Zero to One, by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Here are some passages I found inspiring in Zero to One, by Peter Thiel (and Blake Masters). A book I strongly recommend to anyone interested by technology and the world of tomorrow.


‟Of course, it’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.” (Page 1)

‟Spreading old ways to create wealth around the world will result in devastation, not riches. In a world of scare resources, globalization without new technology is unsustainable.” (Page 9)

‟Tolstoy opens Anna Karenina by observing: ‛All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Business is the opposite. All happy compagnies are different: each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem. All failed compagnies are the same: they failed to escape competition.” (Page 34)

‟In an indefinite world, people actually prefer unlimited optionality; money is more valuable than anything you could possibly do with it. Only in a definite future is money a means to an end, not the end itself.” (Page 71)

‟We are more fascinated today by statistical predictions of what the country will be thinking in a few weeks’ time than by visionary predictions of what the country will look like in 10 or 20 years from now.” (Idem)

‟Today, we exaggerate the differences between left-liberal egalitarianism and libertarian individualism because almost everyone shares their common indefinite attitude. In philosophy, politics, and business, too, arguing over process has become a way to endlessly defer making concrete plans for a better future.” (Pages 73–74)

‟Every university believes in ‛excellence,’ and hundred-page course catalogs arranged alphabetically according to arbitrary departments of knowledge seem designed to reassure you that ‛it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it well.’ That is completely false. It does matter what you do.” (Page 91)

‟A company does better the less it pays the CEO — that’s one of the single clearest patterns I’ve noticed from investing in hundreds of startups.” (Page 113–114)

‟No company has a culture; every company is a culture.” (Page 119)

‟Computers are complements for humans, not substitutes. The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.” (Page 141)

‟Apple’s value crucially depended on the singular vision of a particular person. This hints at the strange way in which the compagnies that create new technology often resemble feudal monarchies rather than organizations that are supposedly more modern.” (Page 188)

‟Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better — to go from 0 to 1. The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.” (Page 195)


Hope it can nourish your thoughts!

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