Zero to One, by Peter Thiel, is a great little book about Notes on startups, or, how to build the future.
Pretty compelling, right?
And that’s exactly why I’m so excited to review this book for you today. Although it’s not a strict investing book, Thiel’s musings are definitely rife with business insight. So for that reason, I couldn’t ignore sharing this book with you.
So keep reading. Because this review is going to give you everything you need to help you decide if Zero to One is the right book for you (or your favourite entrepreneurial nephew, perhaps).
Now let’s cut to the chase.
Summary of Zero to One:
Zero to One is a short and easy-to-read book that was based on Thiel’s lectures at Stanford on startups. One of his students, Blake Masters, took exceptionally good notes from the course. And that’s what led to this book.
Essentially, Zero to One shares a framework for how Thiel thinks about business. Each chapter contains a different idea, most of which challenge conventional business wisdom. For example, one chapter is called “Last Mover Advantage” (in contrast to the more common first mover advantage). It’s this kind of counter-intuitive teaching that kept me from putting down Zero to One.
And even though Zero to One is primarily about startups and founder-driven businesses, there’s lots you can learn as a regular self-directed investor or retail trader. The ideas in this book are sure to get you thinking.
By the way, let me also quickly explain the title of the book to you as well…
Explaining the Concept of Zero to One
In Zero to One, Thiel argues that a lot of business resour es are spent on incremental improvement. That is, going from n, to n+1. It’s easy and accepted to make this kind of incremental change on products, projects and companies.
But Zero to One emphasizes a different approach.
The concept of Zer to One is about creating new things. Thiel argues that much more value is created going from nothing to something (0 to 1), vs building a new feature or improving an existing product or service (n+1).
Make sense? I hadn’t thought of this concept before reading this book. But once it hit me I couldn’t shake it. And I’m glad my friend recommended this book to me.
Biggest Weakness of Zero to One:
When doing these book reviews, I always like to provide a balanced view. But in the case of Zero to One, this is easier said than done. To be honest, my biggest complaint is probably that the book was too short.
The reason is, I really enjoyed Peter Thiel’s thinking and simply wish that I could absorb more of it. That’s hardly a real complaint. And I’m sure there are lots more resources online, which I’m going to look into.
But for now suffice it to say the book does a wonderful job introducing some great business ideas. I just wish it dove deeper into some of them.
Zero to One Book Review – The Final Word:
Zero to one is a really neat business book. It’s easy to read, very intriguing and does a heat job making you question conventional business wisdom. For these reasons, I recommend checking out Zero to One on Amazon.
And by the way, if you still want a little bit more information, I encourage you to watch the video book review below. This will help you further determine if Zero to One is the right book for you.