Zero to One

Author – Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Date Started – 27 June 2021

Date Finished – 4 July 2021

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. The biggest leaps in progress are vertical, not horizontal – Create new things: new products, new systems, and new ways of doing things. It involves “going from zero to one” because you’re creating something that’s the first of its kind, rather than something that already exists, perhaps with minor refinements along the way. (Unlocking the power of innovation is the primary goal.)

  2. Companies should try to become a monopoly – simply means one company is doing something so much better than everyone else, that simply no one else can survive. This is actually good for everyone.

  3. Founders need the vision to take their business from zero to one – the 7 questions to ask: The Engineering, timing, Monopoly, People, Distribution, Secret question


There isn’t much money to be made in a competitive market. Startups emphasize their uniqueness for this reason. However, it’s better to be as realistic as possible to understand whether your product has a chance at a true monopoly.

How the Book Changed Me

THOUGHT: If we are truly talking about innovation, then the product will not be an incremental improvement. For it to be an innovation it must be 10 times better than what is currently available.

My Top 3 Quotes

  • “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”
  • “Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.”
  • “Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition.”

Who should read it

Startup Entrepreneurs, College students

Summary + Notes

In his book Zero to One, Peter Thiel laid out seven questions that a startup must answer to be successful.

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 particular business?
  3. The Monopoly Question: Are you starting with a big share of a 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: Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?
  7. The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?