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In China's Shadow: The Crisis of American Entrepreneurship (The Future of American Democracy Series) Hardcover – October 16, 2006

3.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Reed Hundt casts a sober and objective eye on the subject of globalization. The results are a powerful call to action. The solution he advocates—changing the culture surrounding innovation—is daunting.  But, as he points out, nothing less than the future of the United States is at stake.”—Andy Grove, Former Chairman, Intel Corporation
(Andy Grove)

"Reed Hundt offers provocative and intriguing prescriptions for America, as it faces China—its greatest challenge in decades. Offering a unique perspective that combines the role of law, technology, and entrepreneurship, In China's Shadow should be read from Silicon Valley to the White House."—David B. Yoffie, Max & Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration, Harvard Business School
(David B. Yoffie)

"Hundt draws intriguing lessons from the late, lamented economic boom years to create a reform agenda for American business, government, and education."—James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly

(James Fallows)

"A remarkable book about America's response to China, one which should change the terms of the national debate in Corporate America, Washington, and Wall Street. It is deeper than any of the policy-oriented books I have seen, totally original in its focus, and extremely well-written to boot."—Jeffrey E. Garten, Juan Trippe Professor of International Trade and Finance, Yale School of Management

(Jeffrey E. Garten)

"This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of American entrepreneurship and of the emergence of China as a major player in the capitalist world."—Richard S. Tedlow, Harvard Business School

(Richard S. Tedlow)

"In China's Shadow draws a path for an American Renaissance in response to China's rapid rise. Reed Hundt's new book combines lessons from history, technology and optimism with insights on every page."—Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google
(Eric Schmidt)

"Reed Hundt has given us a brilliant call to arms, and a blueprint for how to restore America's entrepreneurial spirit and maintain our economic robustness in the face of an emerging economic rival in China. At once sophisticated and accessible, anecdotal and analytical,  In China's Shadow is a must read for the business, political, academic and journalistic communities—the sooner people read it, the faster we will get back on track."—Norman Ornstein
(Norman Ornstein)

"The frames we use—think "Cold War" or "cash cow"—shape the challenges and choices we perceive. Hundt reframes China as an amplifier for entrepreneurship. He shows that America's standard of living is at risk, unless we fight fire with entrepreneurial fire."—Thomas Eisenmann, Harvard Business School
(Thomas Eisenmann)

"Against China's surging challenge, Reed Hundt has issued a compelling call to re-ignite the nation's entrepreneurial prowess and renew the American dream."—John Jay Iselin, Marconi Society
(John Jay Iselin)

"Reed Hundt shows characteristic insight into the Chinese challenge by emphasizing the all too anemic American answer. He calls for business and public policy to return to the sources of American growth and advantage in entrepreneurship. This is a timely book, well argued, and right."—Tim Bresnahan, Stanford University
(Tim Bresnahan)

"In China's Shadow offers a powerful explanation as to why neither economic protectionism, nor laissez-faire complacency amounts to an effective American response to China's rising economy. Hundt argues persuasively that an effective strategy will require America to stop treating individualism and solidarity, freedom and equality as inherently incompatible. This book is certain to launch an important national conversation."—Peter M. Shane, author of Democracy Online: The Potential for Political Renewal Through the Internet

(Peter M. Shane)

"Without real gut tasting risky entrepreneurialism, all will be lost for America. Reed Hundt makes an original, interesting, and compelling case for its reinvigoration—anyone interested in what happens next must read this"—Barry Diller, Chairman, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia
(Barry Diller)

"Brilliantly reminding us when government can and cannot make a difference, this is a polemic in the best sense as it mixes insider stories, far ranging analysis, and barbed opinion. Reed Hundt proposes a bold strategy for using government to support an even deeper entrepreneurial revolution by remaking America's social contract and technology policy. Big ideas and an insider's command of the digital technology frontier make this a terrific read."—Peter Cowhey, University of California, San Diego
(Peter Cowhey)

"Reed Hundt's insights on how to get stuff done are augmented by insider anecdotes on how people got stuff done as key moments in American history. He really gets it—how the world works, what makes America successful and what will keep us successful."—John Doerr, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers
(John Doerr)

"Reed Hundt brings a broad depth of experience to this provocative work. America benefits when informed citizens like Hundt are at the front end of thoughtful debate about our nation's future."—Senator Chuck Hagel
(Senator Chuck Hagel)

"As FCC Chairman during the Clinton-Gore Administration, Reed Hundt sat in the catbird seat of the great technological and economic boom of the 90's. With his background in government and business, I'm not surprised that he has provided an important, insightful, and brilliantly written diagnosis and prescription of how Americans must respond to global competition. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the 21st Century."—Vice President Al Gore
(Vice President Al Gore)

