Start-Up Nation

The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle

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Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.

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Read an excerpt of Start-Up Nation.

"The West needs innovation; Israel's got it," write Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Adjunct Senior Fellow Dan Senor and the Jerusalem Post's Saul Singer, in Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle, a new CFR book. They note that Israel produces more start-up companies on a per capita basis than Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, and all of Europe, and that "after the United States, Israel has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any other country in the world."

Senor and Singer profile several Israeli inventors, investors, and entrepreneurs to provide insight into the resilience of the country's business sector. They conclude that innovation is the reason for Israel's economic success. "Making innovation happen is a collaborative process on many levels, from the team, to the company, to the country, to the world. While many countries have mastered the process at the level of large companies, few have done so at the riskiest and most dynamic level of the process, the innovation-based start-up."

The authors examine many aspects of Israeli society—from the government and military to business—to determine why start-up companies are "prevalent and impervious to the security situation." They explore the role that Israel's military training plays in grooming young business entrepreneurs, and how the United States could similarly leverage the "leadership, teamwork, and mission-oriented skills" of those serving in the U.S. military today.

Senor and Singer also credit Israel's immigration laws for its economic achievements. "It is in large part thanks to these immigrants that Israel currently has more engineers and scientists per capita than any other country.... Jewish newcomers and their non-Jewish family members are readily granted residency, citizenship, and benefits." This open immigration policy is also responsible for the concept of an "idea factory," which includes both "generating ideas at home and taking advantage of ideas generated elsewhere," write the authors.

Based on their findings, Senor and Singer assert that the United States, and the world, have "much to learn from Israel," especially during the recovery from the recent economic downturn. "Global prosperity had rested on a speculative bubble, not on the productivity increases that economists agree are the foundation of sustainable economic growth," they write. "Israel specializes in high-growth entrepreneurship—start-ups that wind up transforming entire global industries." They argue that the Israeli economic model, based on innovation, can help the United States, in particular, "get out of its economic hole."

A Council on Foreign Relations Book

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Reviews and Endorsements

A New York Times blog best seller
 

A Washington Post best seller

Vividly illustrates how Israel has developed a culture where authority not only can be challenged, but must be ... a compelling and satisfying work, filled with eye-opening revelations and shot through with rich examples, explanations, and analysis.

Barron's

Bracing.

New Republic

This fine book ... shine[s] a spotlight on [Israel's] success.

Wall Street Journal

An eye-opening look at a side of Israel that most people never think about.

The Week

There is a great deal for America to learn from the very impressive Israeli entrepreneurial model—beginning with a culture of leadership and risk management. Start-Up Nation is a playbook for every CEO who wants to develop the next generation of corporate leaders.

Tom Brokaw, special correspondent for NBC News, author of The Greatest Generation

Senor and Singer's experience in government, in business, and in journalism—and especially on the ground in the Middle East—come to life in their illuminating, timely, and often surprising analysis.

George Stephanopoulos, host of This Week, ABC News

In the midst of the chaos of the Middle East, there's a remarkable story of innovation. Start-Up Nation is filled with inspiring insights into what's behind Israel's dynamic economy. It is a timely book and a much-needed celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of eBay

Senor and Singer highlight some important lessons and sound instruction for countries struggling to enter the 21st century. An edifying, cogent report, as apolitical as reasonably possible, about homemade nation building.

Kirkus Reviews

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 policymakers but for anyone curious about contemporary Israeli culture.

Publishers Weekly

In the News

Dan Senor on the 700 Club

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Start-Up Nation on Fareed Zakaria GPS

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NYT: David Brooks on Start-Up Nation

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Dan Senor on Squawk Box

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NYT: Freakonomics Blog Interview with Dan Senor

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Dan Senor on Morning Joe

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Newsweek: Soldiers of Fortune

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Dan Senor on Meet the Press

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National Review Interview with Dan Senor

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Powerline Blog on Start-Up Nation

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Dan Senor on MTP: Take Two

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Economist: Fish Out of Water

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Bloomberg: Secret Israeli Weapon Can Fix Mideast

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Growthology Blog on Start-Up Nation

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National Review: Small Miracle

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Atlantic: Origins of Israel's Tech Miracle

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Scripps News: How One Small Endangered Nation Prospered

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Larry King Live Blog: Interview with Dan Senor

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Mediaite: Israel 2.0

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Dan Senor and Saul Singer in the Daily Beast

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