Zero To One — The best $$ I have spent this year and one of the best books I have read ..err… heard on Audible on Startups & Entrepreneurship
Right of the bat, I must confess that I am not a big fan of “reading” books although I am fond of getting the information and knowledge from books, blogs or whatever Medium (pun intended.. ☺)
Ever since my dear brother Elango introduced me to Audible there has been no more excuses to not read or hear Books. I bike to work and spend about 40 min on the road on a daily basis..and whalla..what better time to listen to Audible! In the last year or so, I have finished reading/hearing 5+ books — all of them pretty big/decent sized books that I would have never even thought of perusing them let alone read them cover-to-cover!
Zero To One is the most recent book that I completed and its awesome!!☺
This is one of the worthiest $$ spent in buying a book in the last many years! One of first things that I attracted me was the brevity or “small size” of book in terms of number of pages (or less than 4 hours on Audible..when some books are 20-hours+ !! ).
— I am, personally, interested in crisp, clear to the point conversations than unwieldy, circuitous and generally lengthy constructs. ZTO was right there, with short, well defined sentences that packed the punch.
— I “Looked Inside” at Amazon.com when I heard about ZTO on techcrunch or twitter or somewhere and the preface was bang! bang..bang..!! I have not seen a better short and crisp preface than Zero-To-One! The best other I liked was from “Brief History of Time” — by Stephen Hawking. Peter Thiel’s articulation of contrarian theory was neat and exquisite. That sets the tone and juice for the rest of the book
— His thought angle on “Competition” and “Monopoly” was new and eye opening, at least to me. At the very least it should be refreshing, in a world where we hear about “Competition in business” day-in-day-out in the news and media.
— The yummiest portion in a “Masala Dosa” is at the center — when the thick of “Masala” meets the “Oily Dosa” (sluurp..slurrp!!). The pivotal portion of the book is, I believe, when he goes on to explain “definite optimism” and “indefinite optimism” versions for the vision of future and how that strongly ties with Innovation and Entrepreneurship
— I have always been fascinated with the concept of “jumping to next orbit” picturing (literally && visually…) atomic physics theorems of Neil Bohr and Einstein and the excitation energy component required to achieve the transition. A more conspicuous example is the escape velocity and thrust required for the space crafts to escape Earth’s gravitation pull to propel itself into the space orbits. This book talks specifically about this and topics around it— which perhaps why I am able to correlate and appreciate to large extent.
I guess this reading style started with Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha in my childhood days. Later on some of the small-midsize books that I have found power packed are like “Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking.
This is a power packed book and you should spend a focused time reading this book.
While I do not quite agree some of the pieces towards the end of the book, such as not having a society of equal wealth or opportunities, I don’t want to spend too much time on it as I don’t think Peter himself spent time or thought into it.
To Quote from ZTO book —
“ 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.”
This my friend — the act of creation is when the stars line up and excitation energy is prime enough to make the transition is— o to 1. Rest are details!