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  • Cited by 21
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2018
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Book description

Legendary economist Hyman Minsky identified author William H. Janeway as a 'theorist-practitioner' of financial economics; this book is an expression of that double life. Interweaving his unique professional perspective with political and financial history, Janeway narrates the dynamics of the innovation economy from the standpoint of a seasoned practitioner of venture capital, operating on the frontier where innovative technology transforms the market economy. In this fully revised and updated edition, Janeway explains how state investment in national goals enables the innovation process and why financial bubbles accelerate and amplify its impact. Now, the digital revolution, sponsored by the state and funded by speculation, has matured to attack the authority, and even the legitimacy, of governments. The populist response in the west, especially in the United States, opens the door for China to seize leadership of the innovation economy from America.


'The world has never been more in need of the economic and political insights of William H. Janeway. I can think of few books that have taught me as much as this one. It will help you see the world around you more deeply - how we got here, where we want to go, and how to renew our faith in our institutions and our future. It is wise, insightful, and rich with economic history, the personal stories of a brilliant investor, and an essential call to action for business leaders, investors, and policy makers.'

Tim O’Reilly - Founder and CEO O’Reilly Media and Partner, O’Reilly Alphatech

'Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy is a brilliant (and also much-needed) breath of fresh air. William H. Janeway talks about capitalism as it really is: from his joint perspective as leading-venture-capitalist/leading-economic-theorist.'

George Akerlof - Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001

'William H. Janeway’s double hat of venture capitalist and economist brings a fresh perspective to bear on the political, economic and financial forces behind innovation. This second edition complements the first by tackling new and really important questions, such as the perception of slower productivity growth, the flood of passive investor capital in search of yield in a low-interest world, or the US disengagement of the state. From the analysis of bubbles as speculative funding through the importance of assured access to cash, Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy is key reading for all those interested in the future of innovation.'

Jean Tirole - Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2014

'Anyone who thinks that innovation is driven by the rational market driven processes of standard economic theory understands neither the history nor the practical reality of innovation. William H. Janeway understands them a lot and has thought deeply about the implications. The result is a superb book which not only debunks mainstream theory but explains the crucial roles which both governments and the private sector must play to drive the innovation which society needs.'

Lord Adair Turner - Chair of the Institute for New Economic Thinking

'This one-of-a-kind book bringing together insights about venture capital, macroeconomics and the future of technology is now more timely than ever. How to reconcile the dynamism of twenty-first-century technology with the disappointing sluggishness of economic growth and persistent stagnation of wages is one of the great intellectual challenges of our age. The explanation, William H. Janeway suggests, lies at the junction of technology and finance. There is no one better qualified than the author to help us navigate that dangerous intersection.'

Barry Eichengreen - George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

'William H. Janeway nails it again. Yes: the innovation game has changed one more time,  with different roles for The Three-Player Game that Janeway defined and so accurately portrayed in the first edition. Technological innovations primarily focused on hardware gave way to those focused software which, in turn, gave way to services, which is now giving way to data as the source of competitive advantage. Each of the changes requires a shift in how you play the innovation game. But this last shift will have dire consequences for those who don’t fully understand just how fundamental it is. This book is a must read.'

John Seely Brown - Former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp and Director of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Advisor to the Provost, University of Southern California and Co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge

'Since its original publication, William H. Janeway’s Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy has become a classic, helping to launch the digital revolution and explaining how venture capital has leveraged state investments and financial bubbles to change the world through technological innovation. In this new edition, he looks at the past to predict the future, explaining how the digital revolution has grown and taken on a life of its own - and letting us know, with clarity and insight, what comes next.'

Eric Schmidt - Technical Advisor and Former Executive Chairman, Google and Alphabet Inc.

'Neither Adam Smith’s nor Henry Ford’s picture of the economy is relevant for us today. What thumbnail picture is relevant? We do not know, but William H. Janeway thinks harder and more successfully about this question than anybody else I have seen.'

J. Bradford DeLong - University of California, Berkeley

It's fashionable to complain about the misallocated investments of the French, who lean towards buying real estate and government bonds, rather than funding entrepreneurs and start-ups. Politicians regularly announce they want to fix this, but … they ignore almost everything about how venture capital works … Doing Capitalism the Innovation Economy, by American economist Willian H. Janeway, could serve as their guide.'

Source: translated from Le Monde

‘A stunning display of insight and erudition and an important contribution to a long-standing debate about the part government plays in technological progress.’

Source: Kirkus Reviews

“Doing Capitalism is a must-read for anyone interested in the dynamic interactions of market and politics as well as finance and innovation. It is a kaleidoscopic analysis, full of characters, business drama and theoretical observations. It’s the testimony of a lifelong work as theorist-practitioner, crystallizing the lessons of a 40-year professional life … Even if you’re not a financier, a technologist, or an academic economist, you’ll be inspired by Doing Capitalism.'

Laurène Tran Source: Medium (

Review of previous edition:'Janeway, who built the technology investment team of Warburg Pincus, has a powerful message: an innovative economy ‘begins with discovery and culminates in speculation'. Unfashionably, he insists that the state plays a central role in the innovative economy, as a source of funding for infrastructure and research and as a guarantor of stability when financial speculation ends in disaster, as it tends to do.'

Martin Wolf Source: Financial Times, Best Books of 2012

Review of previous edition:'… [an] original and thought-provoking book.'

John Cassidy Source: The New Yorker

Review of previous edition:'A rewarding memoir about the learning, training and life experience required to achieve mastery in the venture economy.'

Source: Kirkus Reviews

Review of previous edition:'This is one of the most intelligent, sensible and insightful books about Wall Street published since the financial implosion of 2008.'

Robert Teitelman Source: Slate

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