Sunday, April 6, 2014

Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

cover of Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle
Why do some companies succeed over others? Why do some people seem to have everything they touch turn to gold? in Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle, Dan Senor and Saul Singer attempt to answer that question by looking at the success that start-ups and entrepreneurs, in general, have had in Israel. You may not realize it, but several of the technology companies, like Intel, Microsoft, and Google have a presence in Israel. Why has a country that is so small and in such a potentially unstable area of the Middle East. Senor and Singer have some suggestions. Part of the reason may be that Israelis are more accepting of failure. When you fail in the US, you aren't necessarily given a second chance because you have the loser taint attached to you. But in Israel, failure is seen as a learning experience. You figure out what went wrong, and you move on to the next challenge. A second factor is that in Israel, every citizen goes into the military. The most intelligent and gifted are chosen for elite operative forces that tend to encourage innovative thinking.

Israel is also a land of immigrants. Some have had to make a livelihood from nothing. The emigrants from other Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq and Iran, had to leave all their possessions behind, escaping for their lives. These people have had to pull themselves up from their bootstraps, and they did a pretty good job of it.

I found the book informative and entertaining. Senor and Singer talked to a large number of entrepreneurs and politicians. They managed to get time from a variety of interesting folks, including Shimon Peres, who could explain how things were developing in the beginning of the birth of the country through to the modern day. The cool thing about Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel's Economic Miracle is that it does a good job of explaining the Israeli personality and the state of business in Israel. If you are interested in starting up your own business, you can leave some tips from the book, but in general, the goal is to explain a country-wide phenomenon.

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