Kevin Feng

-- CS student, creative technologist

Smart People Should Build Things

How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America

By Andrew Yang

A senior in Entrepreneurship Club who was also an incoming Venture for America fellow recommended this book to me, so I approached this fully aware that in some way or another, the book was an advocate for the Venture for America program. But the somewhat promotional nature of the book didn’t stop me in any way from getting a lot out of this book, partly because Yang is an entertaining narrator and partly because I see a lot of what he talks about happening around me.

Being at Princeton, I can definitely sense the strong pull towards Wall Street and other corporate pathways. Friends are interviewing at reputable banks, attending networking events held by big-shot firms, and getting involved in extracurriculars that prepare for those interviews and networking events. I even see recruiting sessions and organized office visits pop up on my Facebook news feed (requiring full business attire, no less). It’s literally everywhere and you can't run away from it.

What Yang said about the ability of one’s job to “rewire” their mind was interesting. According to him, working a corporate job changes one’s mindset to an analytical one, which can be unfavourable in startup settings where an action-oriented mindset is required. Even if ex-corporates end up create their own company down the road, it’s still (in most cases) related to their corporate work: hedge funds and law firms are among the norm. However, I’d be interested in hearing more first-hand accounts of a corporate employees who joined startups later in their career. Does experience in the corporate world really deteriorate the entrepreneurial mind, and does having such experience help in any way in a startup (i.e. networking skills, dealing with tough clients) when compared to a new grad? More perspectives would be nice.

Amazon link →