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Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK? With the savvy of foreign Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK? With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country's adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality-- all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the "Israel effect", there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there's never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.


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Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK? With the savvy of foreign Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK? With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country's adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality-- all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the "Israel effect", there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there's never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.

30 review for Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew K.

    Start-up Nation is a fun overview of a side of Israel you don't hear much about: the incredible success of its start-up companies, traced back to: 1. the multidisciplinary army training everyone gets at age 18, 2. a culture of embracing and learning from failure, 3. all those Jewish immigrants from places like Russia that show up with science and engineering degrees looking for something to do, and of course 4. Jewish chutzpah! The book also helped me understand better why high-tech, high-growth ent Start-up Nation is a fun overview of a side of Israel you don't hear much about: the incredible success of its start-up companies, traced back to: 1. the multidisciplinary army training everyone gets at age 18, 2. a culture of embracing and learning from failure, 3. all those Jewish immigrants from places like Russia that show up with science and engineering degrees looking for something to do, and of course 4. Jewish chutzpah! The book also helped me understand better why high-tech, high-growth entrepreneurship is as rare as it is; the required confluence of culture, higher education, experienced mentors, and venture finance is terribly hard to replicate (e.g., Dubai). A good business book for people who don't read business books, a good history for people bored by history, and a good Israel book for people who don't like Israel.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Imnot Anipod

    Being as generous as possible, this book should have been entitled "The Story of Israel's Start-Up Culture" rather than of its "Economic Miracle." Being honest, the title was misleading and this book was doomed to inadequacy from the start. The authors equivocate between an exploration of entrepreneurship and start-up culture, pro-Israel activism, Israeli military marketing and Israeli history and lore. All well and good, but as one unfamiliar with Israel's "economic miracle" I'm still not educa Being as generous as possible, this book should have been entitled "The Story of Israel's Start-Up Culture" rather than of its "Economic Miracle." Being honest, the title was misleading and this book was doomed to inadequacy from the start. The authors equivocate between an exploration of entrepreneurship and start-up culture, pro-Israel activism, Israeli military marketing and Israeli history and lore. All well and good, but as one unfamiliar with Israel's "economic miracle" I'm still not educated about or convinced of Israel's (holistic) economic gains and viability. This book read more like a "Why Israel Is So Great" manual than anything else. The authors seem to have selected a thesis, then found anecdotes to support it rather than observing a phenomenon and proffering a thesis in explanation. Not that there is anything wrong with a thesis-forward model, but that just wasn't the way I initially saw the book going. Furthermore, much of the "innovation" and "unique culture" they cite are truly not that special--Israelis innovate and improvise, but so do citizens of every state. Israel grew according to multiple growth/development indices, particularly for such a new state, but they didn't quite start from scratch--unlike former colonies or long-established states, Israel started with (generally) well-educated immigrants, "top notch universities were founded well before there even was a state" and a world that was well into the age of support and progress through technological innovation. What was also troubling was that the authors seem to have slipped in a few swipes at other nations, disguising them as comparative assessments. Ethiopian Jews are mentioned as an immigrant group 'rescued by white, Israeli benefactors', then described as "an enormous economic burden" and dismissed after being contrasted with immigrants from the former Soviet Union "who have been a boon to the Israeli economy." Arabs are taken to task for falling behind in so many areas of growth and development yet the authors acknowledge a weakness in Israel's non-tech sectors; Arab schools are described as being challenged by rote memorization and standardization, yet this is arguably also the American model (and the authors freely acknowledge America's primacy in numerous areas). And though "some...countries have grown faster for longer than Israel has and enjoy higher standards of living...none of them have produced anywhere near the number of start-ups or have attracted similarly high levels of venture capital investments"--hardly an economic miracle to me. Unfortunately, I couldn't shake the feeling that this book was a pro-Israel pitch, and the "miracle" described just seemed contrived.

