Zero to One

Zero to One

Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Book - 2014
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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.

Publisher: New York :, Crown Business,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780804139298
Branch Call Number: 658.1 THI NVD
0 to 1 NVD
Characteristics: 210 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Masters, Blake


From the critics

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Oct 23, 2018

Peter is no Anthony Robbins...and I say that as a 1000% compliment.
Thiel does not implore you to throw up your hands and stomp around like a 10 year old who’s had too much sugar...Rather, when looking at the glass of water, sure you’ll ask, “is it half full or half empty” or “does it matter, it’s just water, I wanted a Vitamin Zero..j/k.. the point being is...his theory is not just start the business with religious zeal but when you start it, in his words, “make it 10X better” than any competitor so that value stands out like a shining diamond. And use common sense principles that drive company growth.
It’s an excellent read, no any good writer, Thiel uses history, philosophy, allegory, beef up his points.
I highly recommend “Zero to One”
2 thumbs up

Jan 31, 2018

A simple book about startups with a fresh and aggressive perspective. The basic message is hold to your unconventional beliefs, create a monopoly and build a team of unusual talent.

Jan 14, 2017

Very interesting read and some very thought-provoking insight into starting a new business or venture. Thiel toes the line between practical businessperson and relentless contrarian at times, forcing readers to think beyond where they might have imagined they would when picking up this book.

I particularly like the question, "what important truth do very few people agree with you on?" Again - it breeds creative thinking and that is, ultimately, what this book gets you to do.

Offers interesting perspective and is definitely a good read for those interested in building a successful business, or learning what it takes to do so.

Jan 05, 2017

This is a great book for anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur. It's important to have a right entrepreneurial mindset from the very beginning and Peter's insights and thought process will certainly be of great value for that. Here is book summary

Sep 20, 2015

I was very impressed with Peter Thiel’s insights, thought process, and business acumen. If you are looking for the secret formula to starting that perfect business, you will be disappointed. The truth is that there is no secret. Great minds are unpredictable and Peter Thiel does a great job articulating that. However, Thiel does talk about trends and patterns behind the success of companies like Amazon, Payapl, and Telsa Motos as well as the success of individuals such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Thinking outside the box and figuring out what you can do that is not already being done is the key. This is by far the best business book I have yet to read and highly recommend it. It’s also quick, short, and very engaging.

manuelaleal Sep 15, 2015

This most brilliant book on start-up strategies it also deeply flawed.

The business analysis is faultless, challenging, exciting and truly mind-blowing. PT essentially explains his theory of monopolies, technology and what makes a technology company TRULY successful.

The problem appears at the end of the book when PT essentially describes that the culture of technology companies should be like cults, and gives hints at mildly creepy ageism and downright hypocrisy.

For example Peter Thiel gives out a scholarship for VERY young people to drop out of college to develop a business idea for one year, yet none of his companies seem to hire people without college degrees. He has a degree from Stanford and a law degree and yet sells the idea that college is useless but again if you look at the companies he owns, none of his employees seems to lack college degrees. He makes generalizations from a VERY privileged position, but then if you look at his politics, it makes sense. Try to put that aside for one sec because the first part of the book really is brilliant.

As flawed as it is, this is an essential book about business, entrepreneurial culture and technology and Peter's record as a founder of Pay Pal and record as Facebook's first investor should leave no doubt as to his record, business acumen and analytical abilities (outside of his shady political ideas).

lillybkk2015 Sep 09, 2015

This is very useful and worth to read.

lms Jul 09, 2015

Booklist Top Ten Business Books 2015

Jan 27, 2015

ZERO TO ONE can either be a quick read or a deep dive, I suspect, depending on how much you need someone else to elaborate for you on the central idea that we should strive to create the new rather than improve on the old. Personally, I think Jim Collins' GOOD TO GREAT explored that concept better. That being said, Thiel's dig at the LEAN STARTUP principles, encouraging us to risk boldness, have a plan (rather than iterate), find new markets and emphasize sales and product design are thought-provoking ways to think about how to create the thing no one knew they wanted.

magictouch Jan 26, 2015

Practical advice on business start-ups.

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Dec 23, 2014

1. Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?
2. Is now the right time to start your particular business?
3. Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
4. Do you have the right team?
5. Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?
6. Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
7. Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don't see?

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