Book Review: Thou Shalt Innovate


Israel is a nation of 8 million people living on approximately 22,000km2 (half the land area of New Zealand’s Canterbury region), is surrounded by hostile countries that do not share liberal democratic values, and has had to continually deal with national security threats in the 70 years since the modern state was established on mostly uncultivatable land.

Despite these apparent challenges, Israel has world-leading innovative businesses in the agritech, medical, cyber, cleantech, and other sectors. Israel now has the third most number of companies listed on NASDAQ (behind the United States and China), Israeli hi-tech companies raised a record $6.4 billion in 2018 over 623 deals, and Bloomberg named Israel in the top 10 most innovative countries for 2018.

Behind those impressive statistics are individuals and teams that have created and refined ideas into products. In Thou Shalt Innovate, veteran entrepreneur and Middle East expert, Avi Jorisch, profiles just 15 of these companies. He tells the story of the inventor(s) and how their technology is addressing a need – whether helping paraplegics walk, ensuring food security for impoverished nations, or defending businesses and individuals against cyber attacks.

What each of the innovators has in common is hinted at by the title, cover image, and subtitle of the book – an almost divinely decreed motivation to solve a problem and help the world. As the authors of Start-Up Nation wrote about the book

Thou Shalt Innovate is full of inspiring stories revealing the ancient roots of Israel’s innovative spirit, and how that drive to improve the world continues to play out on a global stage. It’s a great read for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who wants to understand where innovation comes from and how it’s done. Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Thou Shalt Innovate brings to life the passion of the people behind the building blocks of Israel’s innovation success and, though not every character in each remarkable success story is Jewish, draws a link between the modern day Israelis contributing to the world and the ancient Israelites prophesied to become “a light among the nations”.

The book launched in March last year and has already sold over 10,000 copies along with rights to translate it into 12 languages. This is small wonder given how easy it is to immerse oneself in the stories and the simultaneous struggle to put into perspective how much one tiny young nation has given to the world.

Paperback: 284 pages
ISBN-10: 9789652294937
ISBN-13: 978-9652294937