Thursday, September 25, 2014

ZERO TO ONE by Peter Thiel

ZERO TO ONE by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters explores the seven questions which start-ups should be asking prior to launch, and how the future may be revolutionized by innovation. No one knows what the future may hold, and many people fear the future while believing that most of the secrets once sought by explorers have already been discovered. With this fallacy firmly assumed by most peers and MBA professors, the goal has become to add small increments of efficiency to already established models or products. But competition in this way is for long-term losers, says Thiel. Even talent shows like AGT or The Voice reward those who sing well-known songs just a bit better or with more feeling or with a personal twist. Yet try an original song that is unfamiliar, and your job may become harder, (with a second barrier to success added), but the rewards are exponentially greater. Going from zero to one means to create something new out of nothing, not merely to improve on what already exists in competing for market share. It requires courage and vision to think outside the box or bun, but Thiel argues that this is the kind of thinking the world needs most in order to survive the future, and so it is progressive thinking which business start-ups should be doing in making their first critical decisions, (including staffing.) Since only progress is sustainable. He gives examples of companies which chose right or wrong at the beginning, and how Hewlett Packard lost by losing focus. Intriguing and insightful, this audiobook should be required listening for those going into the Shark Tank and wondering if their product or service will fail or blossom. Narrated by Blake Masters, it is a motivating conversation with innovation that can shape your destiny by changing the very world where your customers live.
 
Dov Seidman, in his updated book HOW: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, argues that it is by cooperation within groups which determines success. He says that people should be more conscious of how they do things rather than just what they are doing. Yet Seidman is suing a yogurt company for their use of the word "how," although they deny knowing him. This, together with his overuse of the words "I" and "we" (meaning his group) claiming ownership of concepts and ideas adopted (or not) by others, may explain his overuse of sports metaphors in getting his points across. While he makes many valid arguments in favor of ethics, his own "how" is in question, and others believe it is a fallacy to equate achievements in sports like football with the kind of "success" related to real progress. (Read The Beginning of Infinity or Antifragile.) These authors argue that it is the individual with a vision, not any group or "human wave" of rule followers focused on team leadership, which has achieved the most vertical progress in science (and therefore in changing the world.) What do you think? For more on this subject, and a review of PILLAR TO THE SKY go here

THE MONOPOLISTS, about the creation of the board game, and how culture and real corruption intersect.

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