The Top 10 Quotes from Peter Thiel’s Zero to One

“Tell me something that’s true that no one agrees with you on?” That’s the fundamental question that Peter Thiel answers in his book “Zero to One.”  If you are unfamiliar with Peter Thiel, he’s known for co-founding PayPal with Max Levchin, Elon Musk, Steve Chen, Reid Hoffman and other juggernauts in the tech industry. He’s also known for launching Clarium Captial and Palantir Technologies, and was an early-stage investor in startups like Facebook, LinkedIn and Tesla. Peter’s accomplishments will solidify him as one of the greatest entrepreneurs, venture capitalist and visionaries of our generation. Peter’s resume alone is a reason enough to read Zero to One. However, if Peter authored Zero to One under a pseudonym, it would still stand as one of the best books about business, creativity, entrepreneurship and technology.

If you are a small startup, large company or thinking about taking the leap to create your own business, this book provides insight. It doesn’t matter what industry you align with, whether it be jewelry, tech, finance, advertising or education, Zero to One has relevant advice for you.

I’ve gone through Zero to One for the second time and collected 10 of my favorite quotes and passages. I hope these inspire you to read the book.

Top 10 quotes from Zero to One:

  1. “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”
  4. “A valuable business must start by finding a niche and dominating a small market.”
    Also see Kevin Kelly’s “1,000 True Fans”
  5. “The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.”
  6. Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1… The essential first step is to think for yourself. Only by seeing our world anew, as fresh and strange as it was to the ancients who saw it first, can we both re-create it and preserve it for the future.”
  7. “Leanness is a methodology, not a goal. Making small changes to things that already exist might lead you to a local maximum, but it won’t help you find the global maximum.”
  8. “The best thing I did as a manager at PayPal was to make every person in the company responsible for doing just one thing. Every employee’s one thing was unique, and everyone knew I would evaluate him only on that one thing.”
  9. “What valuable company is nobody building? Every correct answer is necessarily a secret: something important and unknown, something hard to do but doable. If there are many secrets left in the world, there are probably many world-changing companies yet to be started.”
  10. “You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world. It begins by rejecting the unjust tyranny of chance. You are not a lottery ticket.”

If you read Zero to One, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the book. If not, I hope these quotes will inspire you to create something new and build your business for a better future, no matter your environment, circumstance, lack of funds or poor luck. You are not a lottery ticket.