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Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East Hardcover – August 13, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; 1 edition (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230342221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230342224
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


One of the Best Business Books on Globablization of 2013 — Strategy+Business

"[Schroeder] paints a remarkable picture of the entrepreneurial shift going on in Dubai, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and other regions...illuminating."—Publishers Weekly

"The narrative really comes alive when the author chronicles the activities of the tech-savvy young Eygptians, Jordanians and Lebanese who are beginning to create new kinds of hope for their countries... his accounts of Jordan, where youth programs are providing opportunities to explore notions of self-determination while learning about entrepreneurship, are particularly fascinating.  A lively introduction to a new generation's efforts to shape a future free of outdated notions of entitlement."—Kirkus

"Provides a refreshing break from the hackneyed analyses of the region that reduce its people to cultural cliches while ignoring the other things that motivate young Arabs (like people everywhere...)" —Financial Times

“What Schroeder found will startle even the most jaded observer.” —The Washington Post

"Entrepreneurship isn't about just starting a business--it's a way of looking at the world. In this terrific book, Schroeder profiles dozens of innovators in the Middle East who are world class exemplars of this way of thinking. They're taking control of their lives, starting amazing businesses, and changing the world. There's no better guide to the Middle East's own Silicon Valley than Christopher M. Schroeder. Highly recommended."--Reid Hoffman, co-founder/chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 NYT bestseller The Start-up of You

"Here’s a book that makes you think beyond the gloomy headlines about the Middle East--and see how smart men and women are building the foundations of a prosperous future. In Startup Rising, Christopher M. Schroeder takes readers on a guided tour of the entrepreneurial movement that has gone almost unnoticed as the Arab Spring shatters the old political order. By the end of the book you’ll be rooting for these young business leaders and  gutsy innovators to build the Arab 21st century." —David Ignatius, columnist, The Washington Post

"Christopher M. Schroeder has a message we should all hear loud and clear: To hell with pessimism about the Middle East. In Startup Rising, Chris’s more than one dozen trips across the Arab world are woven together into a deeply personal and detail filled narrative of how technology can transform social and political orders from the ground up. He convincingly shows Arabs rich and poor seizing the moment, and converting centuries of entrepreneurial spirit into disruptive and positive energy. The startups rising in the wake of the Arab Spring will ensure that the region isn’t left behind." —Parag Khanna, international bestselling author of The Second World, How to Run the World, and Hybrid Reality

"In this rich and incisive book Christopher Schroeder tells a fascinating tale about another Middle East, where new ideas, bustling startups, and promising ventures, as opposed to politics and violence, are shaping the future. A rare and eye-opening first hand account that provides a powerful explanation for why the Arab Spring happened, and why its future may yet be brighter than headline news suggest. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the Middle East or how entrepreneurship and technology startups take flight." —Vali Nasr, author of Forces of Fortune and The Dispensable Nation

"Startup Rising is one of the first to cover this very important topic: The young entrepreneurs who are the major driving force in the future growth and development of the Arab World." —Wael Ghonim, Founder and Chairman, Nabadat Foundation, and author of Revolution 2.0

"Startup Rising is contrarian, as are many great entrepreneurs: His stories of people, innovation, and ideas in the Middle East are cautiously hopeful--a contrast to the grim news stories. Full of policy and investment insight, this is a bottom-up look at the new generation of tech entrepreneurs of the Middle East that are fast becoming their countries' greatest resource." —Robert B. Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank Group, US Trade Representative, and Deputy Secretary of State

"This is one of the rare books that will change how you see the world. Christopher M. Schroeder brings to life the emerging Middle East entrepreneurial ecosystems, providing a powerful understanding of entrepreneurship anywhere in the world and specifically of the Middle East’s emerging generation of questioning risk-takers." —Marvin Ammori, Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow, The New America Foundation

"Startup Rising shatters our stereotypes of the Middle East. You can just feel the dynamism bubbling up from below and sense the immense possibilities for the future.  Schroeder’s ability to tell this fascinating story of the breadth and depth of entrepreneurship in the region is stunning." —James Goldgeier, Dean, School of International Service, American University

