Smart People Should Build Things


Everything has an opportunity cost, but not all opportunity costs are created equal.In his book Smart People Should Build Things, Andrew Yang identifies one major, underutilized opportunity in the US: entrepreneurship. Startups account for most of the value creation and job growth in this country, but we are missing out on more gains because so many college grads go into finance, management consulting and corporate law. There is nothing \”wrong\” with these jobs, per se, people are free to make their own decisions. But too often, students drink the Kool-aid because these firms pay $100+K to entry-level positions and market themselves as prestigious, noble career paths on your way to conquering the world. Next thing they know, they\’re ten years into a career, trapped in golden handcuffs, and wonder why they do not feel more fulfilled or passionate about their job.Sustained job concentration in finance, consulting and law weakens the U.S. economy, relative to production-powerhouses like China. However, the system is not broken. This is exactly what happens when \”smart\” people make \”smart\” decisions by being risk averse. I guess that means Andrew Yang wants us to be a little stupid, in the sense that we get off the beaten path and take risks. As someone who also drank the said Kool-Aid and got it out of my system, I absolutely agree.There you go: smart people should build things. Great message and big-picture thinking from Yang. Buy the book to support the man and give it to someone who needs it, but I wouldn\’t recommend reading the whole thing unless you want to read an informercial for his (albeit dope) organization Venture for America.Here are some of my notes and quotes from the book:

\”All of us, and particularly young people, have a tendency to view ourselves and our natures as static: you\’ll choose to do something for a few years, and you\’ll still be the same you. This isn\’t the case.\”\”Once you become a builder, it\’s hard to let go\”\”There is no courage without risk\”\”The plan should not be, for the most part, \”start a company.\” More realistically, the plan should be \”join a team\”\”Ambitious young smart people are happier and better utilized in growth organizations\”\”Cities tend to produce startups that are either solving local institutions\’ problems or building on existing strengths\”\”We\’re all better off because Walker is busy creating value. He\’s better off too.\”You internalize the rationalizations for the work you are doing\”\”Money follows talent\”

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