Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Razroo Book Club - Intersection of Software + Business

Aleksandra Khmarskaia
February 11, 2021
3 min read

Why Read It

Do you know who Peter Thiel, the author of “Zero to One” is? He is the founder of PayPal, SpaceX investor, and the first investor of Facebook. Do you need any other reasons to read it?

All kidding aside, the book is worth your time not because it is a theoretical course about startups, but because of the practical entrepreneur’s opinion, that encourages to start a business that could change the world.


The best description for the book is a collection of a great man’s ideas. It’s inspiring to get some advice from the PayPal founder. Large, ambitious, the world-changing business starts from a single idea, which you’ll probably get from the book. “Zero to One” is a true source of entrepreneurial spirit.

Interesting Points

Don’t Copy, Create Something New

“The next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”

The charm of the book is that it’s 100% future-focused. Thiel has interesting ideas about a new approach to progress. No spoilers, just read it.

The Seven Questions That Every Business Must Answer

Sometimes it seems impossible to understand one’s business or brand in a few minutes. Thiel made this process possible. His 7 questions help to find some big insights: why you have started the business, what is it now, what role it has in the world and how potential it could be.

Extremely Opinionated

The author lowers the rank of “Zero to One” with some adamant thoughts: feedback is either glowing or outraged. On the one hand, the book itself is a collection of the author’s points of view. We all knew what we were about to read. But on the other hand, it is a little bit odd to insist that higher education is pure evil. Maybe it should be done better, but not eliminated.

That’s nice that we don’t have to agree with the author on everything. To know an innovative billionaire’s thoughts is exciting, isn’t it?

Would I Read It Knowing What I Know Now?

Well, I am definitely not the founder of a global company at the moment, so yes, I would. Even if there are some ideas I couldn’t agree with (and you probably couldn’t), it’s just exciting to see some points of a successful entrepreneur and innovator. To read the book feels like talking to the author, and that is a great literature quality. I would recommend the book to everyone who wishes to start their project.

Next Book: The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

Let’s take a little break from business and think about ourselves for a moment. Achieving an ambitious goal might be exhausting and what you need to succeed is a resource. You can move mountains if you know how to fight stress, anger, or anxiety. Andy Puddicombe, the author of the book and a former Buddhist monk, will teach us how to quiet our minds.

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