Talk:Start-up Nation

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Critical reception[edit]

I would like to propose that the "Praise" and "Criticism" subsections are merged into a single section. They are artificial constructs based on wiki-editor meta-analysis and classification of individual reviews. All of the reviews are simply reviews that say many things about the book. We don't need to classify each review based on an unspecified subjective decision procedure that isn't supported by a reliably sourced meta-analysis of the reviews. If fact, I don't think we should be doing that. It's original research. Sean.hoyland - talk 04:06, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly. GabrielF (talk) 04:11, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. Merging the two sections will make for a very long section, practically ensuring that no-one will get to the end of it and read the few critical comments on this book. And yet critical comments are almost invariably the most thoughtful and informative. Furthermore, the section isn't divided into "Positive reviews" and "negative reviews" as Sean suggests, it is merely divided into positive and negative comments. I therefore think Sean's "meta-analysis" is not applicable. Gatoclass (talk) 08:27, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
+/- reviews vs +/- comments is just a change of scale. The argument that it's a wiki editor meta analysis/classification still stands in my view. There's no reason to even impose an ordering on the comments based on perceptions of positivity or negativity. They could be alphabetical, by published date etc etc. I don't think it matters. Sean.hoyland - talk 08:47, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, Sean, but I disagree as well. I really like to be able to skip back and forth between positive and negative comments when I read, and determine for myself how many of each I want to read. If you already think something's great, for example, why read comments that only reinforce or reiterate what you already know? Besides, I mildly resent being told in what order I should read comments; I prefer to be able to choose that myself. ( I don't mean that I resent your suggestion, of course; that would be silly. ) In a list of undifferentiated comments, presented sequentially, it's hard to read in anything but the serial order that's handed down by the editors who complied the presentation.  – OhioStandard (talk) 10:36, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
These issues are of concern for me (not just in this article of course) because I think they are about neutrally sampling and presenting information in a way that is untainted by temptations to put things in simple boxes and impose subjective structures. Do you not mildly resent being told what is praise and what is criticism based on opaque non-RS based transformations of language into praise and criticism set memberships ?
For example, look at the statements in The Forward that the book
  • A - "presents Israel in an extremely positive light as a bastion of entrepreneurial spirit and technological achievement."
  • and B - "It skirts a discussion of the conflict with the Palestinians, or even the wealth inequality within Israel, thereby dovetailing nicely with recent public relations efforts by Israel to shift attention away from its problems and toward its achievements."
Are statements A and B criticisms or simply observations by The Forward ? Statement A doesn't look like a criticism by itself but if you add B, the question for me becomes, is it a criticism to say that someone says the glass is half full rather than half empty ? Maybe, but it depends on assumptions about the writer's intent and model of the world. Placing the statements in a criticism section is the same as saying "The Forward criticised the book by saying (statement A) and (statement B)". I'm not sure that makes sense. Who is saying they criticised the book ? It seems better to just say "The Forward said (statement A) and (statement B)" which is the equivalent of not classifying it as either praise or criticism. If a public relations person at Israel's MFA had written statements A and B, would it still be criticism or would it become "Israel's MFA praised the book by saying (statement A) and (statement B)" ?
An editor rewrote the Forward statement, according to their edit summary, on the basis that the "article gives undue weight to criticism while this book has received mostly positive reception". Really ? I don't know how they know that or whether that is the case because no evidence was presented to substantiate the statement but I was intrigued that they already had a model of due weight in their head and they excised information from one section on that basis. In fact, the reviews should all have approximately the same weight give or take, it makes no difference whether they are "positive" or "negative" and NPOV compliance = due weight can then naturally emerge from proper sampling of the total set of reviews. Sean.hoyland - talk 12:43, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
You make some worthwhile points, but I still think a long block of amorphous text, especially one that begins with a series of paragraphs which look as if they were selected by the book's publicist, is going to make people's eyes glaze over. The section headers may not be entirely accurate but they do give some hint as to the contents. If you were really to insist on merging the two sections however, I would want to see some of that "praise" section pared back a bit first. BTW, did you have a view on the "About the authors" section I added that someone deleted? Gatoclass (talk) 17:24, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, I don't really have strong feelings about it. I'd prefer to avoid labeling things as this or that but sectioning is necessary for good reason as you say (and is recommended by the MOS). It's just a matter of time before Wikipedia becomes the encyclopedic equivalent of a graphic novel...which would be fine by me. Yes, I saw the removal of the authors section. Saul Singer doesn't have a page so it's unclear why info about him was removed mutiple times. As I've said somewhere, I'm fine with the Dan Senor info being in his article but I think the info was simply deleted from here rather than responsibly moved in a constructive way to that article. I don't see any harm in having a short section about the authors in this article either. It's helpful to readers and a little bit of summarized biographical material from main bio articles is commonplace in all sorts of articles.Sean.hoyland - talk 10:26, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply above, Sean; I do see your objection more clearly now, and withdraw my objection to consolidating the two sections. In looking over the critical reception section, I agree that many of the reviews from which the "praise" quotes are pulled could just as easily be used in the existing "criticism" section, by pulling different quotes.
But I Gato's right that a long block of unbroken text is a problem, just visually. I think that could be skirted, though, if we were adopt a common format for each review we summarize, and try to keep wikilinks within each review summary to a minimum, to avoid the "grab your eye" effect that a very broadly wikilinked short paragraph produces. Of course, if we do merge the two sub-sections, then we run into the question as to how we determine the order in which to present review summaries, and how long each review can be. I'd say we should probably start with a mostly negative review, myself, for balance, since the preceding "Overview" section is exclusively positive, or nearly so.
Similarly, I think it would be appropriate to restore Mbz1's original characterization sentence, viz.
  • The book received mixed reviews, with some reviewers strongly supporting its arguments and statistics and others rejecting or even ridiculing them.
should be restored and given its original position in the lead, with whatever text in the body is needed to support that.
I also agree that information about the authors is relevant to an article about a book they wrote, and that we do our readers a disservice not to include some of that, especially since we don't have an article about Singer to wikilink to. I also agree that it was improper to have removed the "About the author(s)" section that Gatoclass introduced, and likewise think it very relevant that the author did an internship at AIPAC, since it's relevant to his career and presumably to the formation of his world view, and since it likewise provides relevant information to our readers about his outlook. There's no reason to suppress that information.
I'm glad Betsy felt her NPOV objections had been addressed. The ones I've raised here have not, and they need to be. I don't intend it as any sort of hostile act, but I'm going to go ahead and reinstate the NPOV tag until we can all come to a constructive resolution of these issues.  – OhioStandard (talk) 12:09, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Update: As most editors here may recall, this article was proposed at DYK some time ago. When I reinstated the NPOV tag as indicated above, I didn't know the status of this article re that process; it didn't occur to me to think about that. (Yes, I'm sure I'll hear doubts on that score; feel free.) But I did think about it afterwards, and I went to the DYK pages - which seem pretty arcane to me - and couldn't find an entry for it. I eventually figured out that I needed to remove it from "prep area 1", and restore it to the 25 April section on Template talk:Did you know, and I've now done so.
Can we get more opinions here, on Sean's proposal, please, and on concerns about the author info section, and the other points raised so far in this thread. In a less contentious article I'd probably go ahead and "be bold", but I'd prefer to try to work by a more consensus-based process here, since much of this has been subject to revert battles already.  – OhioStandard (talk) 13:41, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't think any of the issues you raised above amount to an NPOV dispute that requires a tag on the article, but I'm starting to understand that this tag is used as an "I'll let the world know I object to some stuff in this article" tag. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 14:23, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree with NMMNG that I don't see the POV issues here. The article addresses the book's thesis, and then gives a variety of viewpoints about it, ranging from praise to withering criticism. There appears to have been a general consensus that POV issues in the original article had been dealt with. And while I may be misreading your long comment above, I don't see any reference to a specific violation of NPOV. I suggest that this tag be removed, barring other editors that support its continuation. -- Khazar (talk) 16:14, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
In light of the earlier (apparent) consensus about the article's new NPOV state, I've pulled the tag pending a clearer explanation by OhioStandard of why the format of the "critical reception" section is a violation of W:NPOV. Ohio, I'll be glad to hear more about this and will pitch in myself if I can. -- Khazar (talk) 16:22, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

