Like any philosophy that has come to dominate humanity, one needs to understand its context. If you’re like me then technology is a pretty critical aspect of modern life. Its why I think you should get around to reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Promptly after reading that you need to deep dive into the books that have shaped Peter Thiel. These ideas, as identified by Thiel, are the driving forces behind his investments and those investments, in the billions, are shaping our society. Its why I consider Zero to One more in line with a Gospel, in that he lays out the foundation of what he sees society moving toward, striking down notions like Globalization and monopolies as misguided and antiquated.
We luckily live in a time where getting to the source material is easy, there was a time where people would travel days and weeks just to access someone with first hand knowledge. I took the liberty of compiling a list of the books that have come to define and contextualize Peter Thiel’s way of thinking. I divided the sources into three categories that you can check out for yourself. I have only read one book, American Challenge (its where Thiel draws on his definition of monopolies being good) by JJ Servan Schreiber so far, will update as I get through the other books.
- The American Challenge, by J.J. Servan Schreiber 
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb 
- The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon 
- The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe 
- The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age, by James Dale Davidson 
- The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson 
- Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, by Timothy Snyder 
- Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky, by Rene Girard [2
- Pscyhopolitics: Conversations with Trevor Cribben Merrill, by Jean-Micheal Oughourlian 
- 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, by Sonia Arisen 
- The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, by Ray Kurzweil 
- The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, by Ray Kurzweil 
- Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson 
 Peter Thiel’s 6 favorite books that predict the future over at The Week.
 From the Wall Street Journal’s Twelve Months of Reading blog post.
 Books I selected that I felt represented the authors Thiel referred to in Zero to One, or were mentioned in the there directly.