Zero To One

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future is a 2014 book by the American entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel co-written with Blake Masters. It is a condensed and updated version of a highly popular set of online notes taken by Masters for the CS183 class on startups, as taught by Thiel at Stanford University in Spring 2012.

“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 of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

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.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

  • Authors: Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
  • Genres: Business & Economics
  • Originally published: 16 September 2014
Best Quotes From "Zero To One"
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.”
  • “Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.”
  • “All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”
About The Authors:
Peter Thiel

Peter Andreas Thiel is a German venture capitalist, hedge fund manager and entrepreneur. He is known for co-founding PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk. He was ranked No. 4 on the Forbes Midas List of 2014, with a net worth of $2.2 billion, and No. 328 on the Forbes 400 in 2018, with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Blake Masters

Blake Masters is an American entrepreneur and lawyer. He co-founded Judicata and is a graduate of Stanford.

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