<--See also more discussion on his own talk page User talk:Ohiostandard. Wikipedia articles are by necessity crafted to create compromises among people with differing POVs. Although the end product may not look exactly like what person A considers NPOV, and not exactly like what person B considers NPOV, the version A prefers would horrify B, and vice versa. I think Khazar is an experienced editor whose decision wrt the NPOV tag I will respect. Although I was hoping to persuade OhioStandard himself to remove it, and I think he would have done so, he seems to be unavoidably doing real life for the next day or so. 16:29, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Added one more review[edit]

I added one more review that was published in Barron's. This review from reliable source is important because Barron's is a magazine about business. Broccolo (talk) 17:51, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

FWIW, I agree with Gatoclass's removal of this review. This quotation about the book's contents wouldn't add much to the Wikireader's understanding of this book; it appears to be more a restatement of the book's thesis as a catchy slogan, rather than an analysis or evaluation of the contents. There might be other good quotations that could come from this review, but I'm not convinced this one was it. -- Khazar (talk) 19:20, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
We came to an agreement earlier not to use the Palestine Journal commentary because it was seen as more of a political editorial than a review of the book. This quote is similar, but from the other side of the conflict. We've just spent a week trying to come to a consensus version and finally it seemed as though we had one until Broccolo added this review. It's a slap in the face to everyone who spent the last week in good faith trying to come up with a compromise version that would be acceptable to all. If Broccolo insists on adding this to the article, I am going to recommend rejection at DYK because enough is enough. Gatoclass (talk) 19:36, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Since the full article is available only to subscribers, I've downloaded a PDF and posted the link here. I agree that the paragraph Broccolo chose to quote was a summary of the book's thesis and doesn't add much to the article. The last paragraph of the review, however, is evaluative and may merit inclusion.GabrielF (talk) 19:40, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
"In all, Start-Up Nation is a compelling and satisfying work, filled with eye-opening revelations and shot through with rich examples, explanations and analysis."
The article already has a dozen reviews. We don't need another one, least of all one so politicized. Gatoclass (talk) 19:51, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Can you explain to me how this review is "politicized" - the quote seems to be addressing the quality of the writing and ideas rather than the issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. GabrielF (talk) 19:55, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Gabriel that this quotation is better than the last, but I'm still not sure what it adds to the positive reviews already here. Even if included, I'm also not sure it's the best choice to lead in the section. The USA Today quotation that previously led in did a better job of summing up expected reactions to the book, setting the tone for the whole section. The "political editorial" aspect doesn't bother me (and I think that's a hard standard to judge in any case), but this quotation appears to cover no new ground, and I'd suggest excluding it for that reason. -- Khazar (talk) 20:07, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
@Gabriel - there is nothing wrong with the quote you gave above, but it's merely repeating what numerous other positive reviews of this book have said so it would just be redundant to include it. And we don't need to link to such a polemical review when we have plenty of other reviews to choose from. Gatoclass (talk) 20:16, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Gabriel's replacement of the quote I added, but I believe that some quote from Barron's should be in the article. Broccolo (talk) 21:24, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

<--I think everybody is too sick of this to want to go through any major rewrites, but I am saddened by the destabilizing effect of Broccolo's demand to include more praise, following closely on BelloWello's edit to remove even more criticism. I will abide by the consensus of the "real" editors who have done the hard spadework here to get to NPOV but could one of you please in some appropriate way add what I still think is missing information, that the Palestine Times review alleges that state support of technology enterprises was ignored by the book but has played a major role in their success. betsythedevine (talk) 20:46, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't see it as vital that Barron's be included just for being Barron's, as seems to be Broccolo's rationale so far here. This quotation appears to me redundant in its praise without adding a good specific example (such as the Jer Post pull quote) or an additional nuance (such as the Forbes quote), and the reviews and "impact" section here already make it clear that this book is widely praised. Since Forbes is already included, we've touched on business publications, as well as business book reviewers from more general-audience publications. This doesn't appear to add anything new to the article unless, I guess, you're a hard-core Barron's fan. But as Broccolo and Gabriel appear determined that this specific article be included, I'd be up for a compromise where redundant praise from other reviews is removed and this one inserted in their place. But Why this redundant quotation was worth disrupting the hard-won consensus over, and effectively blocking this article's DYK nomination for, is honestly beyond me. -- Khazar (talk) 21:44, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
It is a very good idea. Let's remove review by Forbes. Broccolo (talk) 21:52, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Let's not. Sean.hoyland - talk 21:57, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood me, Broccolo. Let's remove some praise if we need to insert this praise--not remove the review by Forbes which makes a genuine contribution to the article by noting both strengths and weaknesses of the book. It's very difficult for me to assume good faith when you fight to replace a nuanced review by the world's most famous business publication on the grounds with a glowing review by a lesser publication. Unless you can give a much better reason for the importance of the Barron's article over Forbes than you have up till this point, it's pretty clear that your comment is a simple attempt to push a specific POV. Disregard what I suggested above. All I can ask is that you work with us to genuinely improve our coverage of this topic instead of to simply make Israel look as good as possible. -- Khazar (talk) 22:04, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Khazar. The Forbes review is better. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 22:09, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
I misunderstood what Khazar was saying, please assume a good faith. Although I do not understand why a neutral review from a notable and reliable source should be removed only because there are more prise reviews than criticism ones, but I'd agree with the consensus whatever it is going to be. I will be offline for the next 12 hours or more. Broccolo (talk) 22:19, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough, and thanks. I apologize if I misunderstood you in turn. It's simply a case of not needing to repeat what's already clear in the article--that many publications, business and gen-aud, have already praised the elements that this Barron's quotation praises. Repeating it is simply redundant, and also disruptive to the editors who fought to forge a consensus the past few days on how much is needed. (For the record, I wasn't one of them, but I admire the job they did.) -- Khazar (talk) 22:24, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Outstanding objections[edit]

I object to the removal of the NPOV tag, ( see previous section ) since the conditions I left, on my talk, with Gato and Betsy, for my in-absentia willingness to see it removed were not met. I've also now seen Khazar's "pointless disruption" comment at the DYK page. That was uncalled for; you don't have to like my opinions, Khazar, but I have as much right to mine as you have to yours, and you don't see me characterizing your actions that way.

Further, restoring the tag four hours after I placed it, on the basis that some editors had previously felt there was a consensus, was improper: See the NPOV template page, which says, among other things in its "when to remove this tag" section, that the tag should not be removed until "All editors involved in the article agree to remove it." I have only about 30 minutes, but I'll try to quickly put something together to further summarize and specify my objections. In the meantime, Khazar, you should restore the tag.  – OhioStandard (talk) 02:10, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

