This is hands down the best entrepreneurship book I've read this year. Below are my notes on Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters. Yes, I realize I've taken notes on a book based on the notes that someone else took: Blake was a student in Thiel's Stanford CS183 class and took such extensive and helpful class notes that his site and notes got a lot of attention on the web. It is the lessons from that class that form the basis of this book.
I really enjoyed Thiel's "Competition is for Losers" article in the WSJ, which was effectively chapter 3 of his book. It provides a great taste of Peter's contrarian and thought-provoking ideas. I can easily see Peter giving a TED talk about the concepts in this book as they are so different from the conventional wisdom I hear repeated everywhere and really makes me question a lot of assumptions about what a good business really is. Also, as a magician, I especially loved the sections about searching out secrets (of the universe and of people) because those are the things that are the seeds of valuable opportunities.
I just finished reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, who was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon working on virtual reality (and spent some time as a Disney Imagineer!). It was a bittersweet tale of a professor in the last few months of his life as he recounted his life's dreams and his preparation for leaving his wife and kids live their life without him. It was inspirational, funny, and thought-provoking, and I was impressed by the humanity and humility of such an intelligent, scientific man.
Below is the actual video of his lecture at CMU, and below that are my main takeaways and nuggets from the book. It's so wonderful that he could share such meaningful lessons with the world.
About Max Mednik
Max is an avid entrepreneur, engineer, investor, magician, and student of life. He is a founder of AMA Capital. He graduated from Stanford and UCLA Anderson. He lives in Los Angeles with his family and spends his free time enjoying his many hobbies and interests.