  3. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnne

    Start Up Nation Quick, answer 3 questions for me. What country has the highest ratio of university degrees in its population? What country has the highest concentration of startups in the world? What country has more companies listed on NASDAQ than the entire European continent combined? If you answered "Israel" to any of these three questions…Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! You were right, on all three counts. In the new book, Start Up Nation, Dan Senor and Paul Singer explain how Israel, a tiny count Start Up Nation Quick, answer 3 questions for me. What country has the highest ratio of university degrees in its population? What country has the highest concentration of startups in the world? What country has more companies listed on NASDAQ than the entire European continent combined? If you answered "Israel" to any of these three questions…Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! You were right, on all three counts. In the new book, Start Up Nation, Dan Senor and Paul Singer explain how Israel, a tiny country the size of New Jersey with no natural resources, surrounded by hostile Anti-Semitic enemies, in a constant state of war is still able to produce more start-ups than any other country besides the U.S. The emergence of Israel’s high-tech sector put the small country’s economy on track. Specializing in computer hardware and software, medical technologies and pharmaceuticals, Israel’s technology sector became world renowned for it’s innovation: Flash drives, cardiac stents, camera-pills, instant messaging and shopping.com are only a few of Israeli-bred innovations that have emerged in the last few decades. So, how does this little powerhouse, admired and envied by so many around the world, do it against all of the odds? Persistence and Resilience: A very strong trait in Israeli culture behind the “startup nation’s” success is Israeli chutzpah. Chutzpah does not have an equivalent word in English, but it basically translates to “in your face, cheeky, boldness that borders on being rude”. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that derives from the Hebrew word ḥutspa. Israeli chutzpah is a necessity because Israel exists in a hotbed of Anti-Semitic Islamic and Arab theocracies that constantly threaten Israel’s annihilation. That chutzpah helps Israelis keep their strong resilience, and assures them that they are good people, they are smart people, they are honest people and they do the right thing even when everyone around them are not. That chutzpah will not let Israel’s enemies get her down. That chutzpah accounts for much of the Israel’s success against all odds. Compulsory Service in a Unique Military Another contributing factor is that Israel has a compulsory military service for all citizens over the age of 18, three years for men and two years for women. Innovation comes from having a unique perspective. Perspective comes from knowledge. Knowledge comes from a wide variety of experiences during a long life. In Israel, young people get experience, knowledge, perspective, and maturity at a much younger age, because the Israeli society jams so many transformative experiences into it’s people when they're barely out of high school. By the time they get to college, their heads are in a different place than their American counterparts. Much of this experience Israelis get comes from its compulsory military service, which not only provides early training in some very sophisticated technologies, it often entails very serious life-and-death situations that teach Israelis to think quickly on their feet and make tough decisions under extremely stressful conditions. The IDF also has a very unique, anti-hierarchical structure, which results in very few levels of middle and upper management. The result of this is, very young soldiers barely out of their teens serve on the front lines of battle with minimal guidance from superiors. The IDF places a very strong emphasis on soldiers taking personal responsibility. This leads to soldiers having to solve problems on their own on the front lines of battle, under incredible pressure, in very intense real world, life-and-death situations. As a result, IDF soldiers get a more mature perspective on life at a younger age than Americans do at the same age. One Israeli soldier explains it like this: "A company commander is in charge of a specific territory. If a terrorist infiltrates that area, there's a company commander whose name is on it. Tell me how many twenty-three-year-olds elsewhere in the world live with that kind of pressure... How many of their peers in their junior colleges have been tested in such a way? How do you train and mature a twenty-year-old to shoulder such responsibility?” IDF soldiers are also discouraged from being overly compliant and instead are taught to speak up and question authority if they have serious doubts about decisions made by senior officers. Yes, it’s that chutzpah, again, that contributes to a very unconventional system to challenge senior officers who are not working up to the IDF’s high standards. Quote from page 52: "I was in Israeli army units where we threw out the officers," Oren told us, "where people just got together and voted them out. I witnessed this twice personally. I actually liked the guy, but I was outvoted. They voted out a colonel." When we asked Oren in disbelief how this worked, he explained, "You go and say, 'We don't want you. You're not good.' I mean, everyone's on a first-name basis... You go to the person above him and say, 'That guy's got to go.'... It's much more performance-oriented than it is about rank. "The phrase 'It was not my fault' does not exist in the military culture”. There is also a cultural tolerance in Israel for what some call "constructive failure" or "intelligent failures." Most Israelis believe that without tolerating a large number of failures, it is impossible to achieve true innovation. In the IDF, there is a tendency to treat all performance, both successful and unsuccessful, both in training simulations and in live battle, as value-neutral. So long as the risk was taken intelligently, and not recklessly, even if the performance failed, there is something to be learned. Yosma Israel's economic miracle is due as much to immigration as to anything. Foreign-born citizens of Israel currently account for over one-third of Israel’s population. That is three times the ratio of immigrants to natives in the U.S.A. Israel is now home to more than 70 diverse nationalities and cultures. The success of the Venture Capital industry in Israel grew even stronger with the creation of a program they named Yozma (Hebrew for "initiative"). A group of young bureaucrats at Israel’s Ministry of Finance came up with the idea for a program where the Israeli government would invest money to create ten new venture capital funds Each fund had to be represented by three parties: Israeli venture capitalists in training, a foreign venture capital firm, and an Israeli investment company or bank. As a result of these efforts, Israel’s annual venture-capital rose nearly 60-fold, from $58 million to $3.3 billion, between 1991 and 2000. Venture capital was the match that ignited the fire. MashUps and Alacrity Mashups: There’s also a multitask mash-up mentality in Israel that produces an environment in which job titles and the compartmentalization mentality that goes along with them do not apply as much in Israel. Israelis will think nothing of working in fields that combine mathematics, biology, computer science, chemistry and other specialties. Everyone becomes a jack-of-all trades, thinking nothing of combining radically different technologies and disciplines. Alacrity: When an Israeli man wants to date a woman, he cheerfully asks her out that same night. He does not wait, mulling over his chances of rejection. When an Israeli entrepreneur has a business idea, he will start it that week. He does not wait mulling over his chances of failure. The notion that one should accumulate all of his credentials before launching a venture simply does not exist in Israeli culture. Too much time procrastinating can only teach you what can go wrong, not what could be transformative. Clusters of People with Strong Bonds Clusters in businesses are based on "geographic concentrations" of interconnected institutions (businesses, government agencies, and universities) in a specific field. Clusters are just communities of people who live and work and even raise families closely together so everyone is connected to each other in some way or another. This includes the same people who also serve together in the same military units fighting to defend their home turf against enemies who want to annihilate them for being Jewish, then go on to learn together at the same great universities, and go on to work at the same start-up companies, live in the same communities where they raise families where their children go to the same schools together, etc, etc... That same "social glue" that binds a cluster together also provides critical access to information and talented people in their fields. The cluster's sense of shared commitment and destiny on both a personal and professional level, like that of Israel and Silicon Valley, are not easy to create, but when it is created, it results in robust economic growth. Strongly Recommended It has been said that Israel is a country with no natural resources. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Israel's greatest resource accounts for much of it’s success, that resource is the ingenuity and resilience of the Israeli people.

  4. 4 out of 5

    E. H. Nathasia

    I absolutely love this book, it's just that, it's not as captivating as my first read; which is on Elon Musk, hence I give it a 4/5 rating. The book started out as merely a discussion between the two author that leads to twenty-eight Harvard Business School classmates going to Israel to explore its economy, politics and history. At the end of the week, everyone asked the same question, 'Where did all this innovation and entrepreneurship come from?' Despite being a target of suicide bombers and s I absolutely love this book, it's just that, it's not as captivating as my first read; which is on Elon Musk, hence I give it a 4/5 rating. The book started out as merely a discussion between the two author that leads to twenty-eight Harvard Business School classmates going to Israel to explore its economy, politics and history. At the end of the week, everyone asked the same question, 'Where did all this innovation and entrepreneurship come from?' Despite being a target of suicide bombers and scud missiles, Israel's filled with dotcoms, biotechs and mobile companies, attracting venture capital, the lifeblood of start-up companies. Its economy was barely touched by the global financial crisis. Among interesting explanation for Israel's success might be called the chutzpah thesis, the belief that Israelis rejects conventional, hierarchical values, overcome setbacks and failures, and embrace adversity. We can learn a lot of things from Israel, I wish everyone would read this book and together we can change our country!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Slim

    This book is a must read for everyone in the arab world especially politicians and leaders , it explains this huge gulf between "Israel" and the Arab world

