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R. James Breiding

James Breiding

James is a graduate of IMD Lausanne and the Harvard Kennedy School. 


He has worked as an auditor and senior manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers, as a director at NM Rothschild & Sons and as a managing director at Templeton Investment. In 1999, with the support of Sir John Templeton and other investors, he founded Naissance Capital, a Swiss boutique investment firm. 


James is the author of Swiss Made: The Untold Story behind Switzerland's Success and Too Small To Fail: Why Some Small Nations Outperform Larger Ones and How They Are Reshaping the World and co-author of Wirtschaftswunder Schweiz. 

Inspired by his latest book, Too Small to Fail, James founded the non-profit organization S8nations in 2020 with headquarters in Zurich.


James' work is regularly published in The Economist, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among others.


About James



Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail

Leading global powers are witnessing a decline in their influence. In their place, a number of smartly led small countries are redefining what it means to be a great nation. In South-East Asia, Singapore has found a way to provide cost-effective, quality healthcare for its citizens. In the Middle East, Israel has created a start-up ecosystem that can rival Silicon Valley. In Europe, Finland has transformed its primary education system and Denmark is a world leader in renewable energy. In Sweden, employees can take six months off work to start their own business, safe in the knowledge that they can return to their job if their start-up doesn’t work. Across the globe, these and other small nations are driving a quiet revolution. What are their recipes for success? How are they achieving better-educated, more egalitarian, happier and wealthier populations? Too Small to Fail looks at a select number of small countries that have emerged as leaders of the pack. It considers the specific policies, individuals, corporations and institutions that have made positive and sustainable change possible. By looking at the parallels between these success stories, Too Small to Fail offers valuable lessons that the rest of the world can emulate.

What Can Goliath Learn From David

What can Goliath Learn from David

America is the biggest, the strongest, the best! That is our national mantra. To say otherwise is unpatriotic. It follows then that the United States must have the world’s happiest, healthiest, and best educated citizens, right? Nope, not right at all.  For far too long we have been preoccupied with size rather than excellence. Turns out small nations like Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Singapore routinely beat large, competitive nations in every category from health care to happiness. Why is this so? And what can we – the biggest and grandest – learn from them? The world doesn’t need more praiseworthy declarations or empty political promises. What is urgently needed are proven and cost-effective policies. Leadership by example. Progress is after all usually about finding something that works and reverse engineering it. Just think of the wheel or the iPhone.  Many are already out there – often arising from small, innovative, experimental countries better able to intermediate a social consensus in an increasingly polarized world. But our modern information highway traverses Los Angeles, New York, London, Berlin, Shanghai and Tokyo. So progress often remains unnoticed. Now is a good time to peek over our garden hedges to discover many insightful and proven examples that suggest a better way of doing things. Testimony that all big things once started small. Treat this book as a garden ladder to help you ascend these hedges

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Contact James

S8nations, Spyristrasse 2, 8044 Zürich

© 2020 by S8nations 

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