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on 24 May 2017
An Immersive deep dive into the critical success factors for the ultimate start-up nation - Israel. Great read for anyone looking for inspiration and ideas on how to spur far reaching innovation.
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on 30 March 2017
Great stories about the tech industry in Israel and
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on 15 August 2017
A very enjoyable read, in addition to being very insightful, with well researched points made. Provides food for thought for anyone looking to lead an Innovation function within a company or indeed inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.
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on 13 June 2017
Fascinating read
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on 17 January 2014
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. 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 .
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on 30 August 2017
It was exciting to read this book which mainly focuses on the economical and innovative achievements of the Zionist movement. It however does not talk about some of the well known facts about Israel, particularly how it treats Palestinians in terms of how it deprived them of their most fundamental rights because of the Israeli occupation of Palestine as well as parts of its neighbours. Israel may impress rest of the World with its achievements in Technology and innovation however it will never be able to repair its image reflected to rest of the World as a result of the crimes and massacres it committed with constant aggression and occupation.
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on 14 December 2009
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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on 21 March 2010
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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on 27 August 2012
Too many people had told me I must read this book, so I did and it was well worth it. I run a business angel network and this book gave me a real understanding of some success factors I'd hardly considered.

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.
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on 30 December 2009
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.

The Israeli army and Israeli society are characterised by informality and egalitarianism, which have roots in the kibbutzim and the socialist ideology of the pre-State Yishuv and the Labour party which was dominant during Israel's first three decades. The use of nicknames is common, even when referring to senior officers or senior politicians. It's even acceptable for soldiers in combat units to question the decisions of officers if they believe them genuinely to be wrong, as long as that doesn't become overt refusal of orders.

A recurring theme is `necessity as the mother of invention'. Israel has very modest natural resources, just Dead Sea potash and magnesium and some recently-discovered offshore gas. Above all, water is in short supply and Israelis have had to be ingenious to make optimum use. Netafim, the kibbutz-based drip irrigation company, is an example of where an innovation has generated a world-leading company with export markets across the globe.

Israel has survived major wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 that were either launched or provoked by its neighbours. Prior to 1967, Israel was heavily reliant on France for supply of armaments and aircraft, but de Gaulle's sudden embargo forced Israel to plan its own military industries. This eventually led to production of the Kfir fighter-bomber, the Merkava tank, unmanned aerial vehicles and many other innovative defence systems.

Israeli industries have also had to survive the severe disruption caused by wars. In the first Gulf War in early 1991, Saddam Hussein was peppering the metropolitan areas of Tel-Aviv and Haifa with Scud missiles and Israelis spent long hours in shelters and `sealed rooms' wearing gas masks for fear of chemical attack. In contravention of government directives, but on a voluntary basis, Intel Israel led by Dov Frohman kept its research and chip production facilities going throughout the war. Intel Israel managed to meet all its schedules and thereby showed both the parent company and the wider business world that Israeli subsidiaries could be relied on, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Israel's economy still faces serious threats and challenges such as the Iranian nuclear weapons programme and internal demographics. Only a narrow segment of Israel's 7 million population carries the hi-tech sector on its shoulders. The Haredi population is growing rapidly and owing to its narrow educational focus on religion, it contributes little to the economy. Likewise Israel's Arab minority has lower educational standards and hardly any involvement in this sector. These problems need to be addressed somehow through new initiatives and investment.

`Start-Up Nation' book is a highly stimulating read for anyone interested in the subjects of Israel, business innovation and corporate culture. Despite Israel's many problems, this is a major success story that's well worth telling.
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