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan Rice

    If a book discussion is upcoming I'll do my homework and read a book I'd otherwise never pick up, and that's a good thing. I had a negative impression from this title. I thought it would consist of boosterism and a defensive enumeration of accomplishments as justification for Israel's existence, but, thankfully it was not that. It was an exploration of why entrepreneurialism, particularly of the hi tech variety, is working so well there, and how to overcome obstacles to that elsewhere. One aspec If a book discussion is upcoming I'll do my homework and read a book I'd otherwise never pick up, and that's a good thing. I had a negative impression from this title. I thought it would consist of boosterism and a defensive enumeration of accomplishments as justification for Israel's existence, but, thankfully it was not that. It was an exploration of why entrepreneurialism, particularly of the hi tech variety, is working so well there, and how to overcome obstacles to that elsewhere. One aspect of the success is chutzpah and brashness in the context of informality and de-emphasis of hierarchy. Everybody speaks up and challenges management, and everybody takes responsibility. People take risks. Failure is tolerated--if the party learns from it. Defensiveness is not tolerated. Since about everybody goes into the military at a young age, they also take responsibility at a young age and then transfer that approach to the civilian context. Multitasking and multi-talents are encouraged. The emphasis, then, is on a true meritocracy, with necessity posed by the various problems the mother of invention. In that vein, the hostility of neighbors and others apparently has itself led to hi tech products, travel, and new markets. Given the status of the country, Israelis have a deeper purpose beyond simple financial success, much like America during the period we were having to respond to the Sputnik challenge. It made me a little sad for our country, where I don't think I see so much inspiration at a young age to take responsibility for our direction or even belief that it's theirs to take--and I mean action, not protest--but rather, discouragement, risk-aversion, and anomie. Something else that made me sad for America: the separation between the civilian world of enterprise and work and the volunteer military, so that, unlike in Israel, the upper classes look down on the military, increasingly staffed by the lower classes who are responsible for society's safety and security. Predictably some reviews lauded the book, while negative reviews looking down their respective noses at Israeli "propaganda," more or less reducing the book to a deflection from the occupation, injustice, etc.--but, then, that's spin, too, that eliminates everything positive that doesn't fit the requisite narrative. So this book is an occasion to stop the negative propaganda. This book also doesn't deal with income inequality or prejudicial treatment of those who don't serve in the military, but, on the other hand, those issues get plenty of treatment elsewhere. This just isn't that book. There are a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads--including reviews from people in Arab countries wanting to emulate the success. The book aims to make the secret of success an open one, to the extent it can be emulated. Make enterprise, not war!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Rosner

    An inspiring, terrific book. Israel is a tiny nation of seven million people with few natural resources, surrounded by countries eager for its destruction. Yet Israel has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States. How has it developed into a high-tech tiger in the face of such adversity? In this brief but lively account, authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer explain how Israel has made a habit of turning disadvantages into advantages through continual innovation An inspiring, terrific book. Israel is a tiny nation of seven million people with few natural resources, surrounded by countries eager for its destruction. Yet Israel has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States. How has it developed into a high-tech tiger in the face of such adversity? In this brief but lively account, authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer explain how Israel has made a habit of turning disadvantages into advantages through continual innovation and adaptation. There are several possible explanations, including the positive influence of the Israeli military, but it's a lot more than that: "It is a story not just of talent but of tenacity, of insatiable questioning of authority, of determined informality, combined with a unique attitude toward failure, teamwork, mission, risk, and cross-disciplinary creativity." Ultimately, this book is about more than Israel's success in the world of venture capital; it's about a nation that succeeds due to the greatest natural resource of all; its people. Considering the lack of cultural self-confidence and the economic malaise pervading the majority of liberal democracies these days, it might be time to take a page out of the Israeli playbook.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ngân Anh

    I've been completely ignorant until I got recommended to read this book by a trusted friend. Some facts in this book are just totally astonishing! Actually I've completed reading 3 or 4 days ago but this will have to be revised again and again. Just feel the urge to review xD

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chi Pham

    Even though I finshed this book like 3 days ago, I still have a lot of lingering feelings about it, to the point that I decide to write them all out. This book is about Israel, but somehow it is not about Israel. This is actually a nostalgic book about what the author thinks early America stands for: a nation of immigrants, a nation of self-discipline, no strong central authority, the dream of getting rich, the dream of being equal, the place to change the world, etc. The author portrays Israel a Even though I finshed this book like 3 days ago, I still have a lot of lingering feelings about it, to the point that I decide to write them all out. This book is about Israel, but somehow it is not about Israel. This is actually a nostalgic book about what the author thinks early America stands for: a nation of immigrants, a nation of self-discipline, no strong central authority, the dream of getting rich, the dream of being equal, the place to change the world, etc. The author portrays Israel as somehow the central place to the narrative of a new American dream - a piece of fantasy that Americans themselves seem to have lost over years of experimenting with history. But it is a fantasy nevertheless, and to have that fantasy prescribed over the economic miracle of Israel is somehow problematic. For that reason, I feel a little troubled reading this book. I hope that I am not the only one who feels that way.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Fahad Naeem

    This book is a clear praising-to-the-heaven type. From the start to the end, you will find Dan Senor being deeply in love with the Israeli nation that it looks like a biased book. The author presents that Israeli IDF in specific and military in general is the main reason behind the entrepreneur-culture in Israel. It's policy of absorbing immigrants and support for the start-ups making it a country based on economic-research. The bad thing was that Dan consistently glorified IDF as he were its spok This book is a clear praising-to-the-heaven type. From the start to the end, you will find Dan Senor being deeply in love with the Israeli nation that it looks like a biased book. The author presents that Israeli IDF in specific and military in general is the main reason behind the entrepreneur-culture in Israel. It's policy of absorbing immigrants and support for the start-ups making it a country based on economic-research. The bad thing was that Dan consistently glorified IDF as he were its spokesperson. This book is good from the learning point for those who're interested in entrepreneurship and business.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ariunbold D.

    Go far, stay long, see deep.

  12. 5 out of 5

    K

    A shot in the arm for a proud zionist, "Start-up Nation" asks the following question: "How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources -- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, India, Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom?" To answer this question, the authors offer a web of anecdotes illustrating the following themes: 1. Cu A shot in the arm for a proud zionist, "Start-up Nation" asks the following question: "How is it that Israel -- a country of 7.1 million people, only sixty years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources -- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, India, Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom?" To answer this question, the authors offer a web of anecdotes illustrating the following themes: 1. Culturally, Israelis are a persistent people. While socially this often manifests as perceived rudeness, in the business world this is an asset. 2. Israel's mandatory army experience is conducive to developing maturity, responsibility, initiative, networking, and a wide range of job skills. 3. Israelis tend to innovate rather than remaining set in their ways, even after success. 4. Israel welcomes immigration, and Israel's new immigrants are a boon to the economy. 5. Israeli workers respond to outside attacks and other adversity with efforts to work harder and prove themselves. For example, when France abruptly stopped supplying Israel with arms, Israel began developing the technology to create their own. 6. The Israeli government has created programs to offer venture capital to start-ups. 7. Israel has a "multitask mentality" which results in flexible thinking and creative solutions. 8. Overall, Israel has a unique combination of a strong educational system, encouragement and funding for research and development, culturally reinforced aggressiveness as well as a team orientation, and an integral sense of "being small and aiming big." Though I appreciated the book's reinforcement of my pride in Israel, I probably didn't enjoy the book as much as I would have if I were more of a business-minded reader. The anecdotes occasionally felt repetitive and started to blur into one another after a while. With that said, it's still a great feeling to finish a book thinking, "Go Israel!"

