Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future | Peter Thiel 2014 | 224 pages
In his Zero To One, Peter Thiel, legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor and one of the most interesting people anywhere today, makes an awfully contrarian claim for a man who made his fortune in technology: we live in an era of decelerating technological innovation relative to the demands of the future. Thiel argues that the next great acceleration in human innovation need not- and probably won't- come from Silicon Valley.
Indeed, Thiel argues in one of the most engaging and persuasive books you'll find in the Business aisle at the bookstore, any industry led by the right people can detonate the next great leap in progress. What's required, Thiel argues, are leaders willing to move the world from 0 to 1.
Doing what everyone else already does and incrementally improving it takes the world 'from n to 1', but only a rare set of true innovators- think Elon Musk, Larry Page- are capable of moving from 0 to 1.
Thiel resists the temptation to offer a how-to list on how to become a 0 to 1 innovator and instead makes his argument via personal anecdote and provocation arguing, for example, that a business is not worth founding unless it can improve on the status quo by at least an order of 10, and that entering any industry is a waste of time unless an entrepreneur feels she has an idea which can ultimately become a monopoly in the industry.
Not your typical business book- a thoughtful, worth-it read.