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Hardcover Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle Book

ISBN: 044654146X

ISBN13: 9780446541466

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

What the world can learn from Israel's meteoric economic success.
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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A very good book on industrail policy

Even though I am very far from being an Israeli fan, I sincerely enjoyed this book. OK, it is too much Israeli marketing & PR, but what can you say: it is legitimate. Despite the fact that I was intimidated until almost page 100 by authors' delving too much into the "goodness" of Israeli armed forces, and almost glorifying the neighbour-bashing Israeli army and air forces, I still kept reading the book which, in the end, turned out to be a very fruitful endeavour. This is a good book. It provides a very nice vision for those who are interested in economic development, industrial policy and especially innovation/entrepreneurship policy. There are invaluable hints regarding those topics, however much they are hidden in between the lines. Nevertheless, as I said, the tips are invaluable and very teaching. The main question I had in mind while reading the book was whether I could take home some of the experiences and lessons described in the book. Some definitely cannot be imported. They are those idiosyncratic things which are very much Israeli and Jewish-specific: - For example the role of Jewish diaspora and the resultant "connectedness" that came with it, - the geographical positioning of Israel, the 'culture' of Israeli jews, - war-related chance-based motivations, - reverse Jewish brain-drain en masse and - the never ending US-support of Israel (though, in the book, you hardly trace any mention of this tremendously important fact, which I believe, is a major bias of the book). There are, however, many other factors that you can take home regarding innovation and industrial policy, like: - The importance of talent & human resources, - critical roles of cross-training, of - venture capital financing, - multidisciplinary approach to business problems, - proximity of the elements of an ecosystem, - of sense of community membership for the success of business clusters, and - culture of risk-taking, failure-welcoming and 'chutzpah'. - Also very important is the book's verification of the positive and critical role of government intervention in a country's entrepreneurial push and economic development. Those are very valuable aspects of the book. Moreover, the book is also very enlightening for those people like me who have very little knowledge about Israel and never interested in learning about that country's inner workings. Because, while you read with a focus to find clues regarding innovation and entrepreneurial policy, you learn the history, predicaments and some aspects of the inner workings of Israel's economic system. This, I personally found very interesting; kind of buy one, get one free. In a nutshell, even though this is a deliberate 'marketing' effort for Israel, it is still a very valuable book for those interested in industrial, entrepreneurial and innovation policy. It is, however, not at all a guide for company-specific innovation policies and certainly NOT a business-related book.

Spectacular insights into building an entrepreneurial society

As a serial entrepreneur, VC and angel investor, and teacher of entrepreneurship for many years, I am enthralled by "Startup Nation". It is a fascinating story of how Israel has succeeded disproportionately to its size and certainly to its geographic situation. It teaches valuable and unique lessons about region building and industry building. The principles of the country that stimulate individual entrepreneurial behavior in the military, in agriculture, and especially in high technology are lessons for all. I have shared the book with several leaders of industry and finance who have seen it as a remarkably interesting read. Congratulations to the authors. Edward Roberts Professor of Management of Technology, MIT Sloan School of Management Founder and Chair, MIT Entrepreneurship Center

Where did all of Israel's innovation and entrepreneurship come from?

