Zero to One

Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

by Peter Thiel , Blake Masters

Number of pages: 224

Publisher: Crown Business

BBB Library: Entrepreneurship

ISBN: 978-0804139298

About the Authors

Peter Thiel : Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He started PayPal in 1998.


Blake Masters : Masters co-founded Judicata, a legal research technology startup.


Editorial Review

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. 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. 

Book Reviews

"Peter Thiel's new book, Zero to One, shines like a laser beam. Yes, this is a self-help book for entrepreneurs, bursting with bromides and sunny confidence about the future that only start-ups can build. But much more than that, it's also a lucid and profound articulation of capitalism and success in the 21st century economy."The Atlantic

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Wisdom to Share

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.

Of course, it’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do adds more of something familiar.

The value of a business today is the sum of all the money it will make in the future.

Network effects make a product more useful as more people use it. For example, if all your friends are on Facebook, it makes sense for you to join Facebook, too.

Every startup is small at the start. Every monopoly dominates a large share of its market. Therefore, every startup should start with a very small market.

Beginnings are special. They are qualitatively different from all that comes afterward. Bad decisions made early on are very hard to correct after they are made.

Everyone in your company needs to work well together. As much as you need good people who get along, you need a structure to help keep everyone aligned for the long term.

The founding moment of a company really does happen just once: only at the very start do you have the opportunity to set the rules that will align people toward the creation of value in the future.

Recruiting is a core competency for any company. It should never be outsourced.

The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.