“Our parents weren’t wrong to imagine a better future -- they were only wrong to expect it as something automatic.”
— Peter Thiel in his book Zero to One
Peter Thiel is a polarizing guy. Depending who you ask, he's either one of the smartest guys in the technology industry, or one of the most despicable characters in Silicon Valley.
Here are some objective facts about Peter Thiel, who among other things is known for being:
- A co-founder and CEO of PayPal
- The first outside investor in Facebook
- A co-founder of Palantir
- The financial backer of the lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker, which was a good website (despite its flagrancy)
Regardless of your opinion on him, Thiel's book Zero to One, which is based on his lectures at Stanford University as compiled by former student Blake Masters, is a must-read foundation for innovators and early-adopters.
The book explores what is essentially the act of creation: the process of taking a company from zero to one, creating something from scratch. This is different, Thiel notes, from taking an existing company from say, ten to one hundred.
Going zero to one is Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak building the first Macs in their garage, or Walt Disney inventing Mickey Mouse. This is a book about finding the next frontiers — I leave you with the opening from the book's Amazon description:
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.
Get a copy of Zero to One from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
When you make a purchase through the Amazon link above, I make a small commission fee.
If you want to learn more about the good sides of Peter Thiel, I suggest:
- Peter Thiel's Religion by David Perell (long-read)
- 7 Book recommendations from Peter Thiel, collected by Farnam Street
- Peter on episode 01 of the Portal podcast with Eric Weinstein (watch the full video on YouTube or listen to the podcast on Overcast, iTunes, or Spotify)
- Peter's "Competition is for losers" lecture at Stanford (an hour-long YouTube video)
If you want to learn more about the bad sides of Peter Thiel, I suggest:
- Not dwelling on negativity; ditch the doom scrolling and start exploring some new ideas.