From the Author

A conversation with Reed Hundt
Q:  How did you first become aware of the implications of China’s rapidly growing economy on American businesses and culture?
A:  I began visiting China in the mid-90s, when I was in the Clinton administration. On repeated visits I have witnessed the rise of numerous new firms, especially in technology. Even more important, in my time on the boards of more than a dozen American technology firms, I have seen the China syndrome emerge at every one: China is too big to dismiss, they say, but competing in that country and with its firms requires a globalization of American firms.
Q:  You argue that the rise of China threatens not only American business but our very way of life. What do you mean by that?
A:  If all citizens cannot find a route toward increased income and wealth, then the American Dream’s core value of individual betterment will evaporate. After that the nation will not come to common, wise decisions about anything important—whether the topic is war, climate change, or Social Security. The answer does not lie in tying American corporations to their home country. Instead Americans need to encourage in all sectors—especially energy and health—the proliferation of entrepreneurship that in the 1990s flourished in the information sector and created big new winning companies like Google.   
Q:  What are the key lessons you hope American business leaders draw from China Syndrome?
A:  American businesses and workers will be better off if American firms defeat their Chinese rivals in 60 percent to 80 percent of every sector. Isolated and acting alone, each firm will feel pressured to move money and jobs to China. Each existing firm should compete there, but all American entrepreneurs and collectively all American businesses will generate wealth for themselves and American workers if law, technology, and leaders open American markets to entrepreneurship. This worked in the 1990s—it will work again in the late '00s.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Future of American Democracy Series
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300108524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300108521
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,585,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Meza on September 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book offers a much needed intelligent look at the impact that China's successful globalization may have on the United States. The book is data driven but is also entertaining and very well-written. It is an important read for anybody concerned about the U.S.'s potential rivalry with China and what U.S policy makers and leaders are doing about it (or not doing about it). If you wonder how China's rapidly increasing economic power might impact you or your children, you should start with this book.
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Format: Hardcover
First, the DLC medicine.

Hundt never says anything was wrong with the "free trade without requiring fair trade" Democratic Leadership Council stance of the 1990s. Nor does he, if we go with the theoretical statement of "free trade is good overall, but bad for certain individual Americans," ever address the issue of how much more the government should do for free-trade displaced American workers, especially when displaced by unfair trade.

Basically, this part of his book says: "Free trade works, China is working it in a different style than American capitalism, and to the degree China won't be changing from this and will have longer-term success, America needs to adapt." In other words, since he's saying nothing is wrong with NAFTA and then the WTO above all else, nothing needs to be addressed in this part of the U.S.-China relationship.

Beyond that, many of his comments about the economic future of how he thinks this relationship should play out are little more than platitudes.

Second, the Clinton on a pedestal part

Although Hundt does let the mask slip once or twice as to not blaming Bush for every economic problem of the current decade/century/millennium, he nonetheless paints with a pretty black-and-white palette.

For example, he never mentions that the dot-com bubble bursting, and the accompanying recession, were happening already in 2000, before Clinton left office. He never mentions that the housing bubble of the 2000s, the result of how Greenspan/the Fed addressed the recession, would have happened just as much under a President Gore as a President Clinton. He nowhere faults the Clinton-era Greenspan for letting the market get so exuberant as to letting the dot-com bubble inflate so much in the first place.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is fascinating and a little terrifying -- when you see all the steps we should/could be taking as a country to meet the challenges of globalization and China, in particular. IN CHINA'S SHADOW lays out the current state of affairs and explains what the next decades could hold for the United States, given current or possible policy decisions.
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Format: Paperback
I was very disappointed in this book. I expected to learn more about China's economic threat to the United States and what America needs to do to remain competitive, presumably through innovation and entrepreneurship. Doesn't that sound like a reasonable expectation?

Mr. Hundt starts by rambling through a history of internet technologies that have brought us into the Information Age. He discusses the founding and rise of AOL, the invention of the browser, Andy Grove's "10x change" and a few other well-known trends of the past twenty years. If you are young person or a neophyte to this technological shift, you may find this interesting. However, having lived through it, I found very little new information.

The author continually heaps praise on the Clinton Administration and vilifies what followed in the G.W. Bush Administration. Although it is understandable that he would lean toward the Left, given he was part of the Clinton Administration, his bias is blatant and unbalanced. He repeated refers to "The Golden 90's" but never fully discusses the economic bubble that formed and the resulting dislocation and national disillusionment that followed. Remember the venture capitalists that were throwing money at poorly thought out business models with back-of-an-envelope business plans - hardly the bedrock of a sustainable economy?

When discussing the G.W. Bush administration Mr. Hundt makes statements such this:

He motivates his followers by resurrecting cold war militarism. His agenda does not acknowledge the tears in the fabric of the American society. It classifies Americans by groups and intensifies distrust among groups.
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