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Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future Hardcover – Sep 16 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1st edition (Sept. 16 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804139296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804139298
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Crisply written, rational and practical, Zero to One should be read not just by aspiring entrepreneurs but by anyone seeking a thoughtful alternative to the current pervasive gloom about the prospects for the world.”
The Economist

"An extended polemic against stagnation, convention, and uninspired thinking. What Thiel is after is the revitalization of imagination and invention writ large…"
– The New Republic

"Might be the best business book I've read...Barely 200 pages long and well lit by clear prose and pithy aphorisms, Thiel has written a perfectly tweetable treatise and a relentlessly thought-provoking handbook." 
– Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

This book delivers completely new and refreshing ideas on how to create value in the world.” 
-  Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
“Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.” 
-  Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla

" Zero to One is the first book any working or aspiring entrepreneur must read—period."
- Marc Andreessen, co-creator of the world's first web browser, co-founder of Netscape, and venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz

"Zero to One is an important handbook to relentless improvement for big companies and beginning entrepreneurs alike. Read it, accept Peter’s challenge, and build a business beyond expectations." 
- Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE

“When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic.”
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan

“Thiel has drawn upon his wide-ranging and idiosyncratic readings in philosophy, history, economics, anthropology, and culture to become perhaps America’s leading public intellectual today”
-  Fortune

"Peter Thiel, in addition to being an accomplished entrepreneur and investor, is also one of the leading public intellectuals of our time. Read this book to get your first glimpse of how and why that is true."
- Tyler Cowen, New York Times best-selling author of Average is Over and Professor of Economics at George Mason University

"The first and last business book anyone needs to read; a one in a world of zeroes."
- Neal Stephenson, New York Times best-selling author of Snow Crash, the Baroque Cycle, and Cryptonomicon

"Forceful and pungent in its treatment of conventional orthodoxies—a solid starting point for readers thinking about building a business." 
- Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He started PayPal in 1998, led it as CEO, and took it public in 2002, defining a new era of fast and secure online commerce. In 2004 he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director. The same year he launched Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like national security and global finance. He has provided early funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, and dozens of successful technology startups, many run by former colleagues who have been dubbed the “PayPal Mafia.” He is a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies like SpaceX and Airbnb. He started the Thiel Fellowship, which ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling, and he leads the Thiel Foundation, which works to advance technological progress and long- term thinking about the future.

Blake Masters was a student at Stanford Law School in 2012 when his detailed notes on Peter’s class “Computer Science 183: Startup” became an internet sensation. He went on to co-found Judicata, a legal research technology startup.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Zero to One by Peter Thiel is a book for individuals who are empire builders. People who want to build something great or solve a serious issue and simply cannot accept the mediocre. Thiel offers a verycontroversial viewpoints that really make the reader think, and I believe that is one of his main goals with this book.

Thiel makes it clear that copycat businesses and rip off companies are not the entities people in everyday life are drawn to, it’s those with a clear mission for human progression. This book is well supplemented in by watching interviews from Elon Musk, to get an idea of the archetype of individuals Thiel wishes to empower.

However, it is often easier to see the full length of the valley on top of the hill than it is while you are trying to climb up it. I think Zero to One will really appeal to individuals fortunate enough to be on the final rung in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Peter having successfully funded and worked with amazing companies such as Facebook and Paypal, uses this book as a way to connect with those individuals and challenge them to think about the difficult problems in the world today, so that they may work to create the next Google size company of tomorrow.

Overall a very great read, definitely intellectually entertaining and somewhat abstract!
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Format: Hardcover
In the first chapter of The Great Reset, Richard Florida explains that peaks and valleys are part of the lifecycle of any society as “obsolete and dysfunctional systems and practices” collapse, replaced by “the seeds of innovation and invention, of creativity and entrepreneurship.” The First Great Reset occurred in the 1870s, the Second in the 1930s, and a Third now underway. Florida suggests, “The promise of the current Reset is the opportunity for a life made better not by ownership of real estate, appliances, cars, and all manner of material goods, but of greater flexibility and lower levels of debt, of more time with family and friends, greater promise of personal development, and access to more and better experiences. All organisms and all systems experience the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.”

I recalled these observations as I began to read Peter Thiel’s brilliant book, written with Blake Masters, and especially when he suggests that the entrepreneurs who stuck with Silicon Valley learned four big lessons from the dot-com crash that still guide business thinking today:

1. Make incremental advances.
2. Stay lean and flexible.
3. Improve on the competition.
4. Focus on products, not sales.

“These lessons have become dogma in the start-up world; those who ignore them are presumed to invite the justified doom visited upon technology in the great crash of 2000. And yet the opposite principles are probably more correct.” Here they are:

1. It is better to risk boldness than triviality.
2. A bad plan is better than no plan.
3. Competitive markets destroy profits.
4. Sales matters just as much as profit.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
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Zero to One is Thiel’s hymn to entrepreneurs and innovators, those individuals who don’t just achieve incremental improvements (one to two), but manage a real step change in technology, going from zero to one. Thiel recommends that you pick one valuable skill or area, specialize carefully, and double down to achieve enormous success.

Though much of the content is good, for me there are a couple of points I don’t think he’s entirely thought through. He waxes eloquent about monopolies, for example, arguing that they are the best way to run a business: “the more we compete, the less we gain.” I completely agree, I’m just a little worried his ‘we’ only includes businesses, not the consumers, who take it in the shorts. That said, monopolies may also provide more resources for innovation, so the question is not as simple as economics 101 might argue. His advice to specialize the same: he’s wholly correct that if you want to be a billionaire that’s the way to go, but he doesn’t seem to have considered that it’s a high-risk strategy. The returns are so high precisely because of the enormous number of people who will fail utterly as a result.

In some ways, the book is interesting because of these weak points: it tells us what Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of Paypal, believes. Paypal’s team has also achieved great things: 7 of the early employees have founded billion dollar businesses, from Youtube to Tesla to LinkedIn. It’s a success so noted that they’re sometimes referred to as the Paypal Mafia in the tech world. The team was clearly doing something right!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of business books over the years, and many of them can wind up sounding the same.

Zero to One is different - Peter Thiel really breaks down some hard-earned insights into the tech industry and gives some truly visionary advice about how startups succeed or fail. This is not another academic business book, this is the accumulated wisdom of a man who has been on the frontlines of technology for over a decade.
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