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Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle Paperback – 6 Oct 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455502391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455502394
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Vivid stories of entrepeneurial success Wall Street Journal Fascinating and illuminating...indispensable -- Jeffrey Goldberg Atlantic What's the business plan? Chutzpah. Lots of it...The book weaves together colorful stories of Israeli technological triumphs...and it is marvelous Washington Post Fascinating stories of innovative ideas and huge gambles that have paid off -- Fareed Zakaria CNN

Book Description

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

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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Karmi on 30 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
In recent years the Israeli economy has topped world metrics in the number of business start-ups and value of venture capital investment per head of population. It also has the highest civilian R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP. This is extraordinary for a country the size of Wales which is only 60 or so years old, has negligible natural resources and has survived wars, terror attacks and incessant political hostility.

`Start-Up Nation' tries to explain the combination of factors and circumstances that have created this unusually strong start-up culture. The title is a play on the words "Upstart Nation". Israelis are no great respecters of status and hierarchy and they prefer to deal with problems and ideas on their merits, even if egos get bruised as a result. They are happy to question conventions and assumptions. A potent mix of natural self-confidence, technological expertise and innovative thinking has served to underpin the calculated risk-taking of hi-tech entrepreneurship.

Thirteen chapters each cover a major contributory factor. Here are a few that I found particularly noteworthy ...

Compulsory military service is cited as having a major formative effect on the `Israeli mentality'. At a young age, many Israelis have to surmount physical and psychological hardship and learn the importance of teamwork and loyalty to unit and comrades. Officers are given serious responsibility at a younger age than in Western armies. Military service also creates valuable social networks, which are preserved and strengthened through annual reserve-duty. Two units in particular, 8200 and Talpiot, are given mention as they produce a high number of eventual start-up pioneers due to the intensive analytical and technological training that recruits undergo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on 17 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book explains how Israel is embodied by the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.
It is not as I feared it might be a dry text book but a very engrossing book on the Israeli spirit-the same spirit which turned swamps and desert wastelands many decades ago into thriving and fertile land- and how this has kept Israel as a leader in the technological, business and medical field.
A large part of the reason is the Israeli attitude of chutzpah , a Hebrew word borrowed from Yiddish which means gall, effrontery, bravery, nerve, incredible guts plus a dose of arrogance.
As the authors explain 'An outside would see chutzpah everywhere in Israel: In the way university students speak with their professors, employees challenge their bosses, sergeants question their generals, and clerks second guess government ministers. To Israelis however this isn't chutzpah, its the normal mode of being."

The Israeli learns survival, toughness and perseverance in the army, which all Israelis must serve in from ages 18 to 20, and where they make lifelong networks of friends and professional/business colleagues. what is unique about the Israeli army is the bottom up approach. the tactical innovation comes from the bottom up, from individual tank commanders and their officers.
This approach has morphed into Israeli professional, business, scientific and academic life.

Part of the reason for Israeli innovation and self-reliance has been the isolation and need to survive in a neighborhood of enemies that want every Israeli Jew dead down to the last child. As the authors explain "Long before there was a State of Israel there was already isolation.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Philemon O. Adjekuko on 14 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Start-Up Nation is a master piece. I read it from cover to cover within 24hrs of receiving it from Amazon. There is so much developing countries in Africa can learn from that book. The book also inspires with its message of "dare the impossible". Israel is a glowing example of how any country that is willing can overcome nature's short comings. Countries with so much resource, like my country Nigeria, have no excuse for failing to develop. I congratulate Dan Senor and Saul Singer for telling such a wonderful story in a breezy and enjoyable style. I extend my gratitude to Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN Global Public Square for recommending the book to viewers around the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mats on 20 July 2012
Format: Paperback
I agree with the more sceptical reviewers. I find this very interesting reading (I actually listened to it). However... Being an economist I always becomes a little scared when the answer to progress is to learn more from the military. It is no coincidence that the most successful Israelis are also good soldiers. They almost all go to the army in Israel. And Israel has one of the world's best armies. But is that how wealth MUST be acquired? By having a technically advanced army? The argument is more an exercise in correlations than actually looking for a logically plausible story. Without the innovativeness there wouldn't have been an Israeli state. Or would there? I would claim that persistence and innovation came before the army

The author's main argument is akin to the Keynesian economists that claim that the US was economically "saved" by the second world war, that Louisianas' "GDP will increase by the Katrina catastrophe, etc. An army is a rather destructive way of building wealth. And the authors really miss the opportunity of asking themselves "what if Israel could have spent all this entrepreneurial energy on building wealth"?

Again, I did not suffer through the reading. It was worth my time and I learned a lot about Israel's military history :). I hope I make the authors' book justice since is it is well worth reading. Thus, a caveat may be that I have missed some very good points in my overall irritation of the connection between the army and success

Mats from Sweden
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