My apologies, Ohio--that comment came much more out of my frustration with Broccolo's insertion (discussed above) than your action. However, I don't read the NPOV template guidelines quite as you do; I don't believe they require all four of those conditions to be met, but only one. (All editors agreeing is, I think, an impossible standard to set on some articles--most politics articles would be permanently tagged.) In this case, without a clear rationale being laid out on this page for an NPOV violation, I felt comfortable removing it. I wasn't aware at the time that you were discussing conditions for the template's removal on your talk page, rather than here. Despite my discomfort at the idea of conditions being yours to dictate to us, rather than the community's to discuss, I'll restore it now per your wishes until you have a chance to make your case. -- Khazar (talk) 02:21, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
That's very gracious of you, Khazar; my sincere thanks. I probably growled more than was right, so please accept my apology, as well, if raised your hackles: I certainly accept that interpretation of policy can differ in all good faith. My goal, btw, is the same as yours: I also want to see this article reach a stable version that we can all sides live with, even if neither is enamored of the final result. I wish I had more time right now to add more specificity to what I see as the POV problems I generally described above, but the following will have to do for the moment:
(1) Our opening sentence in body ( book overview section ) quotes The Council on Foreign Relations with the word "blurb", but doesn't explicitly disclose (a) That it's a publisher's blurb, i.e. that CFR is the publisher, or (b) That one of the authors is employed there as a senior fellow. It doesn't make it clear-enough that the source quoted is not independent of the book itself. And why are we using a lengthy publisher's promotional statement as the first sentence in our "Overview", section, anyway? Hardly NPOV: It's supposed to be our overview, I believe, not the publishers. It more appropriately belongs in a (self?-)praise section, if it belongs anywhere in our article, which I don't think it does, now that I think about it.
(2) Immediately following in the "Overview" section, there are two sentences cited to an article in The Economist. That article is more about Israel's entrepreneurial economy than about the book itself, btw, and it presents a very mixed review of that economy. Editors here should read it, and note that only positive comments about Israel's economy were taken from that article. Nor do I see, on a quick read-through, any support for the sentence cited to the Economist that says Israel has "a larger venture-capital industry per capita than any other country in the world", regardless of what "larger" and "per capita" might be specifically intended to mean in this context.
(3) The author section should be restored; even books include an "about the author" section, and we do our readers a disservice not to include one. They have a legitimate right to know something about the authors' careers and respective political orientations. There's no legitimate reason to suppress that.
(4) The "Impact" section is just more praise by another name. It should be deleted, or if it can be shown that the book is being used as some sort of school textbook, it could remain on that basis. That would show an actual "Impact".
(5) The "praise" section entry that begins, "Alex Brill writes in Transatlantic Dialogue" is misleading as to source. The source is actually The American Enterprise Institute website, a neocon political thinktank that typically supports all things Israel. Around 80 words are quoted from that review. If we're going to allow so much from a partisan political source, what's the objection to quoting at the same length in the "criticism" section from the Palestine Chronicle source?
No time for more specifics right now, I'm afraid. Will try to make time to come back to this soon, within 24 hours, if at all possible. In haste,  – OhioStandard (talk) 03:08, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Okay, time for just one more very quick additional point:
(6) I notice that in addition to all the praise in the "overview" and "impact" sections, that the "criticism" section has, in my browser window, about 14 lines compared to the "praise" section's 29 lines.
Since many of the reviews that are used for "praise" are, in fact, mixed, and contain criticism as well. that doesn't seem to me to comply with wp:weight. I'd need to spend more time to analyze this more carefully, before I'm willing to render a final opinion re weight, however.  – OhioStandard (talk) 03:43, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Re (1): CFR is not the publisher of the book, Hachette is. I agree that using a promotional quote is problematic, but here the quote is stating some facts about a phenomenon which the book is attempting to address. Do you dispute these facts? (that Israel has a population of 7.1 million, is sixty years old and has been at war many times over that period, that it has had greater success with start-ups than larger companies and that the book attempts to explain why?) The reader needs to understand this background in order to understand the reason why this topic was interesting enough that someone wanted to write a book about it and what those people had to say about the topic and what others had to say about what they had to say. This information, if not the exact quote, belongs in the first paragraph of the book overview section. GabrielF (talk) 04:06, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Re (2) I think I added those two sentences. I disagree with you that this is a misrepresentation of the source. On your specific point about the term "per capita", the relevant sentence in the Economist article is: "Adjust for population and Israel leads the world in the number of high-tech start-ups and the size of the venture-capital industry." On the more general point, this is a book that's specifically about Israel's success with start-ups. The purpose of the first few paragraphs of the overview section is to introduce the idea that Israel's start-up success is something which the authors, and the business press as a whole, found to be worth explaining so that we can then describe the authors' thesis. The other points in the article - whether Israel's economy is too narrowly focused, etc., are irrelevant to that purpose. They are interesting and perhaps could be included in a section that provides context on Israel's economy, but they shouldn't be in the first paragraph of the section that gives an overview of the book. GabrielF (talk) 03:28, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
(3) I agree with you on this point. However, I did not like the inclusion of the fact that Senor once had an internship with AIPAC. It may be relevant in a lengthier biography article but here it smacks including a minor detail in the guy's life in order to imply something about his political views.GabrielF (talk) 03:46, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
(4) I removed some material from this section that repeated stuff already covered in praise. I would argue that material about how leaders and thinkers are using this book is substantially different from "praise". I agree that rehashing praise is not necessary here. The last sentence of that paragraph should either be rephrased to say that the reviewer recommends the book to small business leaders or it should be removed. GabrielF (talk) 03:46, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
(5) This is simply inaccurate. The article was published in Translatlantic Dialogue, a newsletter of the American Council on Germany. You can find the original on their website here. The AEI link is a reprint.GabrielF (talk) 03:46, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I'll weigh in on a few points, too, and then bow out for a while, as on an hour's reflection and, well, a second glass of Jack Daniels, I agree with Ohio that I was grouchier than needed earlier today. I'd hoped to step in as a fresh voice and made myself a cranky one much faster than intended; my apologies again for this.
1) Agree with Ohio that we should note explicitly that this is the publisher. I suggest "The Council on Foreign Relations, the book's publisher states in its blurb that Start-up Nation addresses the question..."
2) Agree with Ohio that these sentences don't appear to belong in this section--it would be better to just summarize the book here--but am intrigued by Gabriel's suggestion that they might fit elsewhere. Perhaps the Impact section.
3) I think the authors' biographies are only relevant here if these biographies are being covered in secondary sources about the book. I honestly don't know whether or not this is the case. If, for example, one or more of the reviews are mentioning the AIPAC internship, I think it's fair game. If not, not
4) I agree with Gabriel here that it's highly notable that, for example, the PM of Lithuana has praised the book, or that a noted figure like Fareed Zakaria has. Perhaps the Zakaria quote might be moved to praise, as he's a commentator rather than policy-maker, but I think the Lithauana PM and others do require their own section.
5) Agree with Gabriel. The web source is the AEI, but it was originally published in another source. It's pretty standard for a group like AEI to pull news stories, etc. that they agree with onto their site; it's not quite the same as being by AEI.
6) Ohio's statistic is accurate here, but I'm okay with the current dispersal for two reasons. First, that it doesn't appear that we've overlooked significant sources for the crit. secion; in fact, we're rejecting reviews like the one from Barron's (see above debate) because the book appears more praised than panned. It's notable to me that we're simply not finding sources like the Economist or the Washington Post or Zakaria attacking this book so far. Second, the praise section includes mixed reviews and criticism, such as USA Today's point that the book is written from an Israeli perspective that may irk readers, or Forbes' pointing out a major omission in the book's logic, while the criticism section appears to be unalloyed criticism. Barring the emergence of major new sources, I do feel we've given both sides their due weight, and that a one-to-one word ratio isn't required for balance. I haven't read the book, but I feel from having read these sections that I have a good sense of what works in it (anecdotes, startling econcomic facts, good point about military service) and what falls short (pointed inattention to some aspects of Israel's political reality). For me, that's enough. -- Khazar (talk) 04:24, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Khazar. I've now read quite a few reviews and the vast majority praise the book, often with some reservations. WP:UNDUE states: "Neutrality assigns weight to viewpoints in proportion to their prominence." As Khazar points out, many of the most prominent reviewers are praising the book. Even several of the reviews cited under criticism - Haaretz and the CSMonitor (which isn't even really a review) - have positive things to say about the book (Haaretz calls it "fascinating"). The current ratio doesn't strike me as unreasonable. I would argue that a 1:1 ratio of praise to criticism would violate WP:UNDUE by giving more weight to criticism than exists in the media. GabrielF (talk) 18:40, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Is the Council on Foreign Relations the publisher of this book?[edit]

A brief answer: They say they are, but the situation is a little more complex. The front cover of the book prominently identifies it as, "A Council on Foreign Relations Book", and CFR's website and their press releases identify it as the publisher. Likewise, the penultimate page of the book, page 304, consists of an "about us" for the CFR and, in its final sentence on the page, a legal disclaimer which refers to the book as one of "its publications". There are other publishing-industry firms, though, that could probably most appropriately be described as something like "publisher of record", "associate publisher", "outsourced publisher" or some such phrase to indicate the nature of their participation.

A long answer

A Long answer:

Besides the front cover disclosure of it as a CFR book, a CFR web page says it's the publisher. That page lists itself in the publisher field as "A CFR Book", along with a hyperlink the twelvebooks.com website. A CFR press release also calls it "a new CFR book". Similarly, besides the front cover saying so, page 304 (the penultimate one in the book) is an "about us" page for the CFR, albeit followed on page 305 by the "mission statement" for twelvebooks.

There are various definitions of "publisher", much like the term "producer" in the film industry. I'd need to spend some quality time with a room full of publishing industry experts to be absolutely sure, but my impression based on an considerable research into the question leads me to believe that CFR can rightly be called "the publisher", while there are a variety of other candidates that could more reasonably be described as "publisher of record".

For example, the first CFR page I linked to, above, besides saying "A CFR Book" in the "publisher" field, also includes a link to the twelvebooks.com website, a firm that produces twelve titles per year, and that had, as of March, 2011, published just 44 books since it began in 2005. There's no direct statement on its "about us" page to Hatchette, although there is a Hatchette copyright notice on their pages, but this Hachette book group page does lead me to believe twelvebooks is something akin to an "imprint" of Hachette, although that's not absolutely certain from what I read in publishing industry press reports. It's also possible, for example, that Hachette fulfills some publishing-industry functions for twelvebooks (advertising? distribution? legal? ). Likewise, my understanding from looking at the scanned image of the book, via Google books], indicates to me that another candidate for "publisher of record", perhaps (?) in the capacity of physical production and printing, or the management thereof, is a Canadian firm called McClelland & Stewart.

