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Smart People Should Build Things

Before Andrew Yang was famous for losing political elections, he founded Venture for America. This book is the story and thesis of VFA, arguing against the current pipeline of sending our best and brightest to law school and management consultant companies. Instead of creating more professional service workers, he argues, we should equip and train people to build new things. In Silicon Valley, this is an obvious train of thought, but isn't common outside. And naturally, VFA focuses primarily outside of major metropolitan areas where tech is already known to be a good career.

It’s a great, quick read, and changed how I viewed the current educational/professional pipeline. I highly recommend it to policy makers and high schoolers thinking about career options. It's pointing to a real risk for America's future and society, and provides a techno-optimist framing towards the solution. The book has one primary idea, so once you get the gist of it, feel free to skim or skip the rest unless you also love the story.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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