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Stef Wertheimer

Nonfiction, 2011

The HABIT OF LABOR is the remarkable autobiography of Stef Wertheimer. Forced to flee Nazi Germany with his family at age 10, Wertheimer came to British Mandate Palestine, where he dropped out of school, learned a trade, provided crucial assistance in Israel’s War of Independence, and founded a company that ultimately made him one of the world’s great self-made industrialists.

This is also a book of ideas, some of them provocative, many of them inspiring. A pragmatist and a dreamer, Wertheimer has spent much of his life and resources in promoting both Jewish and Arab economic development through innovative educational and vocational programs, as well as by establishing a series of thriving industrial parks in Israel and in Turkey. An Israeli patriot, Wertheimer nevertheless takes his government to task for its political culture and policies.

THE HABIT OF LABOR will appeal to a wide international audience. Wertheimer, a business genius, offers practical and useful guidance for the entrepreneur. His ideas about education, and particularly the importance of a robust vocational training curriculum, are relevant to any industrialized or developing nation. And his life story offers an inside look into modern Israeli history.


Rights Sold: 

Germany, Random House; Israel, Yediot Books/Miskal; UK, Duckworth; USA, Overlook


“There’s no better way to explain the miracle of Israel than to examine the amazing life of Stef Wertheimer. Beginning with no resources except for his brain, Stef built one of the most extraordinary industrial companies in the world. Concurrently he focused his remarkable intelligence on improving the lot of his fellow man. It’s a life to be admired and a story to be read by everyone, young or old.“ – Warren E. Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

“Conflicts are created by people and can be ended by people. Stef Wertheimer’s remarkable life story describes how a self-made industrialist has been working for decades to reconcile Jews and Arabs. He has advanced this goal by giving them a stake in the future through his education programs, his companies, and his industrial parks. Anyone thinking about how to bring peace to the Middle East and elsewhere should consider his inspiring and pragmatic ideas.“ – Sen. George Mitchell, former United States Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace and for Northern Ireland

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