about China and India overtaking the United States in science and engineering, the United States still has a solid advantage based on what Segal expertly explains as the "software" of innovation.
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Format: Hardcover
Author Segal takes differing positions from one page to the next, making it difficult to determine what his points are. We should 'focus on product innovation,' no, on on the 'software of innovation' ('we're good at sifting through wacky ideas') because China will outspend us anyway (actually, their goal is to match us on R&D spending as a percent of GDP), and they have more graduates in engineering and science. Their graduates are excellent, no, their graduates are not as good as ours. Later on in the material, while denigrating Chinese research, Segal offers no concrete evidence in support, and ignores their often reputed lesser emphasis on time-wasting publications and PhDs. Further, he's totally oblivious to the U.S.' continual inability to go from grand idea to implementation - thanks to a political system that produces mostly gridlock. Conversely, many marvel at how fast China moves from idea to completion.

A few facts are incontroverable - the U.S. spends more on R&D than the next 7 nations combined, while China is now 2nd in the publication of science and engineering papers, and expected to overtake the U.S. in the number of patent applications this year. (Once again, however, Segal gets distracted arguing with himself whether Chinese patent applications and published papers are as good as those from the U.S. It doesn't matter - if they're not, rest assured they soon will be. There may also be a problem with military innovation in the U.S. via private firms - they may be forced to forego cheaper and faster R&D in China.) 'Process innovation' can be important, even revolutionary in importance - eg. the 'Toyota Production System." However, Segal seems oblivious to the fact that the U.S.
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