Start Up Nation, Dan Senor and Saul Singer
What has made Israel such a successful country? The Israelis approach entrepreneurship in a very unique way. They do not fear failure or recriminations for failure. They pick up and start again, persevere and have unremitting focus in their effort to succeed.
Members of the military start many of the businesses. They are selected carefully for their jobs in the military, (right out of high school, as they prepare for mandatory service)…after rigorous testing, rather than randomly as in some armed forces. As a result they excel in the business world, as well as in the military.
All students are not educated in the same way, but rather they are chosen for specific skill sets that they possess. In this way, their education is used to the best possible advantage. Students are trained because they qualify, not because they are entitled to the education. They are taught to question constantly and authority is viewed differently so that a lowly worker is perfectly free to question someone in authority without fear of repercussions.
There is no real hierarchy in the service. Rank is not the most important thing, accomplishment is more respected. Those beneath an officer in the field may request his dismissal if they feel he is not engendering the respect and command required for them to perform well.
When Israelis pitch a business idea, they stress the importance of the opportunities for Israel, not for their own personal reasons. Often, they do not tout their own business but they do praise their country and encourage investment there. They are not as profit driven personally but rather nationalistically.
Their success is largely due to the approach to education, the universal, mandatory service in the military with its rigorous training right out of high school, the stress on the need to question authority and the ability to learn from one's failures and move on, the absence of the fear of failing is huge, since it is not viewed negatively (failure is not looked upon with disdain but rather as a learning experience from which to jump off and succeed), the stress on learning from experience, and because higher education begins after military service, the more mature work force that is able to think on their feet. Isrealis go out to work in other countries and bring that knowledge back. The Israeli immigration policy, also fosters economic growth, although, in some instances, it has also been a tremendous drain on the economy with those that remain unemployed.
Israelis react quickly to ideas, develop them and move on. If they make a mistake they think of a way to fix it and continue. They must find a way to show strength and get the upper hand. Technology has been their strong suit. They don't spend time they don't have, pontificating on the positives and negatives. They are doers. They must be, because they are a small country in a huge world filled with many enemies.