Zero to One has some good tips on starting a business but the author comes across as somewhat arrogant!

Synopsis:

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.

My review:

Good but not 10x better than other ‘start up’ books – Thiel clearly wasn’t trying to get a monopoly in this area. Something you’ll understand when you read the book.

The book is very much ‘do it this way or you’re going to fail’ when starting a business. I personally don’t agree with all his points but his style does get me (and I assume many others) thinking which is definitely a good thing. One thing was about investing in a concentrated number of venture capital projects and you only need one to do well to get high returns. I don’t believe this is good advice for people in general. Fine if you have abilities to understand these companies (clearly he is plugging that people should invest in his fund) whereas most people can’t find these companies and therefore should instead diversify and keep costs low (and not expect extreme returns). Unless you have a competitive advantage you should diversify.

I got the impression that Thiel is one of those ‘smart guys that people don’t really like’. This is probably harsh but I did associate him with people who I’ve met who are smart (and like to tell people they are) and act as if they really do know everything. For example, there are numerous examples where he used hindsight and was like ‘well of course that was going to happen’ – something about his tone put me off this book somewhat.

Throughout the book there are some great case studies which helps put what he discusses into context.

Out of the entire book – I only noted that I should re-read chapter 11 (about sales) again in the future. The rest of the book was food for thought and provided a good autobiography of PayPal.

Score:

Thought provoking = 7 (out of 10)

Enjoyment of reading = 5 (out of 10)

Money making = 7 (out of 10)

Overall score = 6.52

Read again = Probably not

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