Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America, offers a unique solution to our country’s economic and social problems—our smart people should be building things. Smart People Should Build Things offers a stark picture of the current culture and a revolutionary model that will redirect a generation of ambitious young people to the critical job of innovating and building new businesses.
As the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, Andrew Yang places top college graduates in start-ups for two years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. He knows firsthand how our current view of education is broken. Many college graduates aspire to finance, consulting, law school, grad school, or medical school out of a vague desire for additional status and progress rather than from a genuine passion or fit.
In Smart People Should Build Things, this self-described “recovering lawyer” and entrepreneur weaves together a compelling narrative of success stories (including his own), offering observations about the flow of talent in the United States and explanations of why current trends are leading to economic distress and cultural decline. He also presents recommendations for both policy makers and job seekers to make entrepreneurship more realistic and achievable.
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About the Author
Andrew Yang is the founder and CEO of Venture for America, a national nonprofit that is regarded as one of the country's leading social innovation organizations. He has worked in startups and early-stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years, including as the CEO of a national education company that was acquired by Kaplan. Yang was named a Champion of Change by the White House and one of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business." He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Where Our Talent is Going
1 The Prestige Pathways 3
2 Too Much of a Good Thing 16
3 Professional Training Cuts Both Ways 31
4 Network Effects and Why Human Capital Markets Don't Self-Correct 44
Part 2 Building Things
5 Building Things Is Really Hard 57
6 How You Get Better 73
7 Running a Company 83
8 Rent-Seeking versus Value Creation 98
Part 3 Solving the Problem
9 The Qualities We Need 107
10 Building a Machine to Fix the Machine 113
11 The Future Changes for at Least a Few 138
12 Teams of Builders 149
13 Training Camp, and Notes from the Field 154
Part 4 The Future
14 Mow to Get Smart People to Build Things 175
Appendix A Venture for America Mission Statement and Credo 193
Appendix B The State of Venture for America 195
Appendix C Accounts from 2012 and 2013 Venture Fellows 197
Appendix D Job Traits 212
Appendix E 2012 Venture Fellows and Their Employers 222
Appendix F The Postgraduate Paths of National University Graduates 227
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a well-researched rallying call to reverse the downward-trending career impact of millions of Americans. I perform career coaching for over 500 successful young professionals in New York City every year (who excel at impressive firms such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, McKinsey & Co, Deloitte, and Google). And so very many of these high performers state that they are unhappy with their "prestigious" jobs, express the desperation to create something of their own and make a difference, but confess hopelessness around where to start. This book details how author Andrew Yang and his non-profit Venture for America are actualizing a bold and broad-spectrum solution: a entrepreneurial career ecosystem that ensures our nation's best and brightest are working towards keeping America the vanguard of innovation. The book showcases dozens of real-world examples of college grads who have "taken the road less traveled by" and are transformed as a result. The book also details how Yang and his non-profit are partnering with private enterprise to restore to greatness America's "transitioning" cities of Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Providence, Cleveland, Philadelphia, downtown Las Vegas, and more. Lastly, the book provides a well-documented summary of all of the major private, corporate, academic and government supporters who are tag-teaming this effort with Yang around the country -- it's such an impressive coterie of powerful players that it tempts and invites readers to consider Yang's vision jump onto the Venture For America rocket ship. A captivating read.