In 2001, what started as a long discussion between Dan Senor, adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial editor at the Jerusalem Post, morphed into an excellent book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. Senor had led a group of twenty-eight Harvard Business School classmates to Israel to explore Israel's economy, politics, and history. It was a time when there was considerable business opportunity in Israel but also, it was when the peace process collapsed and there was escalating insecurity. At the end of one week, many of the participants were asking, where did all of Israel's innovation and entrepreneurship come from? Senor and Singer didn't have an answer and furthermore when they tried to find some book explaining what made Israel's start-up scene so vibrant and seemingly impervious to the security situation, they came up empty-handed. Thus, they decided to write their own book that would try to answer what makes Israel so innovative and entrepreneurial? Part of the answer to this amazing phenomenon, and as pointed out and exemplified in the book, is Israel's tight proximity of great institutions of higher learning, large companies, start-ups, and the ecosystem that connects them. The latter includes everything from suppliers, a fantastic pool of well-qualified engineers, and venture capital. In addition, and one very important element, is the important role of the military in molding future business leaders and innovators. It is the IDF that fosters a culture of chutzpah and critical, independent thinking that distinguishes the Israeli entrepreneur from their competitors. It is also the IDF's R & D funds that is pumped into the most sophisticated military hardware and software that eventually finds its way into the civilian economy, both in technologies and human resources. Other factors include Israel's isolation or as one of its business leaders, Shai Agassi stated, by isolating Israel, its adversaries had actually created the perfect laboratory to test ideas. And when you look at the patents registered by Israel from 1980 to 2000 which numbered 7, 652 as compared to the combined total of 367 from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Syria and Jordan, you can't help being impressed. It is little wonder that technology companies and global investors such as Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, eBay have entered the Israeli market discovering unique combinations of audacity, creativity and drive. As the authors mention, Israel has the highest density of start-ups in the world, "a total of 3,850 start-up, one for every 1,844 Israelis." In addition, more Israeli companies are listed on the NASDAQ exchange than all companies from the entire European continent. However, as Senor and Singer argue, all of the above does not fully explain Israel's success. What Israel also has is "a cultural core built on a rich stew of

An enjoyable read

This is an enjoyable read that highlights how Israel has come to become such a leader in high tech startups. It is quick, light reading that explores the historical and cultural aspects that lead so many Israelis to pursue entrepreneurship. In Israel, it seems, there is a culture that embraces the questioning of authority, a flat hierarchical structure across society, and risk seeking behavior. For those who have traveled to Israel, these notions will not be unfamiliar to you. Furthermore, the book explores how the contacts made during mandatory army service serve as valuable social networking tools later on. The book was exactly was I was hoping for. It is written for the layperson, and did not read like an academic journal. While most books about Israel focus on its conflict with the Palestinians, this book only brought up politics and conflict as it pertained to the subject at hand, and didn't editorialize in the process. Furthermore, the multitude of stories and vignettes made it a engaging read that held my interest for the time I sat reading it.

Israeli exceptionality in contributing to global technological progress

There is a growing literature which speaks of the distinctiveness of Israel and its unique contribution to global culture. I think most recently of George Gilder's outstanding 'The Israel Test'. No doubt one impulse for the creation of such books has been the worldwide campaign to delegitimize Israel, as prelude to physically destroying it. Thus the very pro- Israel books come in a way as contributions to the justification of the Jewish state, and as defense of it. What is of course distressing about this, and the need for paeans to Israeli exceptionality is the fact that Israel is the only country in the world which is required to 'justify' its existence in this way. In any case this present book focuses on Israel's scientific and even more technological achievements. It speaks about the Israeli reaction to the Arab boycott, and the special situation of 'confinement' Israelis feel at not having normal access to neighboring countries. Israel is a very small country physically and thus many have a certain claustrophobic sense , especially those youngsters who have served in the Army. After the Army many young people adventurously use their new - found freedom. Two forms of this are the trekking Israelis do throughout distant regions of the world, with special emphasis on South America, and the India- Nepal region, and the 'tech-ing' Israelis do in creating start-ups at a rate all out of proportion to their numbers in the world. Israelis have hooked into high- tech communications and rode on the wave of a world economy which is increasingly electronic. The start- ups too come in part because of an encouraging government policy, which devotes a high proportion of funds to research. But they also come because Israelis are a people continually forced to find non- conventional answers to very difficult and unusual problems. For any supporter of Israel, and I assume that this is the real audience of this book, this book will be a real pleasure. It will provide yet more evidence of how one small state manages to make real contributions to the global economy, and the scientific and technological progress of mankind.
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