Book suggestion: Zero to One

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 23.08.22This book is written by Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, early investor in Facebook, and founder of Palantir. Peter hasn’t just sat around counting his money. He has an interest in politics and has
attended debates on subjects like the effectiveness of education. This well-roundedness comes through in this book. The book mainly focuses of business and start-ups but I’d say it’s well worth a read even if you’re not into business and simply want a promotion in your field. It points out why competition results in wasted energy and tick boxing, better to find a niche or specialty where you can do something different. The book argues that it’s a shame to see our brightest
minds being pushed into competitive fields where they waste their energy polishing their CVs by jumping through hoops that prove little. It highlights economic bubbles and defines characteristics, and reception of previous bubbles. The tell tale sign that this book is giving out a balanced message is that it gives credit where credit’s due. Even though he has made is money in tech, he highlights the importance of sales and distribution teams. Even though the author graduated from Stanford and was a chess champion, he openly states that the world needs execution and courage more than it needs genius. The book doesn’t heavily rely on academic studies. It uses tales and examples from start-ups to prove points. However, it is aware of this and points out that it’s borderline impossible to scientifically account for the successes of businesses and innovation. The overarching theme is that we need to think big in order to push innovation forward. Our overall problem is that fear and playing it safe has stifled innovation. This is the logic behind the title. Instead of creating one of many you should focus on creating something new, hence the zero to one. Although I don’t agree with everything, there are definitely some words of wisdom that will change the way you view the world. The book is an easy read and offers a clear, none pretentious insight into the mind of a man who is successful and clearly intelligent.

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