Now Available in Paperback

With falling wages and rising inequality, persistent unemployment, failing schools, and broken cities, have America’s best days come and gone? In America Needs Talent, Jamie Merisotis, a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, higher education, and public policy, explains why talent is needed to usher in a new era of innovation and success, and why deliberate choices must be made by government, the private sector, education, and individuals to grow talent in America.

In an updated and expanded second edition, Merisotis explains how the educational and political developments of 2015–2016 have only increased our need for talent, and how state initiatives and global competition can bring us closer to our goals.

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For press inquiries, contact Tracy Chen [email protected].

What others are saying

“This book should be on the desk of every 2016 presidential candidate.”

- Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America Foundation

“This book is a must-read for anyone who is worried about America’s role in the 21st century and looking for solutions.”

- John R. McKernan, Jr., Senior Adviser, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former Governor of Maine

“America Needs Talent is a challenge to both American citizens and our leaders to have the courage of previous generations to invest in ourselves to better our future.”

- George Miller, Retired Chair, Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives

“Just when so many thinkers are focused on robots and the threat that automation will close off possibilities for Americans, Jamie Merisotis understands that the opposite is true – that the future will put even more of a premium on human beings and their talent. He’s right to be hopeful, but also right to goad us: we won’t realize our great potential unless we start to do things differently – focusing on talent and cultivating it with all the tools at our disposal.”

- Tamar Jacoby, President, Opportunity America

“Merisotis provides an optimistic, solution-oriented roadmap for improving our nation’s higher education system and training and educating our future workforce. His innovative ideas are practical and long overdue for a system that has lagged behind in keeping up with our workforce needs.”

- Margaret Spellings, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

“Merisotis is dead right: If we don’t fix higher education and build new kinds of public-private partnerships, with employers of all types, America will lose the global war for good jobs.”

- Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO, Gallup

“Merisotis calls for a new generation of leadership to launch a new American century, one that will nurture our diverse talents in a grand 21st century republic of learning.”

- Anthony Carnevale, Director, Georgetown University Center on Education & the Workforce

“Jamie Merisotis has authored an inspiring vision for a Second American Century and a framework to achieve it...America Needs Talent should be required reading for all who would lead and for all who want America to be a land of opportunity where people are working, incomes are rising and the future looks brighter than the past. ”

- John Engler, President, Business Roundtable & former Governor of Michigan

“America Needs Talent offers a sharp, timely blueprint for unleashing the potential of millions of Americans. This is the path toward not just individual and familial success, but also urban and national prosperity.”

- Bruce Katz, Vice President & Founding Director, Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program

“Jamie Merisotis explores the history of American innovation and the need to recapture the spirit of risk-taking that fueled our growth in the 20th century. From competency-based learning to a skills-based immigration policy, he presents sound solutions to these challenges in a thoughtful and entertaining way.”

- Tom Linebarger, Chairman & CEO, Cummins Inc.

“...this book should be required reading for anyone interested in productive and disruptive policy change for cultivating a new generation of American talent.”

- Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

“Merisotis makes the compelling argument for why and how higher education must be turned on its head so that we can build a strong new American Century in which people from all walks of life can participate and benefit. America Needs Talent is a book that I will recommend often – an enlightening must read for anyone engaged in any part of the education pipeline.”

- Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York

“Merisotis details solutions with a constant refrain that competitiveness, compassion, and equity must be priorities. America Needs Talent offers a blueprint for a Second American Century—one that I believe...will make our communities more vibrant, and our nation more prosperous.”

- Greg Fischer, Mayor, City of Louisville, Kentucky

“I found this book refreshingly accessible, practical, and results-oriented as Merisotis...reframes the debate on developing talent in the American workforce. This book a resource for all who are working in education, immigration, evidence-based policy or social capital markets.”

- Tracy Palandjian, CEO & Co-Founder, Social Finance

“America Needs Talent makes it clear that if we’re willing to harness the innovation born of cross-sector collaboration and embrace new ways to accomplish our goals, we can nurture the talent we need to make the story of 21st century America one of truly inclusive prosperity.”

- Melody Barnes, Former Assistant to President Barack Obama & Director, Domestic Policy Council

“...These are wise words from a thoughtful leader in the nonprofit world offering a unique perspective on the history and future of higher education in America.”

- Sarah Grant, Writer, Booklist

Now Available

For orders with a quantity over 100, please contact Peter Clark at or (646) 218-9243.



In the News

Forbes: America Needs Talent(ed Leaders)

America Needs Talent presents a clear and achievable plan for closing the human capital or talent gap. Merisotis isn’t focused on scoring political points. Rather, his plan is straightforward, won’t cost $350 billion (Merisotis describes a different $310 billion plan to improve higher education as a “fantastical number”) and capable of engendering support from all…

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The Chronicle of Higher Education: Talking About Talent

In his new book,America Needs Talent: Attracting, Educating, and Deploying the 21st-Century Workforce(Rosetta Books), Mr. Merisotis argues that the United States must not only modernize higher education but also open up more paths for immigration.

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National Journal: A U.S. Department of Talent? The Idea Isn’t Crazy

On page 107 of the sur­pris­ingly easy-to-di­gest Amer­ica Needs Tal­ent: At­tract­ing, Edu­cat­ing and De­ploy­ing the 21st-Cen­tury Work­force, Mer­isot­is pro­poses the cre­ation of a U.S. Tal­ent De­part­ment. If that makes you in­cred­u­lous, Mer­isot­is is pre­pared. The chapter be­gins with the words, “I know, I know.”

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POLITICO: Free the funds!

The 2016 presidential campaigns have begun to focus on higher education in some important ways, with candidates like Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio underscoring the rising cost of college, the impacts of student debt, and how to make college more affordable.

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Money: Yes, College Is Still a Good Investment—and Here Are 3 Ways to Make It a Better One

The rising cost of college has become a fixture of national conversation, with 2016 presidential candidates on both sides floating ideas for tackling it, and thought leaders debating whether mounting student debt constitutes a “crisis.” This could lead students and parents to wring their hands about whether the payoff from college merits the price tag.

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Booklist: Top 10 Business Books of 2016

America is no longer the hub of culture, talent, and innovation that it was in the twentieth century. Merisotis breaks down why. With the decline of low-skill, mechanical jobs in America and the rise of technology, there is an ever-growing need of new job skills, from low skilled to high and everywhere in between. The…

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About Jamie

Jamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, higher education, and public policy. Since 2008, he has served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for increasing Americans’ success in higher education. He previously served as co-founder and president of the nonpartisan Institute for Higher Education Policy, and as executive director of a bipartisan national commission on college affordability. A highly regarded analyst and innovator, Merisotis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the leadership council of The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project on national service.

He is frequently sought after as a media commentator and contributor. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Journal, Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, Politico, and other publications. Merisotis commits his time and energies as trustee for a diverse array of organizations around the world, including his alma mater, Bates College in Maine. He lives with his wife, Colleen O’Brien, and their children, Benjamin and Elizabeth, in Indianapolis.

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America Needs Talent World Book Launch Event in Washington, DC

Jamie Merisotis Addresses the Clinton School of Public Affairs

America Needs Talent Book Trailer

America Needs Talent: A New Book by Jamie Merisotis

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