START-UP NATION addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?
With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country's adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the "Israel effect", there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there's never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.
Hampered by an Arab nation boycott that makes regional trade impossible and endowed with precious little by way of natural resources, Israel has beaten the odds to become a major player in the global business world, especially in the technology sector. With the highest number of startups per capita of any nation in the world and massive venture capital investment, Israel is one of the world's entrepreneurship hubs. Senor, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Singer (Confronting Jihad) track Israel's economic prowess using a number of factors, including the social networks and leadership training provided by Israel's mandatory military and reserve service, a culture of critique fostered by centuries of Jewish tradition and an open immigration policy for Jews that continually restocks Israel's population with motivated people from around the world—all of which foster a business climate in which risk is embraced and good ideas are given a chance to grow. The authors ground their analysis in case studies and interviews with some of Israel's most brilliant innovators to make this a rich and insightful read not just for business leaders and policy makers but for anyone curious about contemporary Israeli culture. (Nov.)