Most people that don’t work in technology probably know the name Peter Thiel from watching The Social Network. Or maybe from when the Thiel Fellowship started, asking talented young technologists to put off college for a couple years and build startups instead. But if you work in tech you probably know that he’s a vocal and talented venture capitalist whose ideas are worth listening to, trying, and experimenting with in your own world.
This book is built out of notes from a course on running a startup that Thiel gave at Stanford University in 2012. Blake Masters was a law student who attended the class and took copious notes. The notes are still available online. After they got a lot of attention and readership, Thiel and Masters developed them into what is now a compact read that examines the needs of success in the difficult environment entrepreneurs face.
Unlike some other business reads I’ve written about, you’re not going to find any fluff here. Thiel takes his ideas seriously and defends them well. But it’s also a book that will leave you with more questions than answers. There’s no guaranteed answer or advice you can give to make a startup successful, and Thiel doesn’t lie about that. But you’re a lot more likely to play the game well if you understand what you’re getting into.
This is a must-read for anyone wanting to start any company ever.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters