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
`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.Read more ›
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.
Some lessons were unsurprising - constant experimentation, re-evaluation of results, direct criticism; some were surprising - a significant industrial policy was seen as a good thing, though not fiscal indiscipline. There is some mention of the immigration, however I thought the impact of demographics was insufficiently explored. Imagine your population being expanded by nearly 20%, and that a significant proportion of these people were well educated , though impoverished.
Overall I thought the book was readable, though not very useful. I think waves of immigration have been a spur to economic development throughout history, I don't buy the ` threat of annihilation as the mother of invention' theme, I do agree that Israeli's in general are argumentative, critical and sometimes irreverent; though they are also disciplined and persistent. I though the book was journalistic in the sense of telling stories to illustrate points is useful, but if analysis points to areas where stories are hard to tell, then the book falls down. At the end I thought it told the same story again and again, relentlessly.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is incredible! An absolutely essential read to understand why Israel is such a great source of innovation. Highly recommend.Published 2 months ago by aduarte
Fascinating read with lots of illustrative examples. Explains how Israel's unique military culture and structure contributes to lots of leadership experience at an early age and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an amazing piece of writing on a very important geo-political subject as well as innovation per se. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Veritas
This is book has almost a wrong title.
It rather tells the (amazing yes) history (mostly political/ military perspective) of Israel state rather than start ups ecosystem. Read more
Very inspirational story of a nation that has literally performed miracles. Out of a barren land in a hostile environment this is a story of how Israel has created a thriving... Read morePublished 11 months ago by C. Cesman
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