Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Hardcover – May 19 2015
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“Mr. Vance tells the stories of both SpaceX and Tesla with intricacy and insight. . . . What does come through is a sense of legitimate wonder at what humans can accomplish when they aim high, and aim weird. (Dwight Garner, New York Times)
“[T]his work will likely serve as the definitive account of a man whom so far we’ve seen mostly through caricature. By the final pages, too, any reader will sense the need to put comparisons to Steve Jobs aside. Give Musk credit. There is no one like him.” (New York Times Book Review)
“[A] spirited and riveting biography.” (Wall Street Journal)
“The SpaceX and Tesla founder certainly sees setbacks as an unavoidable part of innovation. But a brilliant new biography paints a picture of him as an obsessive, intolerant perfectionist.” (Financial Times)
“Fascinating and superbly researched…” (The Guardian UK)
From the Back Cover
Elon Musk is the most daring entrepreneur of our time
There are few industrialists in history who could match Elon Musk's relentless drive and ingenious vision. A modern alloy of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs, Musk is the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity, each of which has sent shock waves throughout American business and industry. More than any other executive today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as a science fiction fantasy.
In this lively, investigative account, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance offers an unprecedented look into the remarkable life and times of Silicon Valley's most audacious businessman. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family, and his friends, the book traces his journey from his difficult upbringing in South Africa to his ascent to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than fifty hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to three hundred people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies and to paint a portrait of a complex man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation—all while making plenty of enemies along the way.
In 1992, Elon Musk arrived in the United States as a ferociously driven immigrant bent on realizing his wildest dreams. Since then, Musk's roller-coaster life has brought him grave disappointments alongside massive successes. After being forced out of PayPal, fending off a life-threatening case of malaria, and dealing with the death of his infant son, Musk abandoned Silicon Valley for Los Angeles. He spent the next few years baffling his friends by blowing his entire fortune on rocket ships and electric cars. Cut to 2012, however, and Musk had mounted one of the greatest resurrections in business history: Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity had enjoyed unparalleled success, and Musk's net worth soared to more than $5 billion.
At a time when many American companies are more interested in chasing easy money than in taking bold risks on radical new technology, Musk stands out as the only businessman with enough dynamism and vision to tackle—and even revolutionize—three industries at once. Vance makes the case that Musk's success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America an economic and intellectual powerhouse. Elon Musk is a brilliant, penetrating examination of what Musk's career means for a technology industry undergoing dramatic change and offers a taste of what could be an incredible century ahead.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The guy was born in South Africa, moved to Canada and received his first degree in Engineering from Queens University in Ontario. Then he made his way to the States after accumulating some Canadian business men as friends and believers. He also attended Penn and later Stanford to widen his knowledge. He had and still has a knack for raising money for what sometimes appear to be crazy ideas. What a completely electric car with no dealers to sell it? What design a network of electrical fill up stations across America? What send supplies to Mars and have humans start a settlement there and begin terre-forming the planet to be able to sustain human beings in order to save the species? Sound a little nuts? He's doing it all and Tesla is making and selling those electric cars. And SpaceX has successfully sent payloads to the international space station and returned the rocket to earth. And it won't be long before those payloads include people. And as for Mars, just wait and see. If anyone can do it, Elon Musk will.
Money is not the reason Elon Musk does these things. I truly believe he is trying to change to world for better, making it cleaner and greener and eventually finding another habitat for humans when it becomes necessary. I think he does it because he is a special kind of genius. Though in order to prove to the money people he has to make billions to raise the multi billions he needs to further his ambitions.
I haven't been as enthralled with a biography for such a long time. It's made me a huge fan of Elon Musk.
In this biography, Ashlee Vance describes Musk’s incredibly impressive evolution from an unhappy childhood in South Africa, to university life as a student here in Canada, and finally to his current position as a Silicon Valley multi-billionaire at the head of no less than 3 revolutionary companies: Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity.
It is no accident that Musk has focