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? How is it that Israel has, per person, attracted over twice as much venture capital investment as the US and thirty times more than Europe?
Israel has more companies on the tech-oriented NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the US – more than all of Europe and India combined. Nor is Israeli innovation limited to computers, security, and communications; the Jewish state leads the world in medical device patents, and is a strong global player in cleantech and biotech.
Drawing on examples from the country’s foremost inventors and investors, foreign policy insiders Dan Senor and Saul Singer describe how the country’s adversity-driven culture, flattened hierarchies, and government policies create a society that uniquely combines both innovative and entrepreneurial intensity.
As the authors argue, Israel is not just a country, but a comprehensive state of mind. Where Americans emphasize decorum and exhaustive prep, Israelis put chutzpah over charm. “When an Israeli man wants to date a woman, he asks her out that night. When an Israeli entrepreneur has a business idea, he will start it that week,” as one analyst puts it.
At the geopolitical level, Senor and Singer dig in deeper to show why Israel’s policies on immigration, R&D, and military service have been key factors in the country’s rise. “No college experience disciplines you to think like [the military does], with high stakes and intense pressure,” one veteran notes, explaining how state service preps Israelis to communicate, to forge teams, and to improvise at work.
At a time when innovation has become the key to driving global economic recovery and growth, the authors show the myriad ways the world’s most dynamic “start-up nation” can inform America’s successes.
As START-UP NATION shows, there are lessons in Israel’s example that apply not only to other nations, but also to individuals seeking to build a thriving organization. As this country reboots its can-do spirit, there’s never been a better time to look at a remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.