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Launching The Innovation Renaissance: A New Path to Bring Smart Ideas to Market Fast (TED Books Book 8) [Kindle Edition]

Alex Tabarrok

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Book Description

Unemployment, fear, and fitful growth tell us the economy is stagnating. The recession, however, is just the tip of iceberg. We have deeper problems. Most importantly, the rate of innovation is down. Patents, which were designed to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, have instead become weapons in a war for competitive advantage with innovation as collateral damage. College,once a foundation for innovation, has been oversold. We have more students in college than ever before, for example, but fewer science majors. Regulations, passed with the best of intentions, have spread like kudzu and now impede progress to everyone's detriment. "Launching the Innovation Renaissance" is a fast-paced look at how we can accelerate innovation and build a solid 21st-century economy.


"This is a great book. It’s fast-paced, fun to read, informative as hell, and it gets everything right. It’s the kind of book that made me wish I’d written it — until I realized that I could never have written it half so well. I wish everyone in the world would read this book. It only takes a couple of hours, and it is by far the best introduction I know of to the topic that towers above all others in its importance for the happiness of human beings everywhere, now and in the future, namely how to foster and accelerate the kinds of innovation that lead to economic growth. It will, I hope and expect, make you an enlightened advocate for enlightened policies. And it will arm you with a bundle of fun facts and anecdotes to share with your friends. This book might turn you into a proselytizer, but it will surely not turn you into a bore."

Steven Landsburg, author of 'The Armchair Economist,' 'More Sex is Safe Sex,' 'The Big Questions' and regular contributor to Slate, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal.

If you're interested in innovation like I am, you need to read 'Launching the Innovation Renaissance.' Alex poses thought experiments from patents to prizes, from health to education to immigration. He skewers Soviet-style employment bargains and offers insightful alternatives to improve our educational system. Alex is occasionally snarky, often witty, always incisive. Read this on your next flight. "

- Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Open Education Solutions. Previously he served as president of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Progress comes from improvements in both our technologies and our rules. Alex Tabarrok makes a compelling case that in the United States, our rules on patents, education, and immigration are holding us back. If you want to think clearly about policies that matter for growth, turn off the TV, stop surfing the web, and read this book!"

- Paul Romer, New York University Stern School of Business.

"Alex Tabarrok reveals the hidden roadblocks to innovation in the American economy, and shows us persuasively -- and concisely -- how to fix them. Launching the Innovation Renaissance should be read by everyone interested in innovation and America's future."

- Michael Heller, professor at Columbia Law School and author of 'The Gridlock Economy.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 613 KB
  • Print Length: 77 pages
  • Publisher: TED Books (21 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006C1HX24
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, crisp read 17 Dec. 2011
By sien - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Launching the Innovation Rennaissance by Alex Tabarrok is another fine Kindle short. Tabarrok is an academic economist and co-author of the very successful Marginal Revolution blog. The book examines how innovation is important for economic growth and how the US performs on innovation and how it could do better. The book links in with The Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen which is another excellent Kindle short.

Tabarrok puts forward the view that the US can reignite innovation by changing the patent system, in particular reducing the time for software patents or abolishing them altogether and having patents of different durations and patents that the US government would then buy under certain circumstances. Tabarrok is also a big fan of prizes for innovation and thinks that more of them will improve innovation citing examples like the Ansari X-Prize and others. Tabarrok also thinks that better teachers are required. He believes that paying teachers more for performance and allowing the removal of poor teachers would improve the system. He is not a fan of increasing college attendance and points out that while college graduation rates have increased in the US they have increased in majors that are not creating innovation and not in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. He also makes the very much needed point that the greater wealth of the world will mean more innovation as there is more demand and there will be more people with the time and education to innovate. Tabarrok also looks at US spending on innovation against welfare spending.

Tabarrok doesn't look at are why with the average education the US has long had how it continues to be the center of world computer technology and a major centre for medical and other research areas. He doesn't look at how the US has produced Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Genentech and others while the rest of the world seems to capitalise less on this sort of innovation. He also doesn't get into detailed questions such as if permanent bodies such as NASA and the NIH are better at research than grants for Universities.

The book is impressively crisp and thought provoking. It's a really interesting book that is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in what could be done to enhance innovation and wealth. It's not a complete popular study but hopefully Tabarrok or other people inspired by the book will follow this important area of economics and public policy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Details, details 11 Dec. 2011
By David N. Welton - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought it was a pretty good recipe for improving things, but I suppose that, honestly, that's because his points mostly coincide with my own view of the world.

The one chapter/set of points that I wasn't so enthusiastic about was the one about "too many regulations". He offers no advice on how to get rid of them. Quite the contrary, he states that many regulations might be good ones, but taken all together they lead to stagnation. If they're good taken individually, how do you select which ones to eliminate? It's all well and good to wave one's hands at "too many regulations", however, constructive advice on how to rid ourselves of the bad ones without throwing out the baby with the bathwater would have been a nice thing to see.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A plausible framework for American innovation 3 Dec. 2011
By Andy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This won't be the most gripping book you read this year, but I finished it in one sitting and put it down relatively satisfied. While Alex did not prove his points beyond all doubt, I think the purpose of a Kindle single is more to start (or further) a conversation, rather than to finish one, and this book does that. In The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will(Eventually) Feel Better, (which I believe law dictates must be mentioned alongside any review of this book), you'll find more mention of what got us into our current innovation shortage and why we'll be stuck there for a while. Tabarrok has a less pessimistic take - offering solutions to how to re-ignite American innovation.

The basic thesis here is that we can perhaps end our period of stagnation by improving our policies and culture in five core areas: Patents, prizes, education, global markets, and cosmopolitanism. He addresses each of these, offering a vision for what the U.S. would look like if we had more appropriate laws and principles in place. I found myself agreeing with Tabarrok's ideas and suggestions despite thinking that I didn't really see a path to reach them. The path, I think, requires enough people rallying behind them and turning them into legislation and major social change; neither of which seems realistic in the short term. So if you are looking for a step-by-step approach to increase American innovation - you won't find it here. If you seek a picture of what we are capable of, and what a framework for what a more innovative America would look like, this book is a good place to start.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book about innovation in today's world 25 July 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Alex Tabarrok is economist and has written a short essay on 'Launching the Innovation Renaissance'. In this highly recommended book he analyses the current issues related to innovation - such as patents, education system and corporate rewards.

Alex Tabarrok is also known for the Tabarrok curve of decreasing innovation when patent protection increases beyond a certain level. Not dissimilar to the Laffer curve of diminishing tax returns when the tax burden increases!

His view on patents and how the increase in patent protection in the 1990's in the US, in particular in the field of software patentability, is actually diminishing innovation instead of fostering it, is very interesting, and quite aligned with what we exposed in some early blog posts such as 'How patent litigation cost half a trillion dollar inefficiency in the last 20 years!'

It is quite a short book, very easy to read, and to the point. One small issue though is that it is very US-focused and would gain to be broadened more globally looking at the innovation issues world-wide. Issues are not the same everywhere, but at the end of the day innovation does benefit everybody.

Add it to your summer reading list!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative and engaging 14 Feb. 2012
By Nick Schulz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This book offers a blueprint for getting American innovation humming again. While a reader might not agree with all the policy prescriptions, it's hard to think of another book that targets the real problems of our time and that offers such a constructive approach to realizing a better future.
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