Zero To One

Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel

As soon as I finished one-third of the book, I already had this intuitive feeling that the book would be controversial: some like it, some don’t. Regardless of a bulky armor of ideas accumulated over many year’s standing, the book (the author?) sucked them out, rubbed salt to my burning ass. It doesn’t take much time to sense the eccentric vibe of the author from his assertive use of language and sharp arguments. Honestly, I kinda like it because I know it taught me hard lessons though my ass was screaming in pain. If I took his words at their face value, the book would sometimes be absurdly one-sided.

For example, when Peter argues that in business, monopoly fosters innovation over the perfect competition. In other words, competitions tighten margins while monopolies have the luxury of time and money to spend on their R&D expense, Peter argues, that benefiting themselves in widening the gap with others and pumping innovations the world hungry of new solutions to its aging problems. It seems to me that the author was too busy defending his argument that he forgot to flip the coin and examine the other side of the monopoly. With the superpower, monopolies can either grow it or kill it. Monopolies can exploit their power for financial gains, especially when their thick margin allows them to consider more than just widening the gap.

I might have overstated the unconventional level of the book. Still, it should be clear that Peter Thiel, like many of his early co-workers at PayPal (now all successful entrepreneurs), loves to challenge the convention. With a learning mindset, I think Zero To One is thought-provoking.

It will definitely in my have-to-reread list.

Autumn 2020

September 4, 2020, 3:00:00 PM


business, economics, non-fiction


Zero To One