#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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.
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Sept 2014
From the cover
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 net-work. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them.
Of course, 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.
Unless they invest in the difficult task of creating new things, American companies will fail in the future no matter how big their profits remain today. What happens when we've gained everything to be had from fine- tuning the old lines of business that we've inherited? Unlikely as it sounds, the answer threatens to be far worse than the crisis of 2008. Today's "best practices" lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.
In a world of gigantic administrative bureaucracies both public and private, searching for a new path might seem like hoping for a miracle. Actually, if American business is going to succeed, we are going to need hundreds, or even thousands, of miracles. This would be depressing but for one crucial fact: humans are distinguished from other species by our ability to work miracles. We call these miracles technology.
Technology is miraculous because it allows us to do more with less, ratcheting up our fundamental capabilities to a higher level. Other animals are instinctively driven to build things like dams or honeycombs, but we are the only ones that can invent new things and better ways of making them. Humans don't decide what to build by making choices from some cosmic catalog of options given in advance; instead, by creating new technologies, we rewrite the plan of the world. These are the kind of elementary truths we teach to second graders, but they are easy to forget in a world where so much of what we do is repeat what has been done before.
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. But while I have noticed many patterns, and I relate them here, this book offers no formula for success. The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula necessarily cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative. Indeed, 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.
This book stems from a course about startups that I taught at Stanford in 2012. College students can become extremely skilled at a few specialties, but many never learn what to do with those skills in the wider world. My primary goal in teaching the class was to help my students see beyond the tracks laid down by academic specialties to the broader future that is theirs to create. One of those students, Blake Masters, took detailed class notes, which circulated far beyond the campus, and in Zero to One I have worked with him to revise the notes for a wider audience. There's no reason why the future should happen only at Stanford, or in college, or in Silicon Valley.
The Challenge of the...
"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 v
"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" -
"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
"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
"Forceful and pungent in its treatment of conventional orthodoxies--a solid starting point for readers thinking about building a business." - Kirkus Reviews