Zero To One By Peter Thiel (Book Review & Summary)

Click here to grab your copy of Zero To One by Peter Thiel

Main Theme:

  • Zero To One = Creating something NEW vs. copying things that work
  • How to build and scale a business that will thrive for decades

Key Takeaway #1 – Build a creative monopoly instead of trying to compete

  • Capitalism = profits get competed away, Monopoly = keep profits
  • If you want to create a business that will stand the test of time, don't build an undifferentiated commodity business (e.g. mortgage company)
  • Creative monopoly = new products that benefit everybody and sustains profits for the creator.
  • Competition = no profits for anyone, no meaningful differentiation, and struggle for survival.
  • Four characteristics of a monopoly:
    • Proprietary technology (PayPal)
    • Network effects (Facebook)
    • Economies of scale (programmers versus yoga instructors)
    • Branding (Apple)

Key Takeaway #2 – Find the perfect market

  • The perfect market = small group not served by competitors
  • Scale into slightly broader markets
  • Don't disrupt – avoid competition
  • Last mover advantage – if you make the last great development in a market, you'll enjoy a long sustainable profits
  • If you focus only on near-term growth and profits, you'll miss the most important question which is: will this business still be around decades from now.

Takeaway #3 – Every business must answer these seven questions

  1. The engineering question – can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements.
  2. The timing question – is now the right time to start your business?
  3. The monopoly question – are you starting with a big share of small market?
  4. The people question – do you have the right team?
  5. The distribution question do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?
  6. The durability question – can your market position be defensible decades to come
  7. The secret question – have you identify the unique opportunity that others don't see?

Final Thoughts

  • Innovate or die – Zero To One.
  • Dominate, don’t compete.
  • Put a lot of thought into the beginning – 3 characteristics of a monopoly and 7 questions of successful businesses.

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About the Author

Chris Dunn is the founder of Skill Incubator. He is an active investor and entrepreneur with the mission of helping people learn Skills to thrive in today's economy. Chris spends his time testing and building multiple streams of income and investing the profits. Read more here.