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Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future Paperback – 18 Sep 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 506 customer reviews

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  • Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future
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Review

"Crisply written, rational and practical, Zero to One should be read not just by aspiring entrepreneurs but by anyone seeking a thoughtful alternative to the current pervasive gloom about the prospects for the world" (The Economist)

Book Description

A ground-breaking and thought-provoking book on innovation and what it takes for a new company to prosper, from the co-founder of one of the most successful tech start-ups in history

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (18 September 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753555190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753555194
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (506 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is required reading for all budding Entrepreneurs. His insights and advice are very useful for, especially high technology, entrepreneurs.
One example is... bigger the market...bigger the competition it attracts. Give up obsessing on market size and Look for small niche market when you start and try to dominate it.
The competition may be good for consumers but bad for business and so try to create monopoly in your sphere. Examples are Google, Tesla, Paypal, eBay, Facebook etc.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the words of Peter, this book (or better to say a compilation of notes) is about how to build companies that create new things. Personally, I would say this book gives a good window into the mind of a great entrepreneur like Peter, which may give solace to other entrepreneurs with out of box idea and who are not getting support from near quarters. This is not a book which will detail out the steps in the journey, but it can tell you about what to expect in the journey. And nothing about the destination – that is for each to define as their own.

In the process, there are some gems I collected. Like the contra learnings from the dot com bust –
1. Make incremental advances
2. Stay lean and flexible
3. Improve on competition
4. Focus on product , not sale
OR what Peter professes
a) It is better to risk boldness than triviality
b) A bad plan is better than no plan
c) Competitive market destroys profits
d) Sales matter as much as the product
Which one to choose – all upto you.

Peter is unapologetic about monopoly – as he views that every business is successful exactly to the extent it does what others cannot, this making monopoly the condition for every successful business. All happy companies are those who have earned a monopoly by solving a unique problem, all failed companies are those who failed to escape competition

In order to get to the monopoly, Peter suggests to analyse the business within some parameters:
a) Proprietary technology – should be 10 times better than closest substitute
b) Network effects – an expanding network of users will bring in more users. A product is viral if its core functionality encourages users to invite their friends to become users too.
Read more ›
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By Satyajeet Vishwakarma TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 October 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of those must-read books for everyone, especially for Startups and Entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship cannot be taught, but this book does put light on the fundamentals of starting a business.
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The book gives a completely new perspective on how businesses should be run or rather on what basis one should even start a company. Discusses mostly about monopoly - and a definition for it. I have come across this measure of monopoly for the first time. The author emphasizes the importance of salesmen. Says the real selling is when customers are not even aware that the selling is happening. And goes on to sell his product, his current investment to the readers - not sure how many realised this. At the end, there was too much focus on trivial and uninteresting things like how founders are eccentric - may be he wants to show the audience that how cool he is. No credit was given to Sean Parker who introduced Zuckerberg to Thiel - the first major outside investment in Facebook. Instead Parker was portrayed as a villain who didn't know what he was doing. It ends with a philosophy called Singularity where there is infinite hope for the future. And according to the author, technology is the only thing that is capable of achieving it - with so many helping move the current scenario from 0 to 1. Other factors like psychology, spirituality, and other unknown realms are completely discounted by the author
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author Peter Thiel was the co-founder of PayPal and has gone on to become a successful venture capitalist having invested in companies like Facebook. His colleagues have gone on to set-up companies like LinkedIn, Twitter, Tesla, etc.

Mr. Thiel has described the sauce of a successful start-up i.e., breakthrough technology, people, avoiding competition and building dominant positions in small markets, focus on sales, timing, etc. He has also explained his ideas in relation to both successful and unsuccessful start-ups.

However, the most interesting lesson is to find a secret that few other people are aware of and to use the knowledge to solve problems of people in a substantive way. As he says he loves to ask the question "What important truth you know which very few people agree with you on?"

He also believes that founders are very important (and as they say a little different), who need to be hands on and ideally should be beyond people who are salesmen and good at raising money.....but they also need to be able to find a secret and then get on with the business of implementing the secret. No surprises that Indian business houses have not been innovative.

So can entrepreneurship be taught......the question is whether art of finding secrets be taught ? Ironically, the book is based on notes taken of lectures that the author has given.

Very well written, easy to read and highly recommended.
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