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    Dan Senor and Saul Singer's Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle is well researched and a fascinating read. The book is divided into four main parts: * The Little Nation That Could * Seeding a Culture of Innovation * Beginnings * Country with a Motive In The Little Nation That Could we learn PayPal's Scott Thompson's first impressions of a young Shvat Shaked, whose young company, Fraud Sciences, developed the most up-to-date solution to the problem of online payment scams, cred Dan Senor and Saul Singer's Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle is well researched and a fascinating read. The book is divided into four main parts: * The Little Nation That Could * Seeding a Culture of Innovation * Beginnings * Country with a Motive In The Little Nation That Could we learn PayPal's Scott Thompson's first impressions of a young Shvat Shaked, whose young company, Fraud Sciences, developed the most up-to-date solution to the problem of online payment scams, credit card fraud, and electronic identity theft. As we read about Fraud Sciences, its founders Shvat Shaked and Saar Wilf, their approach to problem solving and the impressions of the top executives of PayPal, Ebay and Benchmark Capital, it becomes clear that the story of technological innovations and start-up ventures in Israel is deep and unique. I was struck by story after story that traced technological and scientific innovations to Israeli dedication, chutzpah, a culture of debate/argument and the lack of a hierarchy. One of the earliest investors in Israel was Intel, and the company credits its Israeli team with the "right turn" in thinking that led to innovations in Intel's microprocessor and the development of its Core 2 Duo chips. In Seeding A Culture of Innovation Senor and Singer suggest that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and its elite branches have helped to develop leadership, skills, and social networks: "While it's difficult to get into the top Israeli universities, the nation's equivalent of Yale, Harvard, and Princeton are the IDF's elite units. The unit in which an applicant served tells prospective employers what kind of selection process he or she navigated, what skills and relevant experience he or she may already possess." Senor and Singer describe the elite and intensive Talpiot program - its development, what it entails, its strengths, and the accomplishments of its graduates. The relative openness, importance placed on devolving authority and giving greater responsibility to lower ranks has played a significant role in developing effective and confident leaders; this has benefited Israel as a nation and as a leader in technology. I found Seeding A Culture of Innovation fascinating. The comparisons that Senor and Singer make between the nation states of Israel and Singapore and the IDF and the US military were particularly insightful. Beginnings covers the history of Israel's economy and the effects of government policies. The chapter is full of inspiring and impressive successes. There are examples of "the Israeli's penchant for taking problems-like the lack of water-and turning them into assets the fields of desert agriculture, drip irrigation, and desalination." Senor and Singer write about (1) Simcha Blass and his development of drip irrigation and the creation of Netafim, the global drip irrigation company and (2) about Kibbutz Mashabbe Sade in the Negev Desert where a salt water well was used for farming warm water fish like tilapia and sea bass. In Beginnings Senor and Singer also discuss how factors like the waves of immigration, particularly skilled immigrants from the former USSR, have contributed to Israel's continued growth and development. Similarly the Jewish diaspora and "brain circulation" have played significant roles in enabling Israel and its industries to develop and flourish. While countries like my homeland suffer from the "brain drain," Senor and Singer describe brain circulation as "the phenomenon when talented people leave, settle down abroad, and then return to their home country and yet are not fully 'lost" to either place." Through example after example, Senor and Singer demonstrate how Israel has benefited from a deep diaspora network. The stories in Start-Up Nation demonstrate a determination, tenacity and dedication that is impressive and inspiring. In the chapter The Buffett Effect, Senor and Singer share how investors like Warren Buffett have chosen to invest in Israel regardless of the violence in Israel and the many risks. Senor and Singer suggest that Warren Buffett does not discount the catastrophic risk in Israel but that Buffett does not consider the factory or the R&D facilities to be the value of his company's investment in Israel. Instead, Senor and Singer write that when Buffett bought into the company Iscar, Buffett considered the talent of the employees and management, the international base of customers and the brand to be Iscar's value. Even with the factories destroyed, Iscar, Warren Buffett's investment, would not suffer catastrophic risk. The final section of Start-Up Nation, Country with a Motive, describes the start of Israel's defense industry, how in the medical devices and biotech sectors companies have been successful creating innovative "mashups" and "economic clusters." The concept of a cluster was developed by Michael Porter and is understood to mean "a unique model for economic development because it's based on 'geographic concentrations' of interconnected institutions - businesses, governmental agencies, universities-in a specific field." We're familiar with these economic clusters: the financial cluster in Wall Street and the biotech cluster in Boston. Citing Michael Porter, Senor and Singer emphasize the benefit that comes from "the intense concentration of people working in and talking about the same industry provides companies with better access to employees, suppliers, and specialized information. A cluster does not exist only in the workplace; it is a part of the fabric of daily life, involving interaction among peers at the local coffee shop, when picking kids up from school, and at church. Community connections become industry connections and vice versa." Israel has been successful in creating technology, biotech and medical device clusters. The development of these clusters is in sharp contrast with the absence of similar organic or self-sustaining clusters in Dubai despite the massive investments in money and talent of Dubai, Inc. In Start-Up Nation, Dan Senor and Saul Singer give us a well researched and fascinating insight into Israel's economic miracle. It should be recommended reading for students, teachers, and implementers of public policy and economic policy. ISBN-10: 044654146X - hardcover $26.99 Publisher: Twelve (November 4, 2009), 320 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex Timberman

