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Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

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4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  49,990 Ratings  ·  2,667 Reviews
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 o
...more
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Crown Business
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Santiago Ortiz No, this book, used as guide, is a trap. Read Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup, real stuff there, not…moreNo, this book, used as guide, is a trap. Read Start Small, Stay Small: A Developer's Guide to Launching a Startup, real stuff there, not entrepreneurial pseudo-philosophy.(less)

Community Reviews

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Andrew Garvin
Aug 31, 2014 Andrew Garvin rated it it was amazing
Having worked with Peter - and the PayPal mafia more generally - for almost 10 years now, I have a unique perspective on Zero to One. Indeed, a lot of the ideas contained within are familiar to me. The launching point for the book is Peter's stock interview question - a question I still remember being asked 8 years ago.

'What is something you think is true, but that most people disagree with you on?'

My answer at the time (2006) was: 'There is a bubble in housing.' Of course, that was cheating, si
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Jacek Ambroziak
Dec 20, 2014 Jacek Ambroziak rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed the book even if I have found myself in violent disagreement with many of its thoughts. The book opens up with these words.

"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. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.

It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we al
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Nick
Apr 19, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yevgeniy Brikman
Aug 09, 2014 Yevgeniy Brikman rated it liked it
This book fluctuates between brilliance and madness. When it focuses on the mechanics of start ups, it's great. When it focuses on Thiel's philosophies, it's a bit whacky. Thiel enjoys being a contrarian too much. Doing something new and valuable may require being a contrarian, but just being contrarian doesn't mean your ideas are new and valuable. Worth reading if you're interested in startups, but be prepared to skim and shake your head.

Pros:

* Great chapters on how to build a monopoly, approa
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Sindy Li
Dec 18, 2014 Sindy Li rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, technology
I heard about this book when it came out and thought that there was no way I would read a book on startups. Not that I don't see great things coming out of some startups, but I am not the only one who has developed a fatigue of the many random startups founded by fellow Silicon Valley dwellers who are engineers, MBAs, or a little bit of both, and of the many other Valley dwellers who claim they want to do a startup without knowing what it will be about!

After my dad bought a copy in Taipei I deci
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Arjun Balaji
Jul 01, 2014 Arjun Balaji rated it really liked it
[Note: this review was written for an advance copy, so there may be minor differences between references made here and in the first edition.]

Contrary to my own expectation, I quite enjoyed Peter Thiel's newest book. Though put off by some of Thiel's contrarian (and in some cases, delusionally bullish) opinions, after reading Blake Master's notes from Stanford's CS183, I was pretty excited for their latest collaboration. While the latter half of the book is chock full of startup advice, the first
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Todd N
Sep 28, 2014 Todd N rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People with important truths that very few people agree with you on
Even worse than the self-help section of the bookstore, you need to go into the entrepreneur part of the business section of the bookstore to find a copy of this book.

Unless you are one of those Twitter jerkoffs who is tweeting about your startup or -- worse -- your insights on the latest VC trends, you will probably want to wear a disguise when procuring a copy of this book. But it's totally worth it.

This book is a refinement, with new ideas added, of notes from a class (CS183: Startup) that Mr
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James Fairbairn
Aug 10, 2015 James Fairbairn rated it it was ok
Starts well, becomes trite, ends delusional.
K's Corner
Feb 15, 2015 K's Corner rated it liked it
3.5 stars. An interesting read with some interesting and thought-provoking insights for tech startups and some not so that just come across as opinionated commentary.
Jason Weeks
Dec 03, 2014 Jason Weeks rated it liked it
Peter Thiel's book is definitely worthwhile reading.

He has some fantastic points about start-ups, working environments for new and small businesses and a strong level of conviction for his methodology and beliefs which is nice to read.

