Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America
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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.
never walk away from a classroom thinking “That was a great class” while students were left thinking “I need to go home and study what just happened.” We passed on four out of five candidates who made it to the final round. Meeting and interviewing all of these people affected my view of how the world worked in terms of talent finding a home. Here were dozens of brilliant academics, engineers, creative writers, freelance tutors and educators, women balancing parenting responsibilities, former
co-op building for $20,000.* That’s not a misprint—he paid fourteen dollars per square foot to own, not rent. The same apartment in Manhattan would have cost sixty to eighty times as much. Jon Zemke, an enterprising University of Michigan grad, was buying houses for $30,000 or so, rehabbing them himself, and renting them out. He’s now up to twenty units after starting with only his credit cards. I met Torya Blanchard, who had opened a creperie in downtown Detroit after teaching French in a local
grow from adversity as much as they do from prosperity. When the tech bubble burst in 2001, virtually everyone I knew lost his job as companies flamed out right and left—mine included. Some people did something totally random to pay the bills for a while as the smoke cleared (like teach the GMAT). But most everyone bounced back. My friend Robin worked for a company that went under; then he went corporate for a little while, and then years later he started a company that was acquired by Zynga. My
at University of North Carolina. (Project 100) CINCINNATI Dan Bloom: Wrestling champion and history major from Wesleyan, working on a sandwich shop. (Blackbook HR) Max Eisenberg: Washington University in St. Louis urban studies and entrepreneurship grad who had bought and run a business in college. (Ilesfay) James Fayal: Finance major from the University of Maryland who had interned at Morgan Stanley (CincyTech, NextFab Studio) Rickey Ishida: Cornell biomedical engineer who rebuilt his own
organizations themselves to prosper. For example, if Mark Zuckerberg had become an investment banker or gone to work in a bank’s information technology department, then the bankers wouldn’t have had Facebook to take public. It’s actually far better for the investment banks (and everyone else) that instead of heading in their direction, he started his own company. Another issue is that professional paths aren’t always the right fit. Everyone reading this knows a host of former lawyers, bankers,