    Israel with just a little over 7 million people is able to create more hi-tech startups than any country in the world besides the United States. This book explores the reasons for Israel’s success. The authors pointed at several reasons with good case studies. One reason is that Israel has a conscription military service. All men enter the military and learn skills that spill over into their civilian lives. To enter into a highly trained unit in the Israel Defense Forces is like entering into Ha Israel with just a little over 7 million people is able to create more hi-tech startups than any country in the world besides the United States. This book explores the reasons for Israel’s success. The authors pointed at several reasons with good case studies. One reason is that Israel has a conscription military service. All men enter the military and learn skills that spill over into their civilian lives. To enter into a highly trained unit in the Israel Defense Forces is like entering into Harvard or Yale. If you enter, it is a badge of honor. They will train you and spend a lot of resources to make sure you know the latest technology. For them, this training and actual service is critical to Israel’s existence. This military system in effect helps train Israelis beyond what most college students get around the world. Another reason is that Israel is always under attack. Because of the tough situation, they have to innovate to survive. Without resources and trade blockages, Israel had no choice but to develop their own technologies and industries to survive. This is similar to Korea and Japan where the biggest resource available is of the human variety. This constant chaotic environment in which the enemy surrounds it has led to the development of technologies in defense, IT, and biotechnology. There are few other available paths for Israel to be able to compete with its neighbors. Finally, Jewish culture or Chutzpah was attributed as being a key determinant in Israel’s success. Everyone is brazen. Even in the military, hierarchy is not that important. What’s important is that the best ideas get credit. Supposedly, even students behave in this way with teachers from the time they were children. Israelis are raised to always question authority or assumptions and assert themselves whenever possible. This is in total contrast to Confucian culture and according to the authors, the distinguishing factor between say Israel and Singapore or Korea. These are the three factors that charge Israel’s hi-tech economy. Michael Porter’s cluster theory based on industry, government, and universities is used to show the structure of Israel’s economy but Israel is unique from other clusters around the world because of Israel’s military, geo-political circumstances, and culture. Three dynamics that would be difficult for any other nation to emulate, thus giving Israel a strategic upper hand. Is the book persuasive? There has to be some cause for the disproportionate amount of start-ups that Israel has and definitely the author’s arguments helps explain why other nations have failed to produce as many start-ups despite similar goals and policies. But Israel’s model might not be the one and only best as Korea and Singapore have other attributes that make them competitive: large dominating electronic firms, and a service oriented economy that has one of the highest GDP per capita rates in the world, respectively. Israel and its diaspora are clear and great examples of business success. If you are unfamiliar with some of the reasons that go beyond stereotypes, I recommend this book to you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    As an Israeli, I've never read a book that boosted my national self esteem like this. So it's 4:54AM and I couldn't sleep, which made me read this book (no offense). It's a very readable book, despite the dry subject matter, it works. That's no easy feat. This book made me feel guilty for my choices in the army. I'm not going to leave with this network, I picked artistic over elite and I sometimes wonder if I'll regret that in the future. Nonetheless, I feel this book didn't show Israel the way As an Israeli, I've never read a book that boosted my national self esteem like this. So it's 4:54AM and I couldn't sleep, which made me read this book (no offense). It's a very readable book, despite the dry subject matter, it works. That's no easy feat. This book made me feel guilty for my choices in the army. I'm not going to leave with this network, I picked artistic over elite and I sometimes wonder if I'll regret that in the future. Nonetheless, I feel this book didn't show Israel the way I see it. Sure yeah, chutzpah is a thing and the army definitely matures us (I'm doing 3 jobs instead of the one that I was trained for) but I hated how this book talks about Haredim, Ethiopians, and Israeli Arabs. There are so many social and culture programs that help these people and the numbers continue to look better. Don't talk about them so negatively. Additionally, I think the Israeli "I'm gonna do this my way" thing also leads to a difficulty to work together on things. Everyone thinks they're right, they think their way is right. Israelis are so stubborn and sometimes it's so hard to communicate. Ultimately, this book shows Israel very positively. In a world where people constantly belittle and criticize Israel, it's nice to read something so positive. I think it's also important for people to read, so maybe they'll get a better understanding of what the army actually looks like here. But, as an Israeli, I must struggle with the positive. What I'm taking with me: • I actually got to meet the guy from Intel and he pretty much said exactly what this book says. • I love that this book claims that Israel was created out of stubbornness and spite, that we brought to life an ancient civilization because "davka". • Shimon Peres ❤

  16. 5 out of 5

    Howard Olsen

    A great book about one of the under-told stories out of the Middle East: that of the economic development of Israel from a desert filled with refugees to a dynamic high tech economy. Senor and Singer analyze Israeli culture, society and institutions in their quest to find out why, for example, so much of Intel's recent growth has come from its Israeli division, or why it is that a nation of just 7 million has had more NASDAQ IPO's than any other, but the US. The authors look at such factors as t A great book about one of the under-told stories out of the Middle East: that of the economic development of Israel from a desert filled with refugees to a dynamic high tech economy. Senor and Singer analyze Israeli culture, society and institutions in their quest to find out why, for example, so much of Intel's recent growth has come from its Israeli division, or why it is that a nation of just 7 million has had more NASDAQ IPO's than any other, but the US. The authors look at such factors as the informality of Israeli society, the command structure of the IDF, the waves of immigration that have brought a steady supply of brilliant people who were shut out of their ant-semitic societies. Mostly though, it is Israel itself - an island of safety for the Jewish people - that is the decisive factor. Israelis learned to think outside the box as a matter of survival. The emblematic story: a kibbutz digging for water could only find warm salty water, so they shrugged their shoulders and began a salt-water fish farm. Inspiring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Deepthi

    "The greatest contribution of the Jewish people in history is dissatisfaction - that's poor for politics but good for science" - Peres Start-Up Nation is almost a lesson on the history of Israel. It does a great job tracing the culture of the country and helping understand how Israel is set up for success - specifically in the start-up & VC world. It also contrasts Israel with countries such as the UAE/Singapore/South Korea which have failed to replicate its start-up success in spite of sometimes "The greatest contribution of the Jewish people in history is dissatisfaction - that's poor for politics but good for science" - Peres Start-Up Nation is almost a lesson on the history of Israel. It does a great job tracing the culture of the country and helping understand how Israel is set up for success - specifically in the start-up & VC world. It also contrasts Israel with countries such as the UAE/Singapore/South Korea which have failed to replicate its start-up success in spite of sometimes having been in similar circumstances. Good read on the whole and it would now be interesting to see where Israel goes from here.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank Stein

