The defining moment came after a visit to China in July of 2008 while attending SINOCES, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) of China. When the speeches ended and the entertainment hadn’t yet begun, the top Chinese official at the event turned to Gary, pointed his thumb in the air and said in English “China going up.” Then he turned his thumb down and said “U.S. going down.”
It took some time for Gary to get over the comments but he later came to realize the United States is falling further and further behind other countries and it’s starting to have an impact on a national level.This book sets out to frame those problems by describing what America does best: create entrepreneurs and innovate and what it needs to work on: immigration, education, free trade, government spending, health care and a national energy plan. Gary provides data and examples of the problems and then outlines some solutions for the problems in practical and political terms.
I purchased The Comeback after I went to CES in Las Vegas. Gary Shapiro is president of the Consumer Electronic Association which runs CES. During one of the first days I saw him moderate a forum with a number of high profile executives about the problems they see operating in the world and within the U.S. It was an interesting global perspective and I figured this book would elaborate on that perspective.
Gary sites some interesting statistics to backup his positions on fixing America. For example he believes foreign students, who come here to get the best college education in the world, should be given citizenship. He references a study that says people who immigrate to the U.S. are 60% more likely to start their own companies than people born here. That’s a pretty incredible figure. He also proposes that most of the students in America’s top medical schools are foreign born and that we are dumb for forcing these bright minds to leave. We educate them and we should keep their talent.
However most of the issues brought up aren’t new. The majority of solutions he provides are middle of the road in political terms. He takes a typical business point of view to politics: small government, lower taxes (we have the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world), free trade, not enough talented / skilled people, let any company fail no matter what, etc.
In my opinion Gary Shapiro greatly overuses the buzz word “Innovation”. In fact Scott Berkun (Myths of Innovation) would probably have a hard time reading it. Overall this book is a quick and interesting read but not earth shattering. If you are looking at this book with an eye for technology you can skip it.
My Amazon Review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R9AXNTATMYIAK/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm