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Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel's Book Recommendations

Co-founder, PayPal and Palantir. First outside investor in Facebook. Billionaire. Author, Zero to One. Obsessed with living forever.

The Black Swan

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About
The Book
A Black Swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them.

The Black Swan

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
About
The Book
A Black Swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them.
What Peter Thiel says

The weirdest idea anyone ever had about the future is that we should expect it to look like the past — but that’s what the reigning science of statistics assumes. Nassim Taleb has not been fooled; he is the single best guide to understanding uncertainty.

The New Atlantis

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About
The Book
'New Atlantis' is an unfinished novel depicting the imaginary land of Bensalem, published in 1627. In this work, Bacon depicts a Utopia where its inhabitants live happily with the sciences, reflecting his belief that Science will solve all the evils of the world.

The New Atlantis

by Francis Bacon
About
The Book
'New Atlantis' is an unfinished novel depicting the imaginary land of Bensalem, published in 1627. In this work, Bacon depicts a Utopia where its inhabitants live happily with the sciences, reflecting his belief that Science will solve all the evils of the world.
What Peter Thiel says

Today we take for granted what used to exist only in dreams. Francis Bacon dreamed of science and technology to make our lives better. We’ve gotten a lot done since, but ‘New Atlantis’ is still futuristic, especially for science fiction from 1627.

The Diamond Age

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About
The Book
Set in twenty-first century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls in the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life—and the entire future of humanity—is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.

The Diamond Age

by Neal Stephenson
About
The Book
Set in twenty-first century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls in the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life—and the entire future of humanity—is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.
What Peter Thiel says

You can’t build new things just with technical know-how; you need imagination. Stephenson’s is boundless: This novel is not just the most entertaining book you can read about artificial intelligence and nanotechnology; it will inspire inventions your kids will use — or create.

100 Plus

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About
The Book
Humanity is on the cusp of an exciting longevity revolution. The first person to live to 150 years has probably already been born. What will your life look like when you live to be over 100? Will the world become overpopulated? How will living longer affect your finances, your family life, and your views on religion and the afterlife? In 100 Plus, futurist Sonia Arrison brings together over a decade of experience researching and writing about cutting-edge advances in science and technology to paint a vivid picture of a future that only recently seemed like science fiction, but is now very real. The first book to give readers a comprehensive understanding of how life-extending discoveries will change our social and economic worlds, 100 Plus is an illuminating and indispensable text that will help us navigate the thrilling journey of life beyond 100 years.

100 Plus

by Sonia Arrison
About
The Book
Humanity is on the cusp of an exciting longevity revolution. The first person to live to 150 years has probably already been born. What will your life look like when you live to be over 100? Will the world become overpopulated? How will living longer affect your finances, your family life, and your views on religion and the afterlife? In 100 Plus, futurist Sonia Arrison brings together over a decade of experience researching and writing about cutting-edge advances in science and technology to paint a vivid picture of a future that only recently seemed like science fiction, but is now very real. The first book to give readers a comprehensive understanding of how life-extending discoveries will change our social and economic worlds, 100 Plus is an illuminating and indispensable text that will help us navigate the thrilling journey of life beyond 100 years.
What Peter Thiel says

Sonia Arrison’s ‘100 Plus’ was first published in 2011, but its message is evergreen: how scientists are directly attacking the problem of aging and death and why we should fight for life instead of accepting decay as inevitable. The goal of longer life doesn’t just mean more years at the margin; it means a healthier old age. There is nothing to fear but our own complacency.

About
The Book
An astonishing work of cultural criticism, this book is widely recognized as the single fullest summation of Girard's ideas to date. In a dialogue with two psychiatrists, Girard probes an encyclopedic array of topics, ranging across the entire spectrum of Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, Christianity and Mimetic Theory, his well-known contribution to philosophy.
About
The Book
An astonishing work of cultural criticism, this book is widely recognized as the single fullest summation of Girard's ideas to date. In a dialogue with two psychiatrists, Girard probes an encyclopedic array of topics, ranging across the entire spectrum of Anthropology, Psychoanalysis, Christianity and Mimetic Theory, his well-known contribution to philosophy.
What Peter Thiel says

René Girard is the one writer who has influenced me the most. Here he gives a sweeping view of the whole human experience on this plane — but it’s not just an academic philosophy. Once you learn about it, his view of imitation as the root of behavior is something you will see every day, not just in people around you but in yourself.

The American Challenge

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About
The Book
The American Challenge was 50 years ahead of its time in its appraisal of Europe, industrialization, the global economy and digital future, and the sclerosis of French politics. We can now rediscover this landmark book, and take measure of all that still remains to be accomplished to bring to fruition the dreams of post-war generation.

The American Challenge

by Jean Jacques Servan-Schreiber
About
The Book
The American Challenge was 50 years ahead of its time in its appraisal of Europe, industrialization, the global economy and digital future, and the sclerosis of French politics. We can now rediscover this landmark book, and take measure of all that still remains to be accomplished to bring to fruition the dreams of post-war generation.
What Peter Thiel says

The book got a lot things right, but certainly there were things that didn’t quite happen, and you always have to ask yourselves why they didn’t. This whole category of past books about the future is a very interesting one, and that is one that I always recommend very strongly.

The Master and Margarita

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About
The Book
Set in Moscow of the 1920s, this satirical novel recounts the dealings a writer and his mistress have with Satan. It is woven around a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. The Master and Margarita was written by Mikhail Bulgakov, between 1928 and 1940 but published as a book only in 1967.

The Master and Margarita

by Mikhail Bulgakov
About
The Book
Set in Moscow of the 1920s, this satirical novel recounts the dealings a writer and his mistress have with Satan. It is woven around a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. The Master and Margarita was written by Mikhail Bulgakov, between 1928 and 1940 but published as a book only in 1967.
What Peter Thiel says

My favourite novel? The classic one I always give is Lord of the Rings. If you want something a little more intellectual, it’s probably The Master and Margarita where the devil shows up in Stalinist Russia, and succeeds, and gives everybody what they want, and everything goes haywire. It’s hard, because no one believes he’s real.

The Right Stuff

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About
The Book
Wolfe tells the story of the US space program, through an exploration of the lives and exploits of the test-pilots, from the legendary Chuck Yeager to the seven initial astronauts.

The Right Stuff

by Tom Wolfe
About
The Book
Wolfe tells the story of the US space program, through an exploration of the lives and exploits of the test-pilots, from the legendary Chuck Yeager to the seven initial astronauts.
What Peter Thiel says

“What is it, I wondered, that makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle…and wait for someone to light the fuse?” Wolfe asks that question in his classic about the test pilots who became the first astronauts. It’s both a great history of the space race and a meditation on how to steel yourself to take risks.

Also Recommended by
  • Atul Gawande

    Beautiful, alive, unputdownable human reportage.