"Startup Rising powerfully articulates what we instinctively know to be true--each country, region, and society has the will and talent to determine its own future. Schroeder illuminates a Middle East poised for entrepreneurial growth, fueled by innovation, and ready to turn opportunity into impact and collective progress for both women and men." —Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership

"Christopher M. Schroeder identifies the trends reshaping the Middle East from the bottom-up. He talks to the entrepreneurs at the cutting edge to reveal the revolution the media has missed--whether  in mobile technologies, consumer products, or, yes, women eager to make their mark. This book is essential for anyone looking to understand--or invest in--the new Middle East." —Karen Kornbluh, former US Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

"Interest in entrepreneurship in the Middle East has never been greater, which reflects the critical role that new ventures can play in catalyzing economic change in the region. This book provides a lively look at the individuals and institutions behind these exciting and important developments." —Josh Lerner, Harvard Business School and author of The Architecture of Innovation

"Christopher M. Schroeder has done a service to the Middle East by highlighting the extraordinary energy and potential of entrepreneurs in the region. This area will be a hotbed of new ideas over the next 20 years creating hundreds of thousands of jobs." —Kevin Ryan, chairman and founder, Gilt 

"This powerful and essential book will open your eyes to a new world of opportunity for people in the Middle East and emerging markets all over the world. Through vivid introductions to young entrepreneurs in the region and a compelling analysis of macro technology and economic trends, Startup Rising brilliantly demonstrates that peace and prosperity is attainable for the region." —Julius Genachowski, Chairman of United States Federal Communications Commission, 2009-2013

"Important reading for anyone wishing to understand the promise and challenges of technology and entrepreneurial activity in the Middle East.  Christopher Schroeder's gifted storytelling brings us close to talented entrepreneurs who are breaking through, providing a fresh narrative for the region and promise for a better world." —Premal Shah, Co-Founder & President, Kiva
“A quick, fun read… he reveals the opinions of several Arab entrepreneurs and investors who he’s already introduced in contrast with the subtle biases of colleagues in the U.S., Schroeder deftly – but unapologetically – invites a cross-cultural dialogue.” —Wamda

About the Author

Christopher M. Schroeder is a U.S.-based entrepreneur and venture investor. In 2010, he wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about start-ups in Dubai and the Middle East, and was subsequently invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office on entrepreneurship to judge a start-up competition in Cairo one week before Tahrir Square. He is on the boards of advisors of the American University of Cairo School of Business and regional start-up resources Wamda and Oasis500. He lives in Washington, DC.

More About the Author

Having run three internet companies (; washingtonpost.newsweek interactive,; having invested in dozens more individually and through leading venture capital funds; having travelled extensively around the world; having outsourced technology from South America to India -- Christopher M. Schroeder should not have been surprised by the impact of technology on emerging growth markets.

But in November 2010, when asked to speak at one of the first mass gatherings of startups in the Middle East, he was stunned by what he saw. Over 2,000 entrepreneurs and investors were solving local and regional problems through their companies, and building world-class products accessible anywhere in the world. This began his journey to Amman, Beirut, Dubai, Doha, Cairo, even Damascus to find out more. His reporting on what he found in The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune Magazine, AllthingsD, Pando Daily, TechCrunch among others became the basis for his first book, Startup Rising.

In addition to his work investing and advising US-based startups, Schroeder serves on the advisory boards of the American University of Cairo School of Business, the Jordanian incubator Oasis500, the Middle East entrepreneurial platform, The American University School of International Service and board of directors of The American Council on Germany. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and French American Foundation. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

