Peter Thiel has many claims to fame in Silicon Valley. He co-founded PayPal in 1998, before selling it to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. He later launched various hedge funds, and made early investments in Facebook. He’s an unabashed libertarian, a proponent of Seasteading and Singularity, a critic of the American university system, and the creator of the annual Thiel Fellowship, which pays promising college-age students to “stop out” of school for two years and launch business ventures instead.
Finally, Thiel is also now the bestselling author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. Published in mid-September, the book received a pretty rave review in The Atlantic, where Derek Johnson calls it “a lucid treatise on capitalism and entrepreneurship” and perhaps “the best business book I’ve read.”
The book itself is actually a distillation of thoughts Thiel presented in a course he taught at Stanford in 2012. And it just so happens that the notes from that course — CS138 Startups — are freely available online. They come courtesy of Blake Masters, a student in Thiel’s class, who later helped the entrepreneur write Zero to One.
Below, you can find the lecture notes for 19 classes, which, when originally published on Masters’ site, became pretty popular in the tech community. Links to these lectures will be permanently housed in our collections of Free Online Business Courses and Free Online Computer Science Courses. Other Stanford courses on entrepreneurship can be found here: Start Your Startup with Free Stanford Courses and Lectures.
Lectures Notes: CS138 Startups
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