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Who Built That

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Who Built That

Awe-Inspiring Stories of American Tinkerpreneurs

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
11 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

America’s “tinkerpreneurs” put the US in the lead of innovation and technological progress.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Part history lesson and part political treatise, this collection of biographies about highly prolific but often lesser-known American inventors takes direct aim at President Barack Obama’s 2012 assertion that business owners need help from government-funded programs. Conservative pundit and best-selling author Michelle Malkin punctuates her detailed portraits of ambitious US “tinkerpreneurs” with assertions about how the United States’ historic support of patents and intellectual property rights facilitated the development of new products and systems. Some students of history and economics may find gaps in her interpretations, and some readers may find the book’s political asides a little jarring, but everyone can enjoy learning how everyday Americans changed the world with their ideas. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Malkin’s engrossing mini-biographies especially to readers who seek a sincere, impassioned defense of free market capitalism.


Credit Where It’s Due

Every day, people around the world tear toilet paper, pop bottle caps, turn on air conditioners and plug in appliances, but few could name the inventors who made these routine acts possible. Today, American innovation is threatened by changes made to US patent laws in 2011 and from “wealth shaming” by the political left. People should celebrate invention and remember the unsung heroes – proud capitalists all – who helped make the United States a powerhouse of innovation. Policy makers don’t deserve credit for America’s inventive prowess or the broad societal benefits created by innovation. The work of US inventors in the 19th- and 20th-centuries testifies to the power of creativity, innovation and the supportive environment backed by “American exceptionalism.” Thanks to US patent laws and the free market economy, these creative, hard-working inventors prospered from their work. Their legacy marks American innovation today.

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About the Author

Michelle Malkin writes nationally syndicated columns for Creators Syndicate and blogs at Her 2009 book Culture of Corruption was a New York Times bestseller.

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