That being said, he's self indulgent in parts of this book - perhaps his choice as a self-made billionaire (I don't know) - and more importantly he spends a lot of time focusing on all the great achievements of his inner circle. There is in fact life beyond silicon
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Yunling
Jan 25, 2015 Yunling rated it did not like it
I'm sorry. I don't know why all the rave. This book is full of pontification and cliche. And sometimes shameless ones. Not to mention the every now and then judgmental categorical commentaries. I had to return the audio book half way thru. Total lack of nutrition.
Aaron Wolfson
Prior to this book, which has received enormous buzz and effusive praise, for whatever reason I thought of Peter Thiel as a stuffy businessman rather than a brilliant thinker. I associated him more with his investing career than his experiences as a founder of Paypal and Palantir. In this book he wears both hats, and he also takes turns as a historian, futurist, and cultural psychologist and anthropologist. His ideas and prescriptions are as wide-ranging as they are concrete and actionable. From ...more
Anna
Jan 11, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Anna by: dan p
“ZERO TO ONE 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. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”
Peter ― Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

It is always a useful experience to read the thoughts of a successful entrepreneur and mentor. According to the book notes, this
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Sebastian Nickel
Oct 05, 2014 Sebastian Nickel rated it liked it
I think it's worth reading of you're interested in starting and funding businesses, especially since it's such a quick read. I found PT's thoughts on and defense of monopolies particularly interesting.
But I was disappointed by the strength of his argumentation. I expected this book to read like the work of a sharp, keen thinker, but his reasoning throughout the book is actually very sloppy and relies very heavily on cherry picked examples.
Michael
Jan 13, 2017 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017_read
Lately Thiel has been in the news and one would expect, based on a cursory examination of his backstory and current infamy, a work of diabolical genius or at the very least one with a bit of an edge. That said, the most surprising part of the book is its extreme banality.
Sarah
Dec 08, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
Thiel is worth hearing out based on his resume alone, and there's logic in his central premises about monopoly (which signals creativity, adds value to the world by providing cool new stuff to buy, and apparently, affords companies the luxury of not being evil) and competition (which signals no profits and a thankless life). His seven factors of startup success make sense in a necessary but not sufficient kind of way, and facetiousness aside, the book goes beyond just having a wildly successful ...more
imane
الكتاب صعب و ممل لكنه مفيد و موجه للسوق الغربي حيث الابتكار و الاختراع لان دول العالم الاول تسير في خط تقدم راسي عكس الدول النامية التي تسير في خط افقي و تعتمد على التقليد فقط. التقدم الافقي هو تقليد الدول المتقدمة وهذا ما يسمى بالعولمة اما التقدم الراسي هو التقدم التكنولوجي وهو يعتمد على الشركات الناشئة لانها قادرة على الابتكار و الاختراع. الشركة الناجحة هي التي تستطيع احتكار السوق بمنتوج جديد و هذا يسمح لها بتحديد الاسعار التي تريد وجمع ارباح تمكنها من تطوير منتوجها باستمرار عكس الشركات التي ت ...more
Melissa
Nov 23, 2014 Melissa rated it did not like it
This book had nothing insightful or unique to offer. I found myself nodding in common sense to many of the points. It reads like college notes (what it is based on) but I would've asked for my 3 credits back. Skip it!
Ostap Andrusiv
Feb 02, 2016 Ostap Andrusiv rated it it was amazing
Дуже хороша книжка. Цікавий погляд на речі. Треба думати глобально і задавати собі правильні запитання.
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
One of the most fascinating books I have read in recent months is Peter Thiel's Zero to One. I am not a tech entrepreneur or even starting a new business. But I found Zero to One so thought provoking and interesting, that I bought it after reading a library copy.

I found myself frequently recommending the book (consider this your recommendation. Go read it. Now), and any book hat Good should be on my shelf for easy access, referral, and lending.

Short and succinct, Peter Thiel's tact seems to ta
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Abdullah
Dec 19, 2016 Abdullah rated it it was amazing
يعتبر مؤلف الكتاب "بيتر تيل" خريح القانون من جامعة ستانفورد الأمريكة من أشهر رياديي الأعمال والمستثمرين الذين استطاعوا أن يجتازوا انهيار شركات التقنية في أواخر عام 2001م أو ما يسمى بـ فقاعة الدوت-كوم أو شركات الانترنت. أسس بيتر مع آخرين شركة باي بال في عام 1998م قبل أن تنتقل ملكيتها في عام 2002م إلى شركة إي-باي في صفقة استحواذ بلغت قيمتها 1,5 مليار دولار. وفي عام 2004م بدأ بيتر أول اسثماراته في الشركات الناشئة من خلال شركة قوقل الناشئة في ذلك الوقت، وقد تولى فيها منصباً إدارياً تنفيذاياً. وفي نف ...more
Undrakh Ganzorig
Apr 22, 2016 Undrakh Ganzorig rated it it was amazing
Zero to One offers far more than a simple how-to book to successfully survive as a startup. Actually no success stories of survivor companies are similar just as each individual has unique attributes potentially leading them to success; as Peter Thiel puts it, all happy companies are different. Reading Mr. Thiel's story of building PayPal won't make someone a next game changer, but his notes on startups and tech industry in general are good insights to a market generating great amount of wealth ...more
Daria
Jul 21, 2015 Daria rated it it was amazing
I try to avoid reading books that recently came out because time is the best quality filter for literature. But this book was very highly recommended and I had some free time, so I decided to try it. It blew my mind - ambitious and hopeful, while being skeptical and contrarian at the same time - I finished it in a day.

