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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filled with entertaining anecdotes & some killer points about how governments can encourage innnovation, 11 Feb. 2013
By 
M. Littlewood - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State (Hardcover)
This wasn't what I was expecting it to be - but it was much better. I thought it would be an ABC guide to being a good venture capital investor from one of the masters of the trade. If you are a young venture capital investor, or looking to move into venture capital as a career, you would be an idiot not to read it. You could certainly take a huge amount from it if that was what you were seeking but it is also much more than that.

I hadn't appreciated Bill's academic background as an economist. Old habits die hard though and he has written a brilliant analysis of how venture capital sits within the innovation ecosystem and the wider economy. One of the central ideas of the book is that bubbles are OK. Governments shouldn't seek to control them as good comes out of them. If anything, though I don't think he would ever presume to be the one who says so, the really important lessons for the future of our economy in this book are for the people in power who seek to create the conditions in which innovation thrives.

I rarely read books cover-to-cover in one go but this took over my weekend.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venture capital magnificently chronicled, 31 Dec. 2012
A Cambridge resident since 2006, Dr William H Janeway CBE is a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge's economics facility, chairman of the board of trustees of Cambridge in America and a member of the board of managers of the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance (CERF). He co-chaired Cambridge's 800th anniversary celebrations. He is also on the advisory board at Cambridge Judge Business School and remains a senior advisor at Warburg Pincus which he joined in 1988.
Basically, Janeway is as blue chip an economist you can get, but the Warburg Pincus reference should give you a clue: Janeway is one of the world's foremost - and surely most erudite - theorist-practitioners of economic activity, and all this time he's been living a double life: he's not your average academic. Very cleverly, he unmasks himself in "Doing Capitalism", his first literary outing. Many people will buy it on the strength of the illustrious backstory alone, but what intrigued me most is Janeway's involvement at Warburg, when he was at his most hyperactive as a venture capital investor.
His 40-year career actually began in 1970 "when venture capital was a tiny, tiny craft" and he has seen it evolve into a behemoth and then shrink back to the trickle of funding it is today (venture capital, as he points out, needs economic stability to succeed and that quality is in worryingly short supply in today's environment).
His time as a venture capitalist collided with the greatest technological surge in history, and it is this experience, from the crow's nest of innovation, that most fascinates.
"Not without stumbling," he writes, "we incrementally conducted our own series of trials and errors, and along the way constructed a narrative of what it means to do capitalism on the frontier of technological innovation."
But Janeway was not just at the apex, centreing the crosshairs, he has seen the whole show go full circle, and has penned both an elegant history and a practical guide for the future from his always-riveting experiences.
"Doing Capitalism" sweeps through the history of big-state capitalism, dishing out praise and assessing the issues in courteous-yet-rigorous prose, while clarifying that venture capital "isn't a superior class asset but a transient epiphenomenon riding on the back of the greatest bull market in the history of capitalism". Janeway chronicles the past at both a macro and micro level, and then uses it as a foundation to make some incredibly valuable comments about the future. "The next new economy can already be defined in broad strokes," he writes. "Like the digital one we are currently learning how to exploit and enjoy, (a) low-carbon economy can be built only on a base of substantial state investment and agreed rules of engagement across both public and private sectors . . . much science remains to be done."
It is only the state that can provide the funding needed for the infrastructure of the emerging lowcarbon economy because there is no immediate reward for private capital at the frontier of a transition economy until a footing has been established on which investment can reasonably be expected to make a return.
Janeway points out that the West has been slow to adapt to the imperatives of the new world order. "By 2010, China's investment in clean-tech technologies was estimated to have reached $54.4bn, more than 50% above the US level in an economy less than half the size."
"Doing Capitalism" is a magnificent chronicle of how technology combined with economics to forge the beast that is today's financial environment.
A bravura literary debut.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creation needs destruction, and waste, 12 Sept. 2014
By 
M. Mainelli "elniklaus" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State (Hardcover)
As someone who has been involved in managing R&D as well as technology commercialisation, I found Bill's book a salutory reminder that creative destruction involves destruction. A very thoughtful read from a practitioner/theorist that all academic economists should read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding innovation from inside and from above, 16 Nov. 2012
By 
c perez (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I had the privilege of following the process of creation of this book and I have found the result extremely powerful. It is a brilliant reinterpretation of capitalism seen from above and lived from inside, by someone who is as much at home in the practical world of innovation and finance as in the abstract world of economic theory. Janeway's book takes us in a fascinating double dip from theory to reality and back. It contains vivid and revealing anecdotes next to penetrating analyses of the interactions that maintain wealth creation in a market economy. I recommend Doing Capitalism as indispensable reading for anyone in finance or academia, in policy or politics wanting to understand our turbulent economy and act intelligently in promoting investment and growth.
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