It appears, in other words, that the publishing industry is very "distributed" as opposed to "vertically integrated", i.e. that it uses "outsourcing" very extensively. But however you slice it, however it's most appropriate to name their role, the Council on Foreign Relations does appear to have been the body that initiated the process of bringing this book by one of its senior fellows to the world. Likewise, if you read the book's "acknowledgments" section, you'll see that the actual writing of the book was a joint project, much supported by CFR resources and research personnel.

Finally, the first sentence currently in our own "Overview" section is an almost word-for-word copy from the "Overview" section of this CFR web page, with only the CFR phrase "addresses the trillion-dollar question" changed in our article to "addresses the question".

But rather than haggling with each other over the precise definition of "publisher" in this case, it seems to me more relevant to ask, "Among the multiple organizations responsible for bringing this book to market, which exercised the greatest influence in initiating the project and seeing it through to completion?" The answer is, without question, the Council on Foreign Relations. As the cover says, this is a CFR book.  – OhioStandard (talk) 10:51, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Why the publishing role of the Council on Foreign Relations matters:
First, and as stated above, it's relevant to the "blurb", which begins our current "Overview" sectiion, and is taken directly from the "Overview" section of this CFR website page that promotes the book. Or at least the same sentences appear there. We should give our overview, not theirs.
Second, and just as important, it means we can't use the Alexander Brill review. GabrielF was correct to point out my mistake re the publication of that review; it wasn't published by the American Enterprise Institute, where Brill is a research fellow, but in the newsletter of an organization called the "American Council on Germany". The name "Transatlantic Dialogue" is what they call their newsletter. An argument could be made that, as a newsletter, presumably without editorial review in the sense that we think of news sources having that valuable function, Transatlantic Dialogue is not an admissable source. But we don't need to have that argument.
In researching this, I discovered that Alexander Brill cannot be considered to be a source that's independent of the putative or arguable publisher, the Council on Foreign Relations. He's a member of that group of roughly 4,300 (mostly) men, and only a junior member at that, what they call a "term member", which means that he's essentially in a five-year try-out or on-probation phase. When he turns 36, from what I read at the relevant section of the CFR membership requirements page, he'll lose his ability to hang out with the big boys unless they vote to keep him around, i.e. to approve him as a full, permanent member.
Brill is certainly smart enough to know that if he pleases senior fellows like Dan Senor and the publishing arm of CFR, he's going to have a better chance of being asked to become a full member. Contra-wise, he'd know that a negative review would likely scotch his chances of remaining in that elite and highly-privileged group.
To verify his membership, go to his current employment biography and click on "affiliations" in panel at the left side of that page. You'll see "Term member (2007-present), Council on Foreign Relations". I'm sure no editor here was aware of this, of course. Brill should certainly have made sure the connection was disclosed in the newsletter where it was published; it does not appear there, nor on the website for the American Enterprise Institute. But it certainly means we can't use his review. His conflict of interest is simply to great. For this reason, I've gone ahead and removed it from the article, in this edit.  – OhioStandard (talk) 12:06, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
If you want to argue that Transatlantic Dialogue is not a RS, that's one thing, but COI in wikipedia is relevant to editors not to published information. Brill is certainly an expert on economics both on the basis of his education and his experience. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 13:27, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
If we're cutting a quote of praise, I suggest we take this opportunity to put in the Barron's quote proposed by Gabriel in its place, which is now less redundant but avoids any appearance of reviewer conflict of interest. In any case, though, Brill's review sounds no different than the praise that other, more clearly-neutral reviewers have given the book; while this revelation is interesting, it just means at most that a different name is going to be in front of the praise here. (It doesn't change our need to include that praise). I have to agree with the characterization below that these concerns, while legitimate and worth addressing, do not appear significant enough to merit the POV tag. -- Khazar (talk) 13:38, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
The Brill review we had in the article at least touches on economic issues relevant to the book. The Barron's is just "this is a great book!". No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 13:47, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
The Economist review also touches on economic issues, if you want to re-emphasize those. betsythedevine (talk) 14:53, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Don't forget we still have the Financial Times review by Tobias Buck, the FT’s Jerusalem bureau chief. There may be a few quotes from there of interest. Sean.hoyland - talk 14:05, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
CFR is one of the largest and most prestigious think tanks in the US dealing with foreign policy. I would imagine that a very high percentage of the top scholars in this area have some affiliation with the organization. The foreign policy think tank community is not that big and I would imagine that it would be hard to find a serious reviewer who worked at a US think tank or in government who didn't have some sort of conflict of interest. GabrielF (talk) 14:49, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
What policy or guideline says we can't use material by someone who has a conflict of interest, assuming this guy actually has a conflict of interest? OhioStandard's argument is based on his opinion, not any hard facts. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 15:58, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree, I'm just saying that such a policy would be overly restrictive (not to mention OR). GabrielF (talk) 18:28, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

DYK nomination - proposal[edit]

This article was nominated for DYK and a decision must be made quickly about whether or not to feature it. I'm prepared to have the article featured in its current form and it seems most other editors would concur with that.

I therefore propose that we agree to feature this article in its current form[1] and to refrain from editing the article further until after it has been featured and is off the main page. We've spent far too much time quibbling over debating this nom already and it's time to make a decision one way or another. Please state below whether or not you support this proposal. Gatoclass (talk) 10:15, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Update: I'm putting this proposal on hold to give OhioStandard some time to address some of his outstanding concerns. It's obviously better to have everyone agree on promotion than to try and do so over the objections of good faith contributors. We can review the state of play again in 24 hours or so. Gatoclass (talk) 11:25, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Gato, "quibbling" is hardly civil. It implies that the concerns I've raised aren't significant or legitimate ones. I will not agree to refrain from editing this article, nor, as I've said previously, do I think it's proper for you or anyone else to try to make the editorial process subordinate to the DYK process. Articles that deal with almost any aspect of the Mideast are controversial, and controversy is to be expected in the editorial process. We could have AN/I try to sort this, if you wish to press the point, but I'd really like to avoid the drama, if possible, and I see no reason why we can't resolve this in good faith among participating editors here.
Saying we can't have controversy about inherently controversial subjects so they can get broad exposure via DYK doesn't strike me as a reasonable expectation. I've made it very clear that I'm trying to work with other editors here to resolve the NPOV problems I've identified. I do understand your frustration, though, and I'm sorry for it, of course. But despite the comments that some editors have thought fit to make, I have raised these concerns in good faith, and I expect that to be taken seriously rather than just overridden to satisfy the wish to get a DYK credit. I'll be posting again here to follow up on previous concerns shortly.  – OhioStandard (talk) 10:34, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
My apologies, the "quibbling" comment wasn't meant to be directed at anyone in particular but I concede it was open to misinterpretation. Struck and replaced with more neutral language. Gatoclass (talk) 10:57, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I think your concerns are legitimate, but not significant. The fact there seems to be a consensus of everyone except you (including people on both "sides" of IP viewpoints) that the article can be featured should be enough to have it featured. One editor can't hold an article hostage. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 10:40, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
@ Gato: No worries, and no serious offence taken, of course; thanks for your consideration. I do have time today to try to sort this, btw, or at least to make significant progress in that direction, as I hope. Sorry to have had to absent myself for a bit, earlier, if I didn't say so before. I expect that must have felt frustrating.  – OhioStandard (talk) 11:09, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Okay then, I'm prepared to give you some time to address some of the outstanding issues you have canvassed, per my above comment. For the record, I do think some of your concerns are legitimate, it's just that we can't hold up noms indefinitely at DYK. Gatoclass (talk) 11:25, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Gato. I'm sensible of your willingness to AGF in what I recognize seems an ambiguous instance to some editors here; I doubt you'll regret the courtesy. And thanks, too, for your mention that you see some of the concerns I've expressed as legitimate. If you have time ( I know this has been a huge time sink for you already ) I'd be pleased if you'd be able to weigh in at the section above as to which issues you think are most pressing or important. I'm confident we can all of us work this out, to the point where everyone will be able to at least grudgingly accept what we end up with.  – OhioStandard (talk) 12:27, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
@ Guy: Hmm, I'm sorry that you infer so unpleasant an intention. I could make guesses about your intentions, as well, but I doubt that would be very productive toward resolving the problem. But you don't find, for example, that the article has twice as much praise as criticism in the "critical reception" section, to be a "significant" objection, not to mention the other two sections being almost exclusively praise, as well? How about allowing me to go through the mixed reviews from which only "praise" comments have been pulled, and instead pull "critical" quotes and represent those reviews only in the "criticism" section. You're telling me you'd be okay with the situation, were it reversed, in other words?  – OhioStandard (talk) 11:09, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Your intentions are not the issue here. The fact is that everyone except you thinks this article can be featured. As I think I already said in a previous comment, I don't really care about DYK but I find the fact that one involved editor can block a nomination completely ridiculous. This place is supposed to work by consensus. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 11:22, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

