Max Chafkin on Thiel’s Pursuit of Power
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Few have done more to shape Silicon Valley than Peter Thiel. The billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur has been a behind-the-scenes operator influencing countless aspects of the contemporary way of life, from technologies we use daily to the delicate power dynamic between Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Washington. Despite his power and the ubiquity of his projects, no public figure is quite so mysterious.
In the first major biography of Peter Thiel, Bloomberg reporter Max Chafkin traces the trajectory of the tech giant’s life and worldview, including his upbringing as the child of immigrant parents, his years at Stanford as a conservative thought leader, the founding of PayPal and Palantir, early investment in Facebook and SpaceX, and his relationships with fellow tech titans Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Eric Schmidt. The Contrarian shows the extent to which Thiel has spread his values to corridors of power far beyond Silicon Valley, including funding the lawsuit that destroyed the blog Gawker and strenuously backing far-right political candidates—notably Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
In conversation with Emily Chang, the Emmy-award winning business journalist and a Bloomberg anchor you may recognize from her cameo appearances on HBO’s Silicon Valley, Chafkin shares the insights from this deeply reported biography. Tune in for the eye-opening view of a business leader whose rise, like the rise of Silicon Valley, has proven both thrilling and fraught with controversy. How well do you know the leaders of the digital age? *We encourage you to join with a book or donation to support the production of this event and make it possible for us to continue bringing you great conversations.