I recently finished Antifragile by Nassim Taleb, which I also recommend, and this book is a little similar in a sense of being contrarian and distrusting status quo-driven establi
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Eya Beldi
Nov 29, 2016 Eya Beldi rated it it was amazing
I'have studied Business for 3 years in high school and it's my major in university now all I can say is that this book helps people who know about business and people who don't if you're planing to lunch a startup this book is for you if not and you're just curious don't waste your time.
This books includes topics about the right way to build a team, to choose a good timing how to deliver your product how to have your own monopoly to sum it up it guides you to your success :)
Enjoy reading future
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Vadim Sviridovich
May 19, 2017 Vadim Sviridovich rated it it was amazing
Легендарный предприниматель и инвестор Питер Тиль своей книгой вдохновляет читателя создавать прорывные технологии и основывать компании-монополии, подобные Google, Tesla, SpaceX. Это лучше, чем заниматься мелким улучшайзингом существующих продуктов и способно приблизить наступление Сингулярности.
Gordon
Nov 21, 2015 Gordon rated it really liked it
Here's the single best idea I got out of this book: an interview question. Thiel would ask prospective hires, "What is one view you hold on an important matter, shared by few other people?" Responses ranged from the banal, to the flummoxed, to the truly insightful. Clever question.

This book is a collection of Silicon Valley business wisdom for the startup world, based on a course that he taught at Stanford in 2012. Its contents would probably startle few people, but is very well written and rich
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Joe Donatelli
Nov 01, 2014 Joe Donatelli rated it liked it
Peter Thiel’s new business book “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” offers an unintentionally grim view of the future. This sounds like I didn’t enjoy it, but that’s not the case.

“Zero to One” is packed with insight. Thiel, who founded PayPal, shares truths that have an audience beyond the entrepreneurs for which the book is intended. It works as a guide to starting a company and to getting ahead in the workplace. Its lessons can be applied by individuals who will never
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Федор Кривов
Компании, не занимающие монопольного положения на рынке, предпочитают другой сорт лжи, заявляя: «Мы стоим особняком от всех!» Предприниматели всегда склонны занижать уровень конкуренции — но для стартапа эта ошибка может стать фатальной. Ужасная ошибка — описывая свой рынок, стараться сузить его как можно сильнее, чтобы ваша компания казалась безусловно доминирующей на нем. Предположим, вы хотите открыть в Пало-Альто ресторан британской кухни. «Никто этого не предлагает, — радуетесь вы. — Мы зах ...more
Punit Lohani
Dec 21, 2014 Punit Lohani rated it it was amazing
The best way to predict the future is to define it. If you want to build the future, then read this book. It is about how to leverage the uncertainties of future to build startups. The book provides a new perspective on risk taking. It stands out for its original ideas and thought provoking questions. Moving from 0 to 1 is different from moving from 1 to 2.

Not everything is right with Silicon Valley. In the past 30 years, it has mostly been one sided software focussed revolution. The truth is th
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Joel
Sep 17, 2014 Joel rated it it was amazing
On its surface, Zero to One is a brisk tour de force of contrarian business advice. The popular media have already picked up on many of the central ideas to be found, viz. the importance of vertical "intensive" growth rather than just horizontal "extensive" growth, innovative monopolies versus destructive competition, and definite over indefinite views of the future. Were this just another pop business book, these ideas alone would be enough to make it worth your time. But as you should be aware ...more
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“ZERO TO ONE 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. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.” 48 likes
“The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.” 35 likes
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