<--The policy at DYK is that articles should be NPOV before getting featured via DYK. A few days ago, I thought the article was NPOV "enough", especially considering the huge mess it was before Gilabrand, GilbertF, Gatoclass, and several good others went to work on it. As a result, I am willing to compromise on what I think are still article problems as a way to recognize the good-will collegial efforts of others (you guys deserve Barnstars!) and the fact that DYK is not the same as GA. But then we got a couple of destabilizing edits from people importing WP:BATTLEGROUND attitudes [2] and [3]. Those are troubling, and aggressive edits to articles about to appear on the front page via DYK are not unknown. I would be glad to support the idea of Gatoclass to pick a good compromise version and freeze that while this article goes to DYK. I also understand the concern of OhioStandard that the compromise version should take some account of his legitimate concerns. I think now we are all agreed that some version of this article will soon be OK for DYK placement, aren't we? betsythedevine (talk) 14:39, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

user:betsythedevine the only differnces between this edit of yours and this edit of mine is that I inserted a quote from a notable and reliable source. You inserted a quote from not reliable Palestinian advocacy site. The only differnce in the behavior was that when my edit was removed I agreed to go with consensus while you took the article "hostage" by tagging it. With this single edit of yours you have turned an article about the book on Israeli start-ups to yet one more I/P battleground field. You almost got blocked because you were edit warring on this article, and now you are accusing other editors in WP:BATTLEGROUND. Broccolo (talk) 20:01, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Look at the state of the article before my first edit: [4]. Instead of just tagging it, I tried to improve it. My edit you object to was inexpert and tactless (and I have apologized here on this talk page) but it was a good-faith effort to add one sentence of quoted material from a review that had already been cited by Mbz, into a paragraph that was already in the article. I tagged the article as POV because it was, and because the edit-warring that ensued (started by Broccolo) made it unstable. Broccolo's recent edit added a new paragraph to the top of the consensus article section of "Praise." Nuff said about editors rather than edits, unless somebody wants to continue at WP:AE. betsythedevine (talk) 23:06, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I certainly hope so, Betsy. ( It would be helpful to know if there's some kind of "drop-dead date" for DYK that we're approaching? ) Despite our widely varying opinions I think that's probable if we'll all try to keep our egos out of this as much as possible. Due weight remains a large concern, but I intend to read through all the sources that have been mentioned and try to objectively score each for its overall positive versus negative content. That's tedious, but there's really no other way to fairly assess due weight when there's contention over the issue.
We also need to decide, as a group, whether to include any biographical details. Did all of you know that Senor and Singer are brothers-in-law? Or that Senor is himself a heavyweight venture capitalist who has visited Israel searching for companies to invest in pretty much every other quarter, beginning in 2001? It seems remiss not to tell our readers anything about the authors, especially when the article is so short. Why should we keep interesting biographical details that are relevant to the book from our readers?  – OhioStandard (talk) 21:21, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I've got no problem including biographical details that are included in coverage of the book. Combining our outside research on the book's authors with the book's coverage, however, seems again like clear original research to me. I feel our job is to report on details about the book that other authors and commentators have found significant, and I remain uncomfortable with Ohio's suggestions throughout this page that we should steer or revise that coverage based on his/her independent findings, which clearly skew to a specific POV. If the reliable-source reviews feel these elements of Senor's background are a significant part of the book's evaluation, though, that's fine with me. If only one source mentions them, perhaps we can give that due weight by simply mentioning it as part of the sentence for that review. Does that make sense?
I also want to note again that while these issues are worth discussing--I do agree with a few points Ohio raised above--I don't see them as serious enough to merit a unilaterally-placed POV tag against the objections of a hard-won, multi-sided editorial consensus. As is, the article already presents substantial arguments for all sides of this debate, and the continued refinement could have been discussed without the provocation of an anti-consensus tag. I know you mean well, Ohio, but I'm sure you can understand the frustration that the rest of us are feeling at your actions. -- Khazar (talk) 21:53, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
+1 on all counts. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 22:00, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Presenting simple facts in a neutral way from reliable sources about the background of a person who's highly relevant to an article is by no stretch of the imagination "original research". That Dan Senor is a venture capitalist who invests in Israel is highly relevant to our reader's understanding of this book's perspective, for example. So is the fact that he's a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow who, as the Jewish Daily Forward put it re AIPAC, "still maintains ties to the lobby". I don't understand why some of you seem to think that readers can't or shouldn't be trusted with that basic information.
Three of you also keep suggesting, more or less directly or indirectly, that I'm standing alone here and thereby demonstrating bias. A fourth is doing so to a lesser extent and in a more respectful way. We need to address that if we're going to proceed on an AGF basis. Will you please be as absolutely simple and direct as you know how to be, to concisely answer two questions, GabrielF, Guy, Broccolo, and Khazar?
(1) If this were a book by Noam Chomsky that we were reviewing, would some of you be fighting to keep basic information about his background and affiliations out of the article?
(2) If this were a book about college life published by a certain fraternity, would some of you say, "Well, sure we can use a review of the book written by a pledge to that fraternity"?
Alex Brill is effectively a pledge of the Council on Foreign Relations that calls itself the publisher of this book, of course. I assure you that I understand your frustration, and that I accept it as legitimate. If you'll answer these two questions with the seriousness I've asked of you, you'll have a better chance at being able to understand and accept mine.  – OhioStandard (talk) 05:31, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Ohio, you appear to be implying that I'd have a different approach if it was Chomsky, but that's really not the case. (Have I misled you into thinking I'm some kind of neocon? A glance at my user page might give you a better sense where my interests lie.) My answer would be the same; if the reviews of the book touched on Chomsky's other activism, fair game. If the coverage of that specific book didn't see it as relevant to discussion of the book, there's no need for us to assemble that argument ourselves. Looking at a pair of books of Chomsky's, Lectures_on_Government_and_Binding:_The_Pisa_Lectures and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, I don't see a revelatory "about the author" section of the kind you're advocating in any case (and if I did, and it wasn't from secondary sources, I'd delete it anyway). Your fraternity example I'm just going to reject as a reach; I don't buy them as the same. I mentioned above that I'm fine with losing it as a minor source (Transatlantic Dialogues), and we can just put the Barron's quotation in its place, which is a more notable publication that avoids these issues.
You call on us to be as direct and honest as we can; I feel I have been, but let me try to be more so. Your suggestion that we insert your research on the authors--research not elsewhere in the literature on this book--is, to me, a clear violation of OR. Your suggestion below that we insert your research to discredit the metrics that our sources use to evaluate this book is mind-bogglingly OR. I feel you're behaving unilaterally and disruptively despite our good-faith attempts to work with you on your concerns, such as my reinsertion of the POV tag yesterday and my agreeing with several of your points above. You're welcome to correct my understanding, but you appear to be arguing that until you're allowed to insert your personal research on the authors--research that does not appear to come from secondary literature on Start-Up Nation--into the article, you will attempt to maintain this POV tag regardless of consensus, and you have appeared to grow repeatedly heated at anyone's suggestion that you do not have the right to act in this way. I've done my best to AGF, but it's difficult for me to see your demands as free of SOAPBOXing at this point.
The best I can say is that I'll be glad to work with you to create a separate article on Senor if you like, and this would clearly be a useful addition. (It would also be linked to this article's page for the curious). I can also work with you on some of the points you mentioned above. Or we can see what there is to find in the existing work on this book about the background of the authors. Or we can try to write and publish an article for a reliable separate publication on your findings discrediting the NASDAQ as a metric and exposing Senor's past; then that information could be legitimately included here. But not before, I don't think. Until the commentators and critics find this information relevant, I don't think it belongs in the article.-- Khazar (talk) 06:12, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Before this debate goes any farther, are we absolutely sure no authors already writing about the book have touched on the same information you're researching? If we can just demonstrate that the secondary literature is concerned with Senor's background, we can start giving it its due weight in the article, no problem. -- Khazar (talk) 06:21, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
My bad, such a Senor article already exists. Have you considered just inserting the information of concern there, Ohio? That way the information would be readily available to the interested reader, but it skirts the OR problem here. -- Khazar (talk) 06:30, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) I wasn't clear enough above, evidently. I wrote that the Jewish Daily Forward said, speaking of Dan Senor and AIPAC, that he "still maintains ties to the lobby". I was referring to the Forward cite that's already in our article, and has been for a long while. My questions weren't primarily directed your way, either, Khazar; I'm sorry that I evidently made you feel singled out unfairly. You were the milder and more respectful fourth that I mentioned, if that helps at all.
You've made your view about admissability of information about the authors clear, though, as you have your objection to the idea that Israelis are more entrepreneurial than the citizens of any other nation is an exceptional claim. I continue to maintain it is. We have one book that says so, and a whole lot of reviews basically repeating that book's stats and claims. I'd be more willing to assert it in Wikipedia's voice if there were multiple sources or studies unrelated to the book that made the same claim that Israelis are superior to all other nationals in that way. But GabrielF, Broccolo, and Guy, would you please provide a concise answer, too? I'd appreciate that.  – OhioStandard (talk) 06:47, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
As noted above, then, I'd support tagging on a sentence to the line about that review noting that this author observed that connection. If only one review mentions it, I'm not sure it calls for its own section. As for the other, as long as our sources repeat the book's stats and claims, I'd argue it is our job to do so as well; since these claims are' being reported in mainstream media, are not a statement out of character for their speaker, and do not appear to significantly alter "mainstream assumptions", I don't see how they meet the any of the three criteria for REDFLAG. Given the press this book has received and the prominence of its author, if its claims really were so transparently outrageous to merit the REDFLAG, it wouldn't be left to a handful of determined Wiki editors to expose the real truth of the matter--at least one of these reviewers would do it for us. If it's good enough for Forbes, I'd say it's good enough for Wikipedia. We're only here to report. Thanks for hearing out my long-winded post above. -- Khazar (talk) 06:55, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) One brief rejoinder for now, Khasar. ( Thanks for your post, too. ) I don't understand why you took away the impression that I wanted to "insert my research" re the question I posed about the Nasdaq as a metric. I don't believe I expressed any such desire, and the intention you credit me with re that section wasn't one that I had in mind at all. You might like to look at the question I raised there again. My principal intention was to illustrate my view that this book makes an exceptional leap from one of its principal metrics to the conclusion that Israelis excel other nationals as entrepreneurs. ( I understand you disagree, of course. ) I'd still like to hear from Broccolo, Guy, and GabrielF, though, if they're willing, on my two questions.  – OhioStandard (talk) 07:14, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
My answer to your questions would be the same as Khazar's. While I don't think the Brill review should be replaced with Barron's, if that's the consensus here then so be it. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 10:23, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
If the two questions you refer to are the ones about Chomsky and Brill than my answers are (1) I've said repeatedly that I'm okay with adding basic biographical information, although I have some concerns about editors cherrypicking information that implies a particular viewpoint about the author and (2) that I think your assertions about Brill's conflict of interest is based on your original research and you haven't convinced me that its a relevant concern. There are 5,000 CFR members, including (I would bet) a good portion of the American journalists and researchers who study the Middle East. In the real world people who review books often have some connection to the author. The fact that the guy is a member of a large organization at which one of the authors is an adjunct senior fellow strikes me as perfectly normal. GabrielF (talk) 15:39, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Comparison to articles about some similar books[edit]

