Written by Micheline Maynard, CNN Johannesburg, South Africa
The new biography, Who’s Afraid of Peter Thiel? the Rise of the Outsider, claims that Thiel is responsible for the Trump presidency, the rise of nationalism in Europe and the rise of extreme political parties in France and Italy.
Peter Thiel: “It’s just a good idea.” Credit: © Jeff Stepakis
The dark tome is the second in a collaboration between Tom Watson, formerly head of drama at Sky, and Konrad von Finckenstein, a journalist, and contains research by editor Damien Clark and several others.
While it casts some doubt on Thiel’s self-admitted “idea value” in launching PayPal, its authors still maintain that Thiel’s idea of a person should be beyond the ordinary, suggesting there is more to him than just a genius co-founder of PayPal.
The PayPal co-founder is often portrayed as a villain by Silicon Valley insiders, accused of cutting out the middleman and focusing on his own interests as opposed to the business.
Peter Thiel with Eric Schmidt in 2010 Credit: Courtesy Eric Schmidt Photo Gallery
The book claims Thiel is solely responsible for the explosive political change that has swept Western countries since the 2015 election of President Donald Trump.
Specifically, the authors state that Thiel is a far more significant figure in the US right wing, claiming he “redefined the political culture” and contributed to the rise of Trump in his bid to win the Republican presidential nomination.
Thiel and Trump trade barbs