Customer Reviews

Enjoyed reading it, found it very thought provoking and learned a great deal about the topic.
Daniel Olszewski
The stories that are told, the incredible weaving of potential into possibility into manifestation, assures one's trust in Life's Creative Process unfolding!
Deanna M. Lococo
Startup Rising will take you through an amazing journey into the startups scene in the middle east.
Mostafa Nageeb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Armao on August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Christopher Schroeder has written a very good primer to understanding the startup scene within the Middle East. The key to appreciating this book is realizing that the author is not trying to boil the proverbial ocean. He limits the scope to a few key countries within the region and graciously acknowledges other works for coverage not included within Startup Rising, e.g., the Israeli technology scene. Scope issues aside, Mr. Schroeder does cover a number of areas that any investor or business contemplating entry into the region should note. Too many to list within this review, I found some of the most thought provoking conclusions to be: the pressing need for entrepreneurs to supply job opportunities as traditional industry falters; the increase in online spending--despite historical aversion to credit card usage; the growing opportunities in mobile technology, solar energy and social networks; and the concept of "disconnected development" where the impact of individual projects, in aggregate, lead to transformation of the technology ecosystem.

Of course anyone looking at the region cannot ignore the geopolitical instability, as the recent ouster of the Morsi government in Egypt exemplifies. In response, Mr. Schroeder astutely points out that through the focus on technology, entrepreneurs and investors in the region can withstand any current and future upheaval. The anecdotal examples of perseverance given within the book are truly inspiring.

To close, I would encourage anyone who has an interest in emerging and frontier markets to read Startup Rising. It will force you to rethink your stance and enable you to begin understanding opportunities in the Middle East.

Michael Armao
Washington, DC
13 August 2013
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sean J Greene on August 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At a time when the headlines from the Middle East never seem to get better, Startup Rising is a compelling antidote.

The book offers a very different view of what is happening in the Middle East - one not covered by the mainstream media. Schroeder paints a the picture via compelling stories of entrepreneurs throughout the region (with a focus on Arab countries, rather than Israel). Stories of entrepreneurial perseverance are always compelling - even more so here given the macro and micro challenges these entrepreneurs face. The book is a great read from Marc Andreessen's provocative foreword to Schroeder's compelling thesis -- "its not a question of if, but when."

Unlike the litany of non-fiction books that I have recently bought, but not read, Startup Rising pulled me in. Though Schroeder himself is an entrepreneur, not a writer, it's highly readable, and I flew right through it. This is a great read for entrepreneurs, people interested the role of technology in a rapidly globalizing world, and anyone looking for a sliver of optimism about the Middle East.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Dany Farha on August 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone who has had the privilege of being a part of the internet ecosystem in the Middle East since the year 2000, I learned a lot and found this book to be an extremely useful journey of stepping back, taking stock and reflecting on the past and future state of our regions start-ups and the key forces at play, shaping the future of innovation and entrepreneurship.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nina G. Curley on December 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the Editor-in-Chief at Wamda, the region's startup news site, I've reported on, mentored, and hung out with just about everyone mentioned in this book, and can testify that this is a definitive who's who of leaders in the web startup space in the Middle East.

Anyone hoping to understand the origins of the startup movement, the challenges entrepreneurs face, and the general startup landscape in the Arab world should pick up Shcroeder's book. Surprisingly perhaps, for a book that expounds on both the Middle East and the evolution of business, it's actually a light, fun read that brings the backstories and aspirations of each entrepreneur alive while maintaining a good pace and an eye for character details.

In the later chapters, Schroeder takes a stab at elucidating dicier issues, such as the role of religion in startup creation in the Middle East region. As he comes away with a hopeful, positive image of startup creation, he also- diplomatically but firmly- calls upon global business minds to look past current stereotypes and see opportunity for what it is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Olszewski on August 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Startup Rising is a very well done book that provides numerous great examples of what is happening right now in the middle eastern startup communities. It also includes some amazing demographic and technological statistics regarding the impact of so many young people all having smart phones and the market/computing power that is created. Very thought provoking both from the startups in the region as well as potential opportunities for global entrepreneurs. It also provides very interesting insights into the entrepreneurial culture, challenges and trends in the region.

Enjoyed reading it, found it very thought provoking and learned a great deal about the topic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zakaria Aakil on March 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No or generic learning. Writing not captivating. Flat stories. Lack of depth, and spread. I am from the Middle East and did not learn much
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susu on December 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My sister encouraged me to read this book. I was surprised I understood and enjoyed this topic. I’m glad I read it and continue to think about it and re-think my views on the subject. I might even read it again!
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