For comparison, I looked at articles for 4 books that shared the NYT Business Best Sellers list on 1/2/2001, Superfreakonomics, Outliers_(book), Too_Big_to_Fail_(book), and The 4-Hour Workweek.

Overview section is called "Synopsis" and starts w restatement of book's thesis and summary of its introduction. It then discusses in order the basic contents of chapters 1 thru 5 and concludes with brief summary of epilogue.

Article starts with "Background", a long description of author and his reasons for writing the book. "Synopsis" section, which is quite long, talks about book's contents at length and quotes from the author.

Very short article, whose "Plot Summary" section might as well be quoted in full here: "The book provides an overview of the early stages of the financial crisis of 2007–2010 from the beginning of 2008 to the decision to create the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The book tells the story from the perspectives of the leaders of the major financial institutions and the main regulatory authorities."

The "Synopsis" section summarizes 4 main chapters in order and the author's advice to readers.

None of these articles includes any of the publisher's blurb for the book, let alone starting off the overview section with a lengthy quote from it. All of them use the synopsis or plot summary to summarize, in an orderly way, what the author says in the book, rather than quoting from reviews of the book.

By the way, shouldn't this article's title be the same as the book's title? We don't have articles titled SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, Outliers: The Story of Success, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves, or The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. betsythedevine (talk) 14:46, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

A synopsis section would be good. We'd need someone who actually read the book for that though. Anyone?
Looks like you're right about the article title as well. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 14:57, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Good on you, Betsy, for catching the title gaffe. Yes, we need to move this to Start-up Nation.  – OhioStandard (talk) 05:47, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I would like somebody more knowledgeable than I am to fix the title problem. I did create a re-direct here from Start-up Nation when I noticed that was a redlink, and I don't know how to untangle the two pages now. betsythedevine (talk) 15:17, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Should we pass along the implication that Nasdaq listings correlate to entrepreneurial ability?[edit]

As I understand it, the authors base much of their case on their statement that Israeli companies are represented on the Nasdaq in numbers disproportionate to the country's population. If we leave aside what they determine is an Israeli company, and accept the authors' count of 63 such companies on the Nasdaq, out something like 2,250 firms listed there, that still leaves a very relevant question unanswered: Does the occurrence of lots of such companies on the Nasdaq translate to a higher entrepreneurial ability for Israelis than for the citizens of countries to which the authors compare Israel? Perhaps not. As anyone who has taken basic statistics knows, correlation does not imply causality.

Perhaps not: Correlation does not imply causality

Does having 63 Nasdaq listings mean Israelis excel others in entrepreneurship?

It's worth asking how attractive Israel's only stock market, the so-called TASE, is to potential investors and to small companies interested in going public? How attractive, compared to say, Germany or Japan's domestic stock markets? I understand from our article on it that the TASE has been growing, but I don't know enough to answer these questions relative to other nation's capital markets. I do know that investors are not typically thrilled to flock to a stock market in any country that's so often engaged in warfare, nor are they typically fond of capital markets in countries that are heavily dependent on foreign aid, as Israel is, or that have a smaller population: Israel has 7.5 million people, approximately, compared to Germany's 82 million or Japan's 128 million. To name just one reason for that, smaller domestic markets mean less opportunity for sales at home, with more emphasis being necessarily placed on export markets, with all the risk and complexity that entails.

And, of course, the U.S. would be the logical choice for Israeli startups, for multiple reasons: It's stable, it has (reasonably) transparent governance and auditing laws, reasonably well-regulated capital markets, and a robust venture-capital and investment banking industry. Further, it's likely that many or even most of the venture capitalists and "big money men" who invest in Israeli companies live in the United States; Dan Senor, the co-author of this book does, for example. Naturally, American investors are likely to have listing on American stock markets, rather than foreign ones, as their ultimate "exit strategy" goal. Further, Israel's overall business ties to America are probably greater than with any other nation, and it certainly has much greater political influence in America, than it has elsewhere in the world.

Besides these reasons that Israeli firms might prefer U.S. capital markets, there's also the factor that the U.S. is one of the few countries that hasn't condemned Israel's occupation of Palestine and blockade of Gaza, or its settlements and barrier-building, as violations of international law. European stock markets would present a potential risk to Israeli investors and companies for that reason. That is, capital governed by European laws would be at least marginally at risk for "freezes" or "seizures" of assets. This would a potential concern especially for firms that operate in the large defense sector, and possibly re firms involved in construction of new settlements. Similarly, some Israeli officials or heads of military manufacturing companies could potentially risk arrest under local or International Criminal Court warrants at some future date if they were to travel to certain European countries that strongly condemn the Israel's policies. Then, of course, there's the language issue. English is likely to be more accessible to Israelis than the native languages of most European or non-Western countries.

