Zero to One
Brief book description
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. (Source)
Why read this book
This book is a great exercise for challenging one's ideas about tech innovation, economy and startups. A challenge to think for ourselves.
I discovered the book by following guys like Tim Ferriss, Kevin Rose and Sam Altman on Twitter. One day some of the tweets lead to the book and Peter's Stanford class on startups and entrepreneurship. The book made me think more deeply about the impact of the venture I was running as a CEO and how can I really contribute to support my team' performance and consequently make the work we deliver a 10x solution. There are some interesting topics that opened debates among my friends, like building a monopoly, incremental improvements imposed on our thinking by educational system and technology benefiting the top rich of the world.
The book provides some principles on how to create a system where we take charge of our lives and put ourselves in a position to create those 0 to 1 products or organizations. There are also a set of steps or methods on how to create and keep a monopoly, mainly by building network effects, economies of scale and craft branding. I found it useful.