Book List: “The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society”

Harvard Business School professor William Kerr has recently published The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society.

An abstract of the book from Professor Kerr’s HBS faculty page states:

The global race for talent is on, with countries and businesses competing for the best and brightest. Foreign talent has transformed U.S. science and engineering, reshaped the economy, and influenced society at large. But America is bogged down in thorny debates on immigration policy, and the world around the United States is rapidly catching up, especially China and India. The future is uncertain, and the global talent puzzle deserves close examination. This book combines insights and lessons from business practice, government policy, and individual decision-making to give voice to data and ideas that should drive the next wave of policy and business practice.

At the opposite end from the academic spectrum, an reviewer states:

In the Gift of Global Talent, William Kerr unpacks the topic of high-skilled immigration in highly readable prose, and clarifies an otherwise murky subject. On those two counts alone, this book is a triumph. It’s also wicked fun to read.

Kerr’s book reviews how high-skilled immigration shapes top talent clusters (e.g., Boston, San Francisco), spurs entrepreneurship and innovation, and spreads new ideas to businesses and societies around the globe. He also surveys the many regulations and debates that surround high-skilled immigration before concluding the book with his own set of practical advice to political and business leaders. Kerr ultimately argues that human talent is “the world’s most precious resource,” beating out “other candidates for this title, like water or oil.” Having finished the book, I’m inclined to agree.

The Gift of Global Talent is best-suited for policymakers, industry leaders, and anyone else looking to understand why high-skilled immigration matters. Kerr’s approach is refreshingly level-headed and happily leaves out the many partisan platitudes that plague discussions about immigration. Instead, Kerr has compiled a series of original and persuasive arguments that should reshape the contours of the immigration discussion itself.

I strongly recommend The Gift of Global Talent to anyone who wants an enjoyable, smart book that can be finished in a single sitting. Two big thumbs up.

This may be worth adding to your reading list.