Zero to One

Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Estimated Reading Time

Summary 35 minutes
Full Book 2:45 hours
You Save 2:10 hours

Zero to One is based on a Stanford University class about startups taught by Peter Thiel. Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir and investor in many startups including Facebook and SpaceX, provides his insights on innovation, entrepreneurship and building successful, durable businesses.

In this summary:

  • Chapter 1 - The Challenge of the Future: The contrarian question; horizontal vs. vertical progress; globalization vs. technology.
  • Chapter 2 - Party Like It’s 1999: Lessons from the dot-com bubble.
  • Chapter 3 - All Happy Companies Are Different: Competition vs. monopoly.
  • Chapter 4 - The Ideology of Competition: Why people believe competition is good and why it’s actually bad.
  • Chapter 5 - Last Mover Advantage: The 4 characteristics of durable monopolies; how to build a monopoly; last mover advantage.
  • Chapter 6 - You Are Not a Lottery Ticket: Definite vs. indefinite thinking; optimists vs. pessimists.
  • Chapter 7 - Follow the Money: Power laws.
  • Chapter 8 - Secrets: Conventions, secrets and mysteries; 4 reasons why people don’t look for secrets.
  • Chapter 9 - Foundations: On choosing a co-founder, creating alignment, cash and equity compensation.
  • Chapter 10 - The Mechanics of Mafia: Creating a culture.
  • Chapter 11 - If You Build It, Will They Come?: The importance of sales, marketing and distribution.
  • Chapter 12 - Man and Machine: Why computers are complements, not substitutes for humans.
  • Chapter 13 - Seeing Green: 7 questions new businesses must answer; why cleantech failed.
  • Chapter 14 - The Founder’s Paradox: Thinking about founder personalities.
  • Conclusion - Stagnation or Singularity?: 4 potential futures.