A reading club with a view to the future

157 Peter Thiel: Zero to one

The book discusses the importance of creating something new and innovative, rather than copying what already exists.

Peter Thiel: Zero to one


Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, argues that true progress comes from creating something new and unique, rather than competing in existing markets. He encourages entrepreneurs to strive for monopoly power, which can be achieved by creating a product or service that cannot be easily replicated. Thiel emphasizes the importance of thinking about the future and building a long-term vision, rather than focusing on short-term gains. He provides insights into the startup culture in Silicon Valley, including the importance of team building, and gives advice on how to build a successful company from scratch.


Title: "Zero to One"

Author: Peter Thiel

Publishing Year: 2014

Publisher: Currency

Length in Hours: 4 hours and 50 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Creating something new and unique is the key to true progress.
  2. Monopoly power can be achieved by creating a product or service that cannot be easily replicated.
  3. Thinking about the future and building a long-term vision is essential for success.
  4. Building a strong team is crucial for building a successful company.
  5. Silicon Valley has a unique startup culture that can provide valuable insights into building successful companies.
Peter Thiel: Zero to one

5 funny quotes

  1. "Madagascar is not an underdeveloped country; it is an overdeveloped country. It is overdeveloped in the sense that its population is malnourished, its infrastructure is inadequate, and its political system is unstable."
  2. "So why do we think that our grandchildren will be speaking Chinese or Arabic instead of the same language we do? Because we take it for granted that the world will go on much as it has, except for some fancy new gadgets."
  3. "Selling your company to Facebook is like getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, but a lot more people have golden tickets these days."
  4. "The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete."
  5. "Today's 'best practices' lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "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."
  2. "The future is not a time period, but a place where our imaginations can run free."
  3. "Indefinite optimism sounds much more uplifting than definite pessimism, but it's really a lot less constructive."
  4. "Every monopoly is unique, but they usually share some combination of the following characteristics: proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale, and branding."
  5. "To build a great business, you need to be able to answer two questions: 'What valuable company is nobody building?' and 'Why is that the case?'"

5 dilemmas

  1. The tension between short-term gains and long-term vision when building a company.
  2. The balance between creating something truly unique and addressing an existing market need.
  3. The trade-off between fostering collaboration within a team and maintaining individual creativity and autonomy.
  4. The tension between creating a monopoly and ensuring competition and innovation in the market.
  5. The dilemma of balancing the potential benefits of technological advancements with their potential negative consequences, such as job displacement and ethical concerns.

5 examples

  1. Elon Musk's SpaceX - a company aiming to reduce the cost of space travel and eventually colonize Mars.
  2. Uber - a ride-sharing company that disrupted the taxi industry by creating a new way to access transportation.
  3. Apple - a company that has created a unique ecosystem of hardware, software, and services that cannot be easily replicated.
  4. Google - a company that has used proprietary technology to dominate the search engine market and expand into other areas.
  5. Amazon - a company that has built a massive logistics network and brand recognition to dominate the e-commerce industry.

Referenced books

  1. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries
  2. "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail" by Clayton M. Christensen
  3. "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  5. "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas S. Kuhn

Share a quote

"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."

Peter Thiel: Zero to one
Become a NextBook Insider

Join our community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.