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Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle Paperback – 6 Oct 2011
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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
What the world can learn from Israel's meteoric economic success.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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. An early economic boycott can be traced to 1891 when local Arabs asked Palestine's Ottoman rulers to block Jewish immigration and land sales. In 1922 the fifth Arab Palestine congress called for a boycott of all Jewish businesses'
Since the country finding Israelis have always been aware that the future is always in question. Every moment and decision is of vital significance.
In 1967 the about turn of France from ally to adversary and the French embargo forced Israel to develop its own weapons and armaments industry.
But one of the greatest Israeli innovations comes from the medical and scientific side, from the most advanced water sanitation techonology to new ways to fight cancer and get molecules through the skin without injections
Of course there are challenges. As well as business innovation, Israel has badly neglected the public relations industry (hasbara)-hence when Jon Medved was told in 1982 that Israel does not need 'professional Zionists ' but business leaders, they were not altogether correct. Because the one field that Israel's enemies have outstripped her has been that the anti-Israel lobby has the greatest and most effective propaganda machine in history while Israel has not effectively put the truth across.
Imagine what Israel could do for the world without having to fight for survival all the lunatics who want her destroyed .
That said, because of the focus on skills obtained in the IDF, and with venture capital directed towards a limited variety of options, the economy is in danger of being akin to a wagon with only one star to hitch to, and overburdened with the Haredi and Israeli Arabs who are often excluded from participating in the economy because of their own actions, or because they have skills and qualifications, but lack the professional and social networks that IDF personnel have developed and have access to. So it is essential for Israel to develop the means that will enable Israeli Arabs and Haredi to gain the skills they do not gain in the IDF, and for IDF personnel who have not had to test their abilities on the battlefield. Hard to believe, I know, but not all of the IDF are fighting all of the time :-)
The Science of Success by Charles G. Koch, and The Puritan Gift and William and Kenneth Hopper, may be useful sources of inspiration for Israel, and for those keen to emulate Israel's success.
My jaw dropped at some of the stuff in here. This book is frankly a must-read for anyone involved in the entrepreneurial community. And I'd love to see policy 'experts' in government reading it and learning.
If you want to understand how success was achieved in technical innovation leading to economic growth then read the book. More importantly, if you want to see what the rest of us are not doing to achieve this - read the book.