    There are some basic facts about Israel's economy that should make any economist's ears perk up. Israel has more than twice as much venture capital investment per capita as the next most venture intensive country (the United States, which itself has twice as much as the following country, Ireland). Israel invests more in civilian research and development than any other country on earth, at 4.5% of GDP, more than a full percentage point higher than the following two countries (Japan and the US). There are some basic facts about Israel's economy that should make any economist's ears perk up. Israel has more than twice as much venture capital investment per capita as the next most venture intensive country (the United States, which itself has twice as much as the following country, Ireland). Israel invests more in civilian research and development than any other country on earth, at 4.5% of GDP, more than a full percentage point higher than the following two countries (Japan and the US). Israel has more companies on the NASDAQ than any other country besides the U.S. It produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation, has more top universities per capita than any other nation, and so on. All this in a tiny country of barely 7 million people, completely surrounded by hostile countries that refuse to trade or often even acknowledge Israel's existence. Clearly it is doing something right. This book tries to explain this economic success through anecdotes, which illustrate some Israeli cultural and institutional traits. Although the authors' arguments for these traits' connection to economic dynamism is not always convincing, they do provide a wonderful glimpse into the social milieu of a very distinctive country. One fact that the book hammers home is the importance of the Israeli experience in the military. Since just about every able-bodied adult is drafted on their graduation from high school, Israelis learn to take command from a very early age. And since their top universities all rank well, the real defining achievement of any young Israeli's life is getting into the a top military unit, such as the intelligence Unit 8200, or even better, Talpiot, the innovation squadron created after the 1973 war, which takes the cream of Israel's high schools and molds them for up to three more years before even serving. Surprisingly, however, these elite military programs don't create a hierarchical culture or military. This is partially because all former Israeli soldiers are forced to spend a month a year in training in the reserves, so people from all walks of life mingle in the army, often at different "ranks" than they would be in the civilian world. In the Israeli army, all officers are forced to do group debriefs almost every night after action, explaining how could have done better. Subordinates call officers by first name, argue with them, sometime even vote them out or complain to higher ups, and all of this is experienced as entirely routine. Even its leaders are designated by personal nicknames (for instance, Netanyahu is Bibi), because leaders are given much responsibility, but are not taken too seriously. This responsibility tied to iconoclasm helps give the country its start-up edge. Another advantage for Israel is its intense connection to the rest of the world. Due its small size, and diplomatic isolation in their immediate region, Israelis rank as some of the worlds top international travelers. This has helped them market companies like Netafim, the first drip irrigation company, started in 1965 in a kibbutz, which now supplies irrigation equipment to much of the developing world. The other side of this openness is that Israel welcomes more immigrants per capita than just about any other place on Earth. Notably, its immigration ministry, the Ministry of Immigration Absorption, mainly tries to attract immigrants, not keep them out (although admittedly it focuses on Jewish immigration). In 1950 it worked to airlift 50,000 Yemenite Jews into the country. From the 1940s, it provided oil drills and pipes to Romania in exchange for Jews, and after 1968, straight cash payments, about $2,000 per person rescued from Communism. In 1984 and 1992 it airlifted tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews into the country. After 1991, it absorbed hundreds of thousands of Soviet emigres. All of this gives Israel more connections to diverse areas, and provides serendipitous interactions between different cultures. The final surprising aspect of Israeli economic life is that the government was often a positive force in it. Yes, in the early years its socialist economic system sabotaged the country, and until reform in the mid-1980s (and again in 2003 under then Finance Minister Bibi), rampant inflation bedeviled the country. But in its early years, minister Shimon Peres encouraged the American pilot Al Schwimmer to fly decrepit World War II-era aircraft to Israel for its protection.,and then to reconstruct them into a aircraft industry. Surprisingly, it worked. In 1976 Israel and US started the BIRD Foundation to support joint national business ventures, and it loaned millions to successful companies. Starting in 1993, the Israeli government set up the Yozma venture capital fund to help create jobs for arriving post-Soviet Jews, but they explicitly allied with private investors and allowed them to keep most of the gains. Then the fund wound itself up, after creating 10 times the amount of value it invested. So when Israel did intervene directly in economic development, the small and nimble nature of the government meant it more often supported successful and growth oriented companies. Even if one is not convinced that these authors' explain everything about the Israeli economy, one does leave their book with a better insight, and appreciation, of the culture and life of Israel. One also can't help but wonder how we can try to replicate this same success elsewhere.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Herve

