09/15/2014 11:01 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Needs to "Get" to Succeed


It was July 2006.

Yahoo! had just offered to buy Facebook for $1 billion.

Peter Thiel, Facebook's first outside investor, thought the social network's board of directors should at least consider the offer. But Mark Zuckerberg walked into the board meeting and announced, "Okay, guys, this is just a formality, it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. We're obviously not going to sell here.'"

Wait -- what?

Why was a 22-year-old CEO so quick to disregard a billion dollar offer?

To me, Zuckerberg's brash action makes no sense. But Peter Theil argues that, for an entrepreneur like Zuckerberg, it makes perfect sense.

Thiel explains why in #7 below. That, and 26 other need-to-know concepts, are all direct quotes from Thiel's new book coming out next week. But if you want to stay ahead of the game -- and see how well your entrepreneur instincts stack up against Thiel's -- read the quotes here first.

10 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Needs To"Get" To Succeed

1. "Shallow men believe in luck...Strong men believe in cause and effect. [via Ralph Waldow Emerson]." [To Tweet this quote, click here.]

2. "Of the six people who started PayPal, four had built bombs in high school." [To Tweet this quote, click here.]

3. "A startup is a team of people on a mission, and a good culture is just what that looks like on the inside."

4. "If your product requires advertising or salespeople to sell it, it's not good enough." [To Tweet this quote, click here.]

5. "The most contentious question in business is whether success comes from luck or skill...Steve Jobs, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk, have created several multibillion-dollar companies. If success was mostly a matter of luck, these types of serial entrepreneurs probably wouldn't exist."

6. "Forget 'minimal viable products'--ever since he started Apple in 1976, Jobs saw that you can change the world through careful planning, not by listening to focus group feedback or copying other's success." [To Tweet this quote, click here.]

7. "Founders only sell [their company] when they have no more concrete visions for the company, in which case the acquirer probably overpaid; definite founders with robust plans don't sell, which means the offer wasn't high enough. When Yahoo! offered to buy Facebook for $1 billion in July 2006, I thought we should at least consider it. But Mark Zuckerberg walked into the board meeting and announced: "Okay, guys, this is just a formality, it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. We're obviously not going to sell here.'"

8. "A startup is the largest endeavor over which you can have definite mastery. You can have agency not just over your own life, but over a small and important part of the world. It begins by rejecting the unjust tyranny of Chance. You are not a lottery ticket."

9. "Once you think that you're playing the lottery, you've already psychologically prepared yourself to lose."

10. "Everybody has a product to sell--no matter whether you're an employee, a founder, or an investor. It's true even if your company consists of just you and your computer. Look around. If you don't see any salespeople, you're the salesperson." [To Tweet this quote, click here.]

What Did You Think?

If you learned something valuable from these quotes, reading Peter Thiel's book as a whole is a hundred times better experience.

There's an idea I once read from Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur. He said that when he was starting his career, he read every book about successful people he could. Even though he was broke and living on his friend's couch, he spent more money than anyone thought logical on those books. He figured that, if he got just one million-dollar idea from reading those books, years from now, it would all be worth it.

To me, Peter Thiel's new book Zero to One is easily worth it.

Alex Banayan is the author of a highly anticipated business book being released by Crown Publishers (Random House, Inc.) The book chronicles his five-year quest to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Warren Buffett, Steven Spielberg, and a dozen more of the world's most successful people to uncover the secrets to how they launched their careers.

To get exclusive content from the book and the latest from Alex's adventures, click here to join his Inner Circle email community.

(Photo Credit: International Business Times.)