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

The main lesson in the book is that the best and most disruptive companies go from non-existence to existence, from no solution to solution “from zero to one”.

Most people think the future of the world will be defined by globalization, but the truth is technology matters more.

In a world of scarce resources, globalization without new technology is unsustainable.

The smartphones that distract us from our surroundings also distract us from the fact that oure surroundings are strangely old: only computers and communications have improved dramatically since midcentury.

If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it's not good enough: technology is primarily about product development, not distribution.

Today our society is permeated by the twin ideas that death is both inevitable and random. So people have stopped thinking about how to defeat death.

Progress without planning is evolution.

You must not be a lottery ticket

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.

Theodore John Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, is an American mathematician, anarchist and domestic terrorist. He divided human goals into three groups:

1. Goals that can be satisfied with minimal effort;

2. Goals that can be satisfied with serious effort;

3. Goals that cannot be satisfied, no matter how much effort one makes

This is the classic trichotomy of the easy, the hard, and the impossible. Kaczynski argued that modern people are depressed because all the world's hard problems have already been solved. What's left to do is either easy or impossible, and pursuing those tasks is deeply unsatisfying. What you can do, even a child can do; what you can't do, even Einstein couldn't have done. So Kaczynski's ideas was to destroy existing institutions, get rid of all technology, and let people start over and work on hard problems anew. HIs methods were crazy, but his loss of faith in the technological frontier is all around us.

The best thing I did as a manager at PayPal was to make every person in the company responsible for doing one thing. Every employee’s one thing was unique, and everyone knew I would evaluate him only on that one thing. But then I noticed a deeper result: defining roles reduced conflict.

Computers are complements to humans, not substitutes. We’re less good at making enormous amounts of data. Computers are exactly the opposite: they excel at efficient data processing, but they struggle to make basic judgments that would be simple for any human.

Think of what professionals do in their jobs today. Lawyers must be able to articulate solutions to thorny problems in several different ways - the pitch changes depending on whether you are talking to a client, opposing counsel, or a judge. Doctors need to marry clinical understanding with an ability to communicate it to non-expert patients. And good teachers aren’t just experts in their disciplines; they must also understand how to tailor their instruction to different individuals’ interest and learning styles. Computers might be able to do that some of these tasks, but they can’t combine them effectively. Better technology in law, medicine, and education won’t replace professionals; it will allow them to do even more.

Of the six people who started PayPal, four had built bombs in high school.

Without new technology to relieve competitive pressure, stagnation is likely to erupt into conflict.