    I thought I knew a lot about Israel, but the book is rich in anecdotes. The history of Israel is well described and innovation was probably a necessity to survive. If there is a point I appreciated less is the importance the authors give to the military. They may be right, that’s not the point, but I thought the topic came too often in the chapters. This remains a great book and a must read for anyone interested in high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. I’d like now to quote a few things I li I thought I knew a lot about Israel, but the book is rich in anecdotes. The history of Israel is well described and innovation was probably a necessity to survive. If there is a point I appreciated less is the importance the authors give to the military. They may be right, that’s not the point, but I thought the topic came too often in the chapters. This remains a great book and a must read for anyone interested in high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. I’d like now to quote a few things I liked. It’s not structured at all, but I invite you to read the book! From the Introduction Google’s CEO and chairman, Eric Schmidt said that the United States is the number one place in the world for entrepreneurs, but “after the U.S., Israel is the best.” Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has called Microsoft “an Israeli company as much as an American company” because of the size and centrality of its Israeli teams.” The authors begin by explaining that adversity and multidimensionality as much as the talent of individuals, are critical: “it is a story not just of talent but of tenacity, of insatiable questioning of authority, of determined informality, combined with a unique attitude toward failure, teamwork, mission, risk, and cross-disciplinary creativity.” Chapter 1- Persistence The usual joke Americans need to put, but it is a good one! Four guys are standing on a street corner . . . an American, a Russian, a Chinese man, and an Israeli. . . . A reporter comes up to the group and says to them: “Excuse me. . . . What’s your opinion on the meat shortage?” The American says: What’s a shortage? The Russian says: What’s meat? The Chinese man says: What’s an opinion? The Israeli says: What’s “Excuse me”? —MIKE LEIGH, Two Thousand Years - No inhibition about challenging the logic behind the way things have been done for years. - A rude, aggressive culture which tolerates failure. - Israeli attitude and informality flow also from a cultural tolerance for what some Israelis call “constructive failures” or “intelligent failures.” - It is critical to distinguish between “a well-planned experiment and a roulette wheel (During the meeting with the chief scientist, there was a similar argument: “if we have a 5% success rate, we’d better give the responsability to donkeys to choose and if it is 70% success rate, we do not take enough risks”) - Amos Oz talks about “a culture of doubt and argument, an open-ended game of interpretations, counter-interpretations, reinterpretations, opposing interpretations. From the very beginning of the existence of the Jewish civilization, it was recognized by its argumentativeness.” Chapter 2- Lesson from the military - Narrow hierarchy and autonomy gives a lot of responsibility to individuals, authority is discussed - People are mature earlier. - No need to wait for order to act. - “The key for leadership is the soldiers’ confidence in their commander. If you don’t trust him, if you’re not confident in him, you can’t follow him.” - “If you aren’t even aware that the people in the organization disagree with you, then you are in trouble” - “Real experience also typically comes with age or maturity. But in Israel, you get experience, perspective, and maturity at a younger age, because the society jams so many transformative experiences into Israelis when they’re barely out of high school. By the time they get to college, their heads are in a different place than those of their American counterparts.”… “The notion that one should accumulate credentials before launching a venture simply does not exist.” A dense network - the whole country is one degree of separation (Yossi Vardi) Chapter 5- Order and chaos - Singapore’s leaders have failed to keep up in a world that puts a high premium on a trio of attributes historically alien to Singapore’s culture: initiative, risk-taking, and agility; in addition to being real experts who can improvise in situations of crisis. - Innovation is fundamentally an experimental endeavor (improvisation over discipline) - Learn from mistake with no fear of losing face. - Nobody learns from someone who is being self defensive - Fluidity, according to a new school of economists studying key ingredients for entrepreneurialism, is produced when people can cross boundaries, turn societal norms upside down, and agitate in a free-market economy, all to catalyze radical ideas. Chapter 7 - Immigration Immigrants are not averse to starting over. They are, by definition, risk takers. A nation of immigrants is a nation of entrepreneurs.—GIDI GRINSTEIN Sergey Brin spoke in an Israeli high school: “Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys,” he said in Russian, his choice of language prompting spontaneous applause. “I emigrated from Russia when I was six,” Brin continued. “I went to the United States. Similar to you, I have standard Russian-Jewish parents. My dad is a math professor. They have a certain attitude about studies. And I think I can relate that here, because I was told that your school recently got seven out of the top ten places in a math competition throughout all Israel.” This time the students clapped for their own achievement. “But what I have to say,” Brin continued, cutting through the applause, “is what my father would say—‘What about the other three? The authors mention the seminal work of AnnaLee Saxenian (Regional advantage, the New Argonauts). As a few examples of Israel tech. diaspora mentioned in the book: - Dov Frohman - Intel – 1974 – Wikipedia link. Apparently Israel has been the core of Intel innovation in the past decade and Intel is the largest private employer in Israel. - Michael Laor – Cisco – 1997 – Linkedin profile. Cisco has acquired 9 israeli start-ups since Laor came back (more acquisitions than in any other country except the USA) - Yoelle Maarek - Google – http://yoelle.com now at Yahoo! But one should not forget Mirabilis/ICQ (see below) or Check Point. Check Point was established in 1993, by the company’s current Chairman & CEO Gil Shwed, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil_Shwed at the age of 25, together with two of his friends, Marius Nacht (currently serving as Vice Chairman) and Shlomo Kramer (who left Check Point in 2003 to set up a new company). Chapter 9 – Yozma Another member of the tech. diaspora: Orna Berry – PhD USC – Unisys-IBM then Ornet and Gemini then OCS chief… The VC industry was really launched through the Yozma effort as well as Israeli incubators. Gemini was the first Israel fund. See the wikipedia article about venture capital in Israel. Another quote on start-ups vs. more mature industries: “In aerospace, you can’t be an entrepreneur,” he explained. “The government owns the industry, and the projects are huge. But I learned a lot of technical things there that helped me immensely later on.” Chapter 12 - Transdisciplinarity “There’s a multitask mentality here.” The multitasking mentality produces an environment in which job titles—and the compartmentalization that goes along with them—don’t mean much. - “Combining mathematics, biology, computer science, and organic chemistry at Compugen” - “Putting this together required an unorthodox combination of engineering skills.” The term in the United States for this kind of crossover is a mashup. And the term itself has been rapidly morphing and acquiring new meanings. … An even more powerful mashup, in our view, is when innovation is born from the combination of radically different technologies and disciplines. The companies where mashups are most common in Israel are in the medical-device and biotech sectors, where you find wind tunnel engineers and doctors collaborating on a credit card–sized device. But the authors do not forget to mention that Israel is A country with a motive Role models Though Israel was already well into its high-tech swing by then, the ICQ sale was a national phenomenon. It inspired many more Israelis to become entrepreneurs. The founders, after all, were a group of young hippies. Exhibiting the common Israeli response to all forms of success, many figured, If these guys did it, I can do it better. Further, the sale was a source of national pride, like winning a gold medal in the world’s technology Olympics. “There’s a legitimate way to make a profit because you’re inventing something,” says Erel Margalit “You talk about a way of life—not necessarily about how much money you’re going to make, though it’s obviously also about that.” “Indeed, what makes the current Israeli blend so powerful is that it is a mashup of the founders’ patriotism, drive, and constant consciousness of scarcity and adversity and the curiosity and restlessness that have deep roots in Israeli and Jewish history. “The greatest contribution of the Jewish people in history is dissatisfaction,” Peres explained. Again “Not just talent, but tenacity, insatiable questioning of authority, determined informality, unique attitude toward failure, teamwork, mission, risk and cross-disciplinary creativity.” As a conclusion “So what is the answer to the central question of this book: What makes Israel so innovative and entrepreneurial? The most obvious explanation lies in a classic cluster of the type Harvard professor Michael Porter has championed, Silicon Valley embodies. It consists of the tight proximity of great universities, large companies, start-ups, and the ecosystem that connects them—including everything from suppliers, an engineering talent pool, and venture capital. Part of this more visible part of the cluster is the role of the military in pumping R&D funds into cutting-edge systems and elite technological units, and the spillover from this substantial investment, both in technologies and human resources, into the civilian economy. … But this outside layer does not fully explain Israel’s success. Singapore has a strong educational system. Korea has conscription and has been facing a massive security threat for its entire existence. Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland are relatively small countries with advanced technology and excellent infrastructure; they have produced lots of patents and reaped robust economic growth. Some of these countries have grown faster for longer than Israel has and enjoy higher standards of living, but none of them have produced anywhere near the number of start-ups or have attracted similarly high levels of venture capital investments. What’s missing in these other countries is a cultural core built on a rich stew of aggressiveness and team orientation, on isolation and connectedness, and on being small and aiming big. Quantifying that hidden, cultural part of an economy is no easy feat. An unusual combination of cultural attributes. In fact, Israel scores high on egalitarianism, nurturing, and individualism. In Israel, the seemingly contradictory attributes of being both driven and “flat,” both ambitious and collectivist make sense when you throw in the experience that so many Israelis go through in the military. There is no leadership without personal example and without inspiring your team. The secret, then, of Israel’s success is the combination of classic elements of technology clusters with some unique Israeli elements that enhance the skills and experience of individuals, make them work together more effectively as teams, and provide tight and readily available connections within an established and growing community. If you have arrived here, you were interested enough in this long article. Logically, your next move would be to buy Start-Up Nation!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vasken

    I just regret reading it during and after my visit in Israel. If I had read the book before, my questions at the Accelerators, VC Funds and Startups we met, would have been way better.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a great book. Any of the other reviews will tell you why that is so. I enjoyed reading this book and do not regret it. The goal of this review is to tell you why you may NOT want to read this book. This book touts Israel's success a bit too much. You definitely get the impression that the author is trying to SELL you on Israel. This is a bit disconcerting. It comes across as a book by Jewish authors who love Israel and may not be as critical as they should be. This does not take away from This is a great book. Any of the other reviews will tell you why that is so. I enjoyed reading this book and do not regret it. The goal of this review is to tell you why you may NOT want to read this book. This book touts Israel's success a bit too much. You definitely get the impression that the author is trying to SELL you on Israel. This is a bit disconcerting. It comes across as a book by Jewish authors who love Israel and may not be as critical as they should be. This does not take away from any of the grand lessons but I did find it problematic. Towards the end of the book, the author asks how can other countries replicate this. This is something that I was interested in. Instead of explaining, he sidesteps the issue and says that you don't need to; you can just invest in Israel. While this is great for companies, this does not work for countries. The book does not cite as much statistics/data as I would like. This is not a big criticism but more a matter of style. Some books, in an attempt to be accessible to more people, brush over the numbers. That's the impression that I got from this book. There are statistics showing Israel's impressive accomplishments, but the links that the author is trying to make between Israel's military, interconnectedness and other factors are not as supported. In short, the results are there, Israel's draft and other factors are obvious but the causal link is not proven rigorously. Overall a great book. I enjoy reading about different countries' "economic miracles". However, there was a bit too much boosterism and Israel-loving for my tastes. Still worth the read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Undrakh

