Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Category: Finance
Author: Peter A. Thiel, Blake Masters
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About This Book

The billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur behind such companies as PayPal and Facebook outlines an innovative theory and formula for building the companies of the future by creating and monopolizing new markets instead of competing in old ones.

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.


by dilippkumar   2019-07-12

Follow up reading: Peter Thiel’s “Zero to One”

by 11001100   2019-01-03
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

by api   2017-08-19
I too have had this impression.

For a long time I've been very curious about how this kind of king-making occurs and what the underlying political machinery looks like. I don't buy that it's random or organic.

Being a middle class hick from the American Midwest and having attended a regular-tier non-coastal school, it's a bit outside my domain... though I did live in Boston for a while and work a lot around the MIT/Harvard orbit. That gave me a definite sense that there's a caste system at work but not exactly how it works or how one goes about gaining entry (or is tapped for entry). Being admitted to the Right School seems to usually be a prerequisite, though there are exceptions.

I'm not saying Taleb is a fool. He's certainly very interesting, but he's not the only thinker in this field by any stretch of the imagination. People have been talking about this stuff since back in the 60s when it was called cybernetics. Then they called it complexity, dynamical systems, evolvable systems, and so forth. Taleb might have added some things, but he did not found the field any more than Stephen Wolfram founded the study of cellular automata.

I'm not comparing Wolfram and Taleb. Actually I think they're opposites. Wolfram has a lot of money and a big ego (probably bigger than Taleb's), and he certainly is very smart, but his work doesn't seem to have received the nod of the establishment while Taleb's obviously has. Wolfram is more like a tycoon trying to buy his way into a circle that... well... <sniff sniff>... those who are truly in the club would never stoop that low.

Who makes these decisions?

If you look at Taleb's background, he certainly has gone through or at least been affiliated with all the right schools. The top-tier (Ivy League if you're in the USA) academic network is (in my opinion) the most powerful aristocratic network in the modern world.

I don't always agree with Thiel, but even when I don't he's one of those people who always makes me think.

by gy3b   2017-08-19
Yes certainly. Peter Thiel actually talks about people with Asperger's possibly having an advantage in his new book.