Entrepreneur? You NEED to read this book

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Taking a look at The International Bestseller, "Zero To One" by Peter Thiel

Monopoly. Comparative advantage. Competition. Co-founder of Paypal and Palantir, with investments in Facebook, SpaceX and LinkdeIn, Peter Thiel evaluates the basics of economics but these are the kind of things which creates the free market or allows start-ups to turn into large billion-dollar worth companies. Thiel addresses and exaggerates the idea of comparative advantage throughout the book. He lurches onto the belief that the next Bill Gates will not build an operating system or the next Larry Page won't make a search engine.

In order to be successful and thrive as a company, you must create and innovate something which is at least 10x better than your competitors or in most cases, something new. The ideology of competition is seen to be a killer in the economy. Thiel establishes that often in economics (and in general life) we are fooled by competition. For example, we have studied that competition within economics is in fact good for society and is a persisting benefit for all, although still having negative consequences. Thiel states that all competition is bad; this is better represented in a statement he mentions, "the more we compete, the less we gain".

Further on the book, he further scrutinises the ideology of competition with even greater depth, mentioning that what we refer as "competition" is in fact "creative monopoly" where new products are created to benefit people and profits are sustainable. Criticism upon the government as a sluggish aspect of economics, Thiel conveys the fact that governments has made trading less efficient and allowed economics to rule over politics. His judgements are both interesting whilst also true, evaluative opinions.

So the main arguments summed up in a few sentences include the idea that competition is a killer of economics, monopolies are great and allow economies to thrive and economics, as a concept, will always be changing throughout the future.

My Opinion

A very well-written, concise book which evaluates not only key economics concepts but also the history of economics. From the .com crash to established brands such as Apple and Microsoft, readers would get a clearer, more vivid picture of the dangers of competition. I do believe that competition is bad, not only in economics but the general world; this is due to one fundamental truth that we gain very little from competition. As the list of companies competing for the same goal (to be the monopoly), markets are bound to saturate, eventually resulting in bankruptcies, failed businesses and loss of jobs.

For example, a recent case study I wish to use is the social media industry. Several years ago Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat used to have separate markets and different audiences but now Facebook has bought two competitors in the likes of Whatsapp and Instagram. Competition kills off companies but creative monopoly shares the idea of creating products which benefit and enrich people. In this case, Facebook is the creative monopoly.

I agree with most of what Thiel states; I believe that the reason why markets exist is due to comparative advantages and the ability to innovate. This is the main reason that economics exists.


9 out of 10. Smartly written and delivered in a succinct manner. Although it is a great book on economics, it would have been greater if Thiel included greater depth when explaining events such as the .com crash and the consequences of competition on smaller businesses. However, full of useful case-studies highlighting economic concepts such as the one between Google and Microsoft and overall, a must-read.