    “As a poor people coming home to a poor land, we had to discover the riches of scarcity.” There is much to learn from Israelis, not just their technological advancement and the tenacity of its entrepreneurs despite the ongoing national security problems, but also the collective power and unity which seems absolutely necessary for a young nation. As the authors mentioned, of course, there are threats to this robust growth, and the stories have probably omitted the struggles of daily lives of Israe “As a poor people coming home to a poor land, we had to discover the riches of scarcity.” There is much to learn from Israelis, not just their technological advancement and the tenacity of its entrepreneurs despite the ongoing national security problems, but also the collective power and unity which seems absolutely necessary for a young nation. As the authors mentioned, of course, there are threats to this robust growth, and the stories have probably omitted the struggles of daily lives of Israelis. Even so, this was a very inspiring first look at the development of a country I had very little knowledge about and I certainly want to read more about the ingenuity of the People of the Book. “All countries have problems and constraints, he told us, but what’s striking about Israel is the penchant for taking problems—like the lack of water—and turning them into assets—in this case, by becoming leaders in the fields of desert agriculture, drip irrigation, and desalination.” “The military gets you at a young age and teaches you that when you are in charge of something, you are responsible for everything that happens… and everything that does not happen,” “You would sit around with a bunch of Israeli generals, and we all wanted coffee. Whoever was closest to the coffee pot would go make it. It didn’t matter who—it was common for generals to be serving coffee to their soldiers or vice versa.” “So long as the risk was taken intelligently, and not recklessly, there is something to be learned.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Priya

    The book gives very good insights into the Israeli way of living, the traits of people there, what makes them the way they are, the military structure and of course the entrepreneur culture so ingrained into the blood and soul of the Israelis. Their ‘hierarchy-does-not-matter’ kind of organizational structure across the nation where a junior person can fearlessly question the authority of the senior-most is quite admirable. The mandatory military training and the subsequent service in the reserv The book gives very good insights into the Israeli way of living, the traits of people there, what makes them the way they are, the military structure and of course the entrepreneur culture so ingrained into the blood and soul of the Israelis. Their ‘hierarchy-does-not-matter’ kind of organizational structure across the nation where a junior person can fearlessly question the authority of the senior-most is quite admirable. The mandatory military training and the subsequent service in the reserves has been well-underscored in their role in the shaping up of the Israeli start-up culture. The spirit of Israel is absolutely amazing. Some of the events and the way Israelis responded to various threats and attacks left me awe-struck. This is one nation that everyone has something or the other to learn from. A small ‘insignificant’ country surrounded by warring enemies, and perennially under a threat of attack is able to not only preserve its sanctity but also reach extraordinary levels in other areas. Perhaps that is why they are able to do it. Necessity is the mother of invention and the imminent threat of danger has made the Israelis aggressive enough to take high risks.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Apoorv Purwar

    Start-up nation explains how 'Necessity is the mother of all inventions' and 'Adversity brings the best out of an Individual/Group' with Israel as the living example of it. It tells the story a country which is primarily made up of immigrants and is nothing more than a small desert land surrounded by hostile neighbors, rose above all the odds to emerge as one of the most technologically advanced nation of the world, with innovation at its core. This books tells the story of what makes Israel and Start-up nation explains how 'Necessity is the mother of all inventions' and 'Adversity brings the best out of an Individual/Group' with Israel as the living example of it. It tells the story a country which is primarily made up of immigrants and is nothing more than a small desert land surrounded by hostile neighbors, rose above all the odds to emerge as one of the most technologically advanced nation of the world, with innovation at its core. This books tells the story of what makes Israel and Israeli people one of the most innovative, productive and committed bunch even when they practically live in a war zone. Though it might not be possible to replicate this culture which Israel has developed and imbibed in its people, by other nations, but all the companies/organizations should definitely learn from how Israel functions and try to accommodate the things relevant to them, to better themselves. Also there is a lot which an individual can learn from Israel and its people on a personal level which would help in the development of self.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alvaro Berrios

    A very well written book regarding a topic I was completely ignorant of prior to reading it. I found the story fascinating and the authors do a great job of covering all the bases, from the 1940s all the way to present day. The culture, the geopolitics, the military and the lack of natural resources all lead a trail and explain why Israel has such an innovative and successful economy. In addition to discussing Israel's success in the tech sector, I thought the authors did well to cover the risks A very well written book regarding a topic I was completely ignorant of prior to reading it. I found the story fascinating and the authors do a great job of covering all the bases, from the 1940s all the way to present day. The culture, the geopolitics, the military and the lack of natural resources all lead a trail and explain why Israel has such an innovative and successful economy. In addition to discussing Israel's success in the tech sector, I thought the authors did well to cover the risks in this reliance (as opposed to just glorifying it). I think anyone who is interested in business, economics, history or politics would find this book interesting. Highly recommend it!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thai Son

    Good narrative, fascinating material, very readable. No need for background in anything. Some "retainers": Small is beautiful. Confirmation of some ideas in Antifragile. Chutzpah and risk-taking. Tech industries. Military background. Dynamic culture. Ben Gurion, Simon Peres, Al Schwimmer.- Overall a nice book to start the year!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Said AlMaskery

    I thought this would be a book full of real insight on the economic development of the Zionist state. instead what I found was a marketing propaganda trying to convince the reader that Israelis are smarter than others ... this itself was not even convincing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nikunj

    I must say I am really impressed by the spirit of Israel. As a country they have overtaken the USA as the leader in innovation, entrepreneurship, start-up`s etc. Surely Israel is the next big thing. A well written book. I must say I am really impressed by the spirit of Israel. As a country they have overtaken the USA as the leader in innovation, entrepreneurship, start-up`s etc. Surely Israel is the next big thing. A well written book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zöe Yü

    Nation. Technology should be neutral.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Roopesh Kohad

    A good giving insights of how Israelis think and operate and how they make a virtue of scarcity. Always curious about this race, now better understand them. Hope to visit this promised land sometime.

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