It seems very probable, for these reasons, that (perhaps after the TASE, perhaps not) the Nasdaq is the logical choice for listing smaller Israeli companies, and that it is not the logical choice for the companies of other nations, e.g. Germany or Japan. It would require significant research to determine one way or the other, but I don't think we can just pass along the implication to our readers that its Nasdaq listings prove that citizens of Israel are more entrepreneurial than the citizens of other countries. And we certainly can't responsibly pass that tacit implication along "in Wikipedia's voice", as I see it. YMMV.  – OhioStandard (talk) 15:07, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Btw, I'll say it in advance: I'm as familiar with wp:nor as anyone here. That policy doesn't mean, however, that we're obliged to pass along a metric as implying something about causality where we have a reasonable basis for questioning its the validity for that purpose. The no original research policy doesn't mean that we're forbidden to use our brains, in other words. If you want a policy basis for that, see wp:redflag re the rather extraordinary claim implicit in all this, that Israelis are superior to the rest of the world's citizens in their start-up and entrepreneurial abilities.  – OhioStandard (talk) 15:07, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Seriously? You're challenging a premise of the book based on your reading of the TASE article on wikipedia? That's textbook OR, your disclaimer notwithstanding.
The authors of the book are free to imply whatever they want about causality and we can report what reliable sources say about that, not what editors think about it.
We have several high quality RS already in the article. Does any of them support your OR or call the claim extraordinary? I don't think so. On the contrary. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 15:45, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree with NMMMNG. If it's a good enough metric for our sources, it's good enough for us. It is 100% not our job as Wikipedia editors to set up our own judgment in place of the metric referenced by our reliable sources, and do so would, to me, smack of both POV-pushing and OR. -- Khazar (talk) 15:59, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
We have plenty of sources from the business press (the Economist for one, here's one from the Wall Street Journal[5]) that state the book's claims about Israel's leadership in start-ups as fact. If you want articles that are independent of the book, here's one from fast company[6] and here's one from business week [7]. I have some familiarity with the high-tech sector in the US and I am not surprised that this is true. The Technion has an exceptional reputation and there are a number of prominent Israelis in computer science - a few that spring immediately to mind are the founder of Akamai, the PHP/Zend guys and Adi Shamir, the S in RSA. There is no case for WP:REDFLAG here. GabrielF (talk) 16:12, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Building Israel's Small Business and Microenterprise Sector.

"Israel faces a major challenge to its economic growth. Those seeking to escape the country's growing poverty have to confront the combination of an ongoing credit crunch, the technology market crash, recession from which the country is barely starting to recover (in January, 2005), high unemployment, banking concentration among the highest in the world, underdevelopment of a local equity and bond market, the Intifada, failed government initiatives in small business finance, and lack of public policies supporting financial innovations in credit management."

So begins the executive summary section of a report published in January, 2005 by the Milken Institute. Free from this site as this pdf.

So, yeah, foreign stock markets would be sought out by Israeli companies disproportionately relative to countries like Germany and Japan, for many of the reasons I identified above, and the Nasdaq would be their obvious choice. I'm sure things changed in the four years after this was published, but the acknowledgments section of Start-up Nation says their research encompasses 2001 forward to their 2009 publication date. Read the Milken Institute report and compare it to Start-up Nation. Has my skepticism about this book's gushing praise for the business scene in Israel been so misplaced? No, I'm not proposing we put this in the article. I'm saying we have grounds for taking WP:REDFLAG more seriously than anyone else appears to have been willing to do so far re this book's exceptional claims. We have ample grounds to do so, and shouldn't state Start-up Nation's assertions and conclusions as if they were simply facts, not using Wikipedia's voice.  – OhioStandard (talk) 10:29, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

You're just going deeper and deeper into OR territory. Your personal thoughts about how a report published in 2005 relates to a book published in 2009 are irrelevant. REDFLAG doesn't mean "this sounds weird to me". We have plenty of high quality RS that specifically support the claims made in the book. Can you quote the parts of REDFLAG you think apply here? No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 13:11, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I'd also add to NMNNG's point that the PDF is about small business and microenterprise in general in Israel and the book is about high-tech startups. They really aren't equivalent. The environment for, say, a new restaurant is very different than a software company. GabrielF (talk) 13:36, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Ohio, if you want to draft your proposed change to show us here, I'm willing to take a look. But my first reaction is to agree with Guy. REDFLAG lists three criteria, and this sentence doesn't meet any of them. This book's claims have been widely reported by accepted commentators, including leading business magazines, rather than rejected as earth-shatteringly odd at face value as REDFLAG would imply. Nor do I read the lead sentence as you've repeatedly stated it here, that Israelis are the world's leading entrepeneurs; rather, I simply read it that they led in a particular metric (or rather, took 2nd place), which they unquestionably, numerically do. It's not unreasonable to correlate leadership in an economic statistic to economic growth, especially when all the commentators on the book appear to agree with this correlation, and especially when we make it clear that this question is from our specific source (the book).
And you were right above that I misrepresented your approach, for which I apologize. But I'm still concerned that rather than inserting your own research into the article, you appear to want to keep the comments of other sources out of the article based on your own research. I'm sorry to say this still seems to me to be six of one and half dozen of the other. -- Khazar (talk) 13:41, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

DYK good to go[edit]

In case anybody's not following there, too, the DYK discussion has been closed and the article approved for the front page by Admin Jayjg. -- Khazar (talk) 23:04, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, he did so at 00:40, 9 May 2011 UTC. I don't see that ending well. Plot Spoiler actually moved it to prep area 1 earlier, at 2:41, 8 May 2011 UTC, but Materialscientist moved it back to T:TDYK shortly afterwards. That was around the time that "Broccolo" chose to characterize me as insufficiently stable and another pro-Israeli editor I've never "met" chose to favor me with "psychotic" on someone else's talk page. I didn't mind too much, though. The man who talks to me through the toaster said I shouldn't worry about it, and so did the magical aardvaark who lives in my bathtub. ;-)  – OhioStandard (talk) 06:18, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Hey man, don't knock the words of the aardvark. If you had told me that was your secondary source, I would have been with you all the way... --Khazar (talk) 06:24, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

AIPAC line[edit]

