Getting the Goods on Start-Up Nation

Published: February 11th 2010

Dan Senor (left) and Saul Singer
Pic: Start-Up Nation website
Book Cover
Pic: Elliot Mgmt.

Israel, “The Land of Milk and Honey”, should be renamed “The Land of Micro Chips and Homing Missiles" as, according to the book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, those are some of the main driving sectors in Israel’s emergence as the premier entrepreneurial culture in the world.


Just 60 years old, and with a population of 7.1 million, Israel has shown what is possible when you mix a highly educated society with talent and chutzpa.


Israel has the highest density of tech start-ups in the world with more venture capital dollars being attracted per capita than any other country. Israel has more companies on the NASDAQ than any country outside the U.S. and more than Europe, China, India, Japan and Korea combined.


So how is it that a country surrounded by enemies and hated by many more around the globe, has managed to build the entrepreneurial model that most countries now strive to duplicate.


Shalom Life sat down with Dan Senor, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and former foreign policy adviser in Iraq and Qatar, to discuss his book.


How has the response to Start-Up Nation been thus far?


You know I am struck by how many diverse communities and audiences it has struck a chord with - from the regular business world to the military community.  I’ve gotten a lot of response from the military and veteran communities, people returning from the wars abroad, whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan and looking for opportunities in the economy, in the private sector economy, and have been frustrated by the lack of literacy among business leaders and among employers, and have military experience that’s transferable to the business world. 


Around the world the response has been amazing. We have just sold the publishing rights in China. It’s been a bestseller in Singapore. So I would say the combination of the business world, the military world and the general international community has been really terrific.   



Israel is a country with many enemies.  However, these enemies have little recourse when it comes to sanctions due to the everyday technology developed there which are essential for all countries, such as Intel computer chips and lifesaving medical devices.  How important has this been to the survival of Israel and do you believe Israel focuses on certain industries/products with this in mind?


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