adrift on a cosmic ocean

Writings on various topics (mostly technical) from Oliver Hookins and Angela Collins. We have lived in Berlin since 2009, have two kids, and have far too little time to really justify having a blog.

Micro book review: Zero to One

Posted by Oliver on the 5th of February, 2020 in category Thoughts
Tagged with: Books

Another book completed from the never-ending list: Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Not sure how this ended up on the list but I guess it's a seminal text when considering tech startups, which have featured pretty solidly in my career.

Zero to One cover

I probably saw it on the shelf at one of the companies I worked, and thought it deserved a read. In any case, I expected something more about founding and running startups, and discovered more of a book about competition and economics (in a way). It features many stories and anecdotes about monopolies and competition that were new to me and genuinely intesting. Thiel gives his list of rules for founding a successful company, but they are more about the conditions under which success has a better chance than a howto for running a tech company.

He's clearly coming from a position of authority, being part of the small group of people responsible for Paypal, Elon Musk included, although I understand he's something of a divisive character. I enjoyed the book although it wasn't really along topics I normally would aim for, and it certainly contained ideas I hadn't considered or thought before. If I find myself considering founding a startup (although that's unlikely) I'll probably give it another, closer read.

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