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

4.6 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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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: 17.4 x 2.9 x 15.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Through the recent availability of venture capital and the utilisation of the capabilities of IDF personnel, Israel has begun to establish a viable economy, based on innovation in new lines of technology. This accomplishment is further bolstered by the Israeli culture, which, in general, is distinct to the region and the rest of the world due to its lack of social hierarchy and willingness to tolerate challenge to authority.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Israel is super-competitive because Israeli's are intensely inquisitive, constantly challenge authority and accepted wisdom and remain under imminent threat of annihilation. This is what I take away from this book. There are good examples of innovative companies, mainly in the High Technology, who provide the backbone of innovation in the country. And innovation is the reason I read the book, it's the current magic ingredient which will bring economic growth, which will solve all our problems; so surely the lessons we can learn from the innovative Israeli's will be valuable.
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.
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