Zero To One By Peter Thiel

Lessons on startups, business and the world of technology–taught by the cofounder of PayPal, Peter Thiel.





  • Google makes so much money that it’s now worth three times more than every US airline combined. 
  • “Madness is rare in individuals— but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.” -Nietzsche 
  • Dot-com mania was intense but short—18 months of insanity from September 1998 to March 2000. Paper millionaires would rack up thousand-dollar dinner bills and try to pay with shares of their startup’s stock—sometime it even worked. 
  • Everybody loses when the war isn’t one worth fighting. 
  • “Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances….strong men believe in cause and effect.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Venture-backed companies create 11% of all private sector jobs. They generate annual revenue equivalent to an astounding 21% of GDP. The dozen largest tech companies were all venture-backed. Together those 12 companies are worth more than $2 trillion, more than all other tech companies combined. 
  • A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed. 
  • A company does better the less it pays the CEO— that’s one of the single clearest patterns I’ve noticed from investing in hundreds of startups. 
  • The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.
  • If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it’s not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution.
  • You should focus relentlessly on something you’re good at doing, but before that you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.


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