I added in a brief mention of AIPAC following our Forward source and apparent agreement by Guy and Ohio. For now I think this its due weight, but if it's regularly mentioned in other sources, I'd be up for breaking it out into a full "About the Author" section as proposed above. -- Khazar (talk) 14:24, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Thank you, Khazar, for your generous efforts to improve the article. betsythedevine (talk) 15:14, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Aw, shucks. -- Khazar (talk) 16:50, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry AIPAC has nothing whatsoever to do with this and it's even more fishy that it's include in the criticism section. Seems like well poisoning to me. Plot Spoiler (talk) 18:08, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry you found my edit to be fishy well-poisoning that has nothing to do with the topic. Clearly, this is the sort of cool and rational response which, when combined with a unilateral revert, is going to move this discussion right along. That author found it significant enough to connect with her discussion of the book; I think that's enough to justify its inclusion when we discuss her response. Whether she's acting as a well-poisoner is for readers to decide, I think, not our independent judgment of whether her response is appropriate. Again, I think our job is to report what's being said about this book, not to determine what should be said. (See also my response to Ohio re: NASDAQ).-- Khazar (talk) 18:18, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually, the mention really isn't in context of the book. The book is mentioned after the mention of AIPAC. The article is more a personal profile on Senor and his burgeoning political career than about the book. It's also unclear what "ties" he has to the lobby beyond speaking at their convention. A lot of people speak at AIPAC conventions. Plot Spoiler (talk) 18:33, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to thank Khazar for their genuine efforts to improve the article, but I agree with Plot Spoiler and Gabriel. This information about the author simply should not be in the article. It is a cherry-picked information that was initially added to discredit the author somehow. I am also against renaming the article.--Broccolo (talk) 18:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I'd say the rename is practically a done deal. See WP:Naming conventions (books)#Subtitles: "Usually, a Wikipedia article on a book does not include its subtitle in the Wikipedia page name. The only exception to that is short titles, for disambiguation purposes." (emphasis in original) — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 19:02, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Given that the author talks about the book in the line before she mentions the internship and in the line after she mentions the internship, I'd argue that the connection is clear enough. Even if it's cherry-picked well-poisoning (and I see how you could make a case here), I'd still say it's the author doing the cherry-picking, not us; this is the biographical detail she chooses to frame her discussion of the book with. But I'm interested to hear from other editors on this, and if there's a strong oppositional consensus I won't stand in its way. -- Khazar (talk) 18:53, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
But there's nothing whatsoever wrong with someone working with AIPAC. If a reviewer in a reliable source thinks it's pertinent to an understanding of the book and the author's motivations etc, it can't simply by dismissed by people who are under the impression that working with AIPAC is a federal crime or something and best not mentioned in polite society. It's not a big deal. He worked with AIPAC. Good for him. Sean.hoyland - talk 18:57, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong. But it's a tiny piece of cherry-picked information that seems to have his little bearing on Senor's career as compared to his service for the U.S. government in Iraq for example. It's unclear even what his relationship with AIPAC currently is beyond just speaking out one of his conventions, which many people outside of the organization do. Plot Spoiler (talk) 19:01, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
An important distinction here: are you and Broccolo suggesting that I cherry-picked this information, or that this reviewer did? If the former, I disagree; I'm including it because this reviewer clearly frames her discussion with Senor's alleged ties to Israel. If the latter, I don't think we can censor a reliable source just because we disagree with her tactics. -- Khazar (talk) 19:05, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
She mentions it in the context of an overall profile of Senor. You are including in the context of this book, which make it seem cherry-picked, especially given the tenuous relationship he has with the organization in the first place. Plot Spoiler (talk) 19:11, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
But it's The Forward, not some dimwitted publication. The Forward cherry-picked it. They're allowed to pick the cherries when they are describing the tree. It's disheartening to see people trying to remove information from quality sources. The article isn't too large. Nothing bad is going to happen if we include reliably sourced information whether it's positive, negative or neutral. Israel isn't a baby anymore and neither is this article. We don't need to be so sensitive about what reliable sources say. We just need to reflect what they say. Sean.hoyland - talk 19:18, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Put it on his personal Wikipedia page, not the book. It doesn't belong. Plot Spoiler (talk) 19:24, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying. Well, here's a break down of how I read the relevant two paragraphs, starting at "Senor, 38, also has strong connections...": Sentence 1: she connects the book explicitly to Senor's Israeli ties. Sentence 2 and 3: She details Senor's alleged ties to Israeli lobbying. Sentence 4: she alleges that the book has an extremely pro-Israeli spin. Sentence 5: She mentions that this pro-Israeli message overlooks certain aspects of the situation and appears tailored to mesh with current Israeli public relations efforts.
In short, she states, back-to-back-to-back, that Senor interned for a pro-Israeli lobby, remains connected with them, and that his book appears to match their current "spin". I'm surprised you would want to accuse me of cherry-picking for having read back-to-back sentences that continue each other's ideas; to me it's just a basic reading comprehension skill. -- Khazar (talk) 19:27, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
(ec x6)I have to agree with Sean here (and if this keeps up, I'm going to have to have a chat with the guy in the toaster). I don't see the big deal. So he worked with AIPAC. So what? It's not like the fact he likes Israel can't be gleaned from the other reviews we already have in the article. Also, I think the term is "card stacking" rather than "well poisoning". No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 19:43, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

May I suggest a compromise? How about we have a short biography section that says that Senor is an investment banker, an adjunct fellow at CFR and the former Coalition spokesmen in Iraq and that Singer is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post instead of the AIPAC stuff. I think that will do a much better job of establishing where the authors are coming from than the fact that Senor has "ties" to AIPAC. I think it would be very strange to mention an organization where the author worked when he was (probably) 20 and now has nebulous connections to and not the organizations that the authors currently work for or worked for in the very recent past. I'd also argue that the Forward is talking about and assessing Senor as a potential candidate and that it mentions his affiliations with Israel as a means of establishing his bona fides with the Forward's Jewish readership. (The Forward is a New York-based Jewish paper originally published in the Yiddish language). My reading of the relevant section in the Forward piece is that they are saying that the book happens to have a message that fits well with what Israeli leaders are interested in promoting (notably a positive view of Israel outside the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). I don't think that this is necessarily "criticism" of the book so much as it is a discussion of how Senor might sell himself as a candidate. If you look at some of the later paragraphs in the article, which discuss how Senor might spin his CPA work this is very clear. Also, see the following sentence: "Senor’s book would have presented him with a good platform, many of these consultants said. It offers prescriptions for how to instill a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity even in the most difficult conditions, a message that might resonate in today’s economic climate." To make a long story short I think its tenuous to tie the book to AIPAC based on this source and it would be better to state the authors' current and very recent work (which do a better job of demonstrating their ideological perspective - which team they're playing for if I may put it crudely) and be done with it.GabrielF (talk) 21:02, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Think that's a reasonable way of moving forward. Plot Spoiler (talk) 21:04, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I still think it's worth noting that this source explicitly ties this book to Israeli lobbying efforts, and notes that Senor has a history with said efforts. I don't think our goal should be to show Senor's "team", but simply to summarize how the sources describe the book. To construct our own biographical section, rather than to use the biographical details the source highlighted as particular relevance to this book, still strikes me as a bit ORish. I do agree that that sentence about the senate is worth inserting, though. In any case, I'll cheerfully abide by the group consensus, and appreciate your efforts to seek compromise. -- Khazar (talk) 21:53, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
I liked Khazar's one-sentence gesture to the concern expressed by Gatoclass, OhioStandard, and me. So apparently did Sean Hoyland. I note however that Plot Spoiler removed that sentence with no indication of consensus supporting his move and nobody has put it back again. I think I am correctly describing the consensus, but I hesitate to put the sentence back lest I be accused of edit-warring. I would also support the suggestion by GabrielF, but the fait accompli is that PlotSpoiler removed author info and nothing replaced it. As an unrelated question, is this a spamlink? [8] betsythedevine (talk) 02:47, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
The editor in question created Erel Margalit a few days ago and it got tagged as an orphan. It's probably just a good-faith attempt to build the web by connecting up Margalit, but I agree with your implication that it seems to give Margalit undue weight here, and I'd support its removal. Cheers Khazar (talk) 03:02, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Its a little bit spammy given that the authors interviewed far more prominent people like Shimon Peres, who doesn't get a mention. GabrielF (talk) 03:51, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal mention that Senor was a Bush administration official and an investment banker and that Singer is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post in their reviews.[9][10] I'm sure those facts are in other sources as well. GabrielF (talk) 03:16, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
That's good by me then, Gabriel. Thanks for doing the legwork on that. --Khazar (talk) 03:22, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
  • "I think it would be very strange to mention an organization where the author worked when he was (probably) 20 and now has nebulous connections to...", says Gabriel.
But the connection isn't so nebulous, nor so long ago, either. Try May, 2011. Yup, twelve days from now. Al-Jazeerah reports that Senor is one of a dozen speakers who will share the podium at AIPAC's Annual Policy Conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, Senator Harry Reid, & etc. His topic will be "the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship". From what I see on the web, he speaks for or to AIPAC many times a year, and has done for years. I won't say he's their poster boy, but he's working on it.
And AIPAC helped promote Start-up Nation all across the United States, as well. They set up "AIPAC Community Briefings" to flog the book; you can find instances of the same from Washington D.C. to Washington State. AIPAC and the "Combined Jewish Philanthropies" organization jointly presented him to promote the book, and that same philanthropic org featured him as the draw for a $10,000 a plate/year kosher dinner so he could gab to rich people about it. Or maybe it was $10K per couple; the website doesn't make that very clear.
If sharing a reliable source's comment about Senor's AIPAC ties is "cherry picking" then it's raining great hugh cherries and we're up to our ankles in them. Our readers should know this.
Btw, Plot Spoiler? I'm afraid toaster man isn't speaking to you, but magical aardvark says you're not to call people mean names. :P  – OhioStandard (talk) 23:15, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
You're a swell guy/girl/transgender person. You just seem to have a special affinity for the People of the Book. Bless you child. Yes, Senor is active with Israeli PR efforts but the connection with AIPAC remains vague, since it is not formalized. Would you mention it on Jim Woolsey and Harry Reid's page that they have a relationship with AIPAC because they spoke at their policy conference? It would be tenuous. Additionally, keep in mind that this is the page for the book, not the person... but you be a good little aardvark and keep digging for information. It seems you excel at finding even the tiniest little morsels. Plot Spoiler (talk) 23:39, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
In all sober earnest, PS, the right thing would have simply been to apologize here in our first meeting, rather than to speak derisively. I'm giving you the respect of assuming that you know your comments were wrong.  – OhioStandard (talk) 00:00, 11 May 2011 (UTC)