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

by Peter Thiel

Other authors: Blake Masters

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1893212,027 (4.02)3
"EVERY MOMENT IN BUSINESS HAPPENS ONLY ONCE. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won't create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange. Zero to One is about how to build companies that create new things. It draws on everything I've learned directly as a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and then an investor in hundreds of startups, including Facebook and SpaceX. The single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas. Ask not, what would Mark do? Ask: WHAT VALUABLE COMPANY IS NOBODY BUILDING? "-- "Thiel starts from the bold premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by our new mobile devices to notice. Progress has stalled in every industry except computers, and globalization is hardly the revolution people think it is. It's true that the world can get marginally richer by building new copies of old inventions, making horizontal progress from "1 to n." But true innovators have nothing to copy. The most valuable companies of the future will make vertical progress from "0 to 1," creating entirely new industries and products that have never existed before. Zero to One is about how to build these companies. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique. In today's post-internet bubble world, conventional wisdom dictates that all the good ideas are taken, and the economy becomes a tournament in which everyone competes to reach the top. Zero to One shows how to quit the zero-sum tournament by finding an untapped market, creating a new product, and quickly scaling up a monopoly business that captures lasting value. Planning an escape from competition is essential for every business and every individual, not just for technology startups. The greatest secret of the modern era is that there are still unique frontiers to explore and new problems to solve. Zero to One shows how to pursue them using the most important, most difficult, and most underrated skill in every job or industry: thinking for yourself"--… (more)
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English (30)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
The title is the message. Gives good insight into the minds of top entrepreneurs. ( )
  ravidreams | Dec 26, 2020 |
This book wasn’t a typical read for me and I don’t know a whole lot about business in general, but what I did like about this book was that he didn’t push the “just work really hard and you’ll be successful” agenda. He made it clear that there’s more to it than hard work, wanting something badly enough, and having luck. Also, the fact that I could make it thru this book to the end says something. ( )
  pmichaud | Dec 21, 2020 |
This is a pretty good read! It was hard to put down---I devoured it in less than 24 hours.

Thiel has some poignant arguments in Zero to One. There's a lot of good takeaways for people who want to change the world and shape the future. But there's also chapter 10, which focuses on ways in which companies fail. This was particularly interesting to me in that it perfectly described my last company---we all knew it was fundamentally dysfunctional, but Thiel somehow managed to describe *almost every single problem we faced.*

I get the impression that Thiel knows what he's talking about. Combined with an inspiring message, it's worth your time. ( )
  isovector | Dec 13, 2020 |
Zero to One was one of the most hyped books of late 2014-early 2015. Aptly so; Peter Thiel is one of the brightest minds in the tech industry right now - a great investor, founder and thinker. Zero to One gives a chance to commoners like me to peek inside his head.

If I had to set the right expectations for a reader, I'd say this: this book won't tell you how to start a business, but it will tell you how to think about starting a startup.

Peter makes some strong and bold claims in the book, and gives enough evidence to support them. But sometimes, his claims are impractical for a majority of the population (in a typical Peter fashion). For example, Thiel believes in creating monopolies in markets. But doing is neither easy not inexpensive. Most founders won't look to do that. (To his credit, most monopolies are successes).

Peter Thiel has decades of experience and has seen the ups and the downs (dot-com and the housing crash). His advice is solid, but expect to disagree with this highly opinionated piece a lot. ( )
  krngl | Dec 13, 2020 |
Obviously, one would defer to to Peter Thiel when it comes to making a business, but this book really didn't cut it. I felt there were a lot of generalizations and commentary, and significantly lesser hard research.
Regardless of that, the book was a fun read and only 140 pages, and did have SOME golden advice.

3 stars. ( )
  Radiohead1985 | Dec 11, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
One of the most unique and thought-provoking books about entrepreneurship.

https://youtu.be/vUvfWdx-9FU
 

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Masters, Blakesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"EVERY MOMENT IN BUSINESS HAPPENS ONLY ONCE. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won't create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange. Zero to One is about how to build companies that create new things. It draws on everything I've learned directly as a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and then an investor in hundreds of startups, including Facebook and SpaceX. The single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas. Ask not, what would Mark do? Ask: WHAT VALUABLE COMPANY IS NOBODY BUILDING? "-- "Thiel starts from the bold premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we're too distracted by our new mobile devices to notice. Progress has stalled in every industry except computers, and globalization is hardly the revolution people think it is. It's true that the world can get marginally richer by building new copies of old inventions, making horizontal progress from "1 to n." But true innovators have nothing to copy. The most valuable companies of the future will make vertical progress from "0 to 1," creating entirely new industries and products that have never existed before. Zero to One is about how to build these companies. Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique. In today's post-internet bubble world, conventional wisdom dictates that all the good ideas are taken, and the economy becomes a tournament in which everyone competes to reach the top. Zero to One shows how to quit the zero-sum tournament by finding an untapped market, creating a new product, and quickly scaling up a monopoly business that captures lasting value. Planning an escape from competition is essential for every business and every individual, not just for technology startups. The greatest secret of the modern era is that there are still unique frontiers to explore and new problems to solve. Zero to One shows how to pursue them using the most important, most difficult, and most underrated skill in every job or industry: thinking for yourself"--

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