The agribusiness nation-state
The "nation-state" of California has the largest dollar-producing agricultural industry in the world, centered in the state's Central Valley and San Joaquin Valley, but also located throughout the Golden State from the far south to the far northern border with Oregon.
The diversity of the Golden State is astounding. Just a few miles from some of the world's most productive agricultural land is the world's number one high technology region, The Bay Area's Silicon Valley, home to Intel, Sun, Apple, Google, Yahoo and a host of other high tech leaders, along with the research centers like Stanford University and U.C. Berkeley which incubate them, and the venture capitalists who finance them.
Hurray for Hollywood
The region is home to the third number one ranking industry, along with agriculture and high tech, which California offers the world--the entertainment industry. What's collectively called Hollywood produces more entertainment products--movies, television programs of all types, videos and related media--than does any other place in the world.
Home of Presidents
California also has produced two U.S. presidents in modern times; one infamous--Richard Nixon, who was born in California--and one famous--Ronald Reagan, a transplanted Californian originally from Illinois, but a California native son in every sense of the word. Both were Republicans.
Arguably the best book written about California is, "California: The Great Exception," by the late California historian, journalist and lawyer Carey McWilliams.