This is a great book if you have interest in business, investing and/or startups. While geared toward venture backed companies, Thiel’s observations and the business histories recounted apply to any company in any industry. I stumbled upon a speech that Thiel gave at SXSW 2013 on YouTube (entitled “You Are Not a Lottery Ticket”) which ultimately led me to his book. My favorite slide from the speech is entitled “money is king”. Here he describes a common modern investing phenomenon whereby there are 5 layers between an investor’s cash and its ultimate utilization.
As a business junkie and investor dozens of deals ranging from commercial real estate to restaurants to technology startups, I’ve really enjoyed the process and the people involved along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I still have money placed in those “5 layer” type investments of which Thiel is critical. My preference though is to invest the majority of my risk capital in properties and companies I understand and in which I can participate in some meaningful way. My success has been mixed but reading Thiel’s book has given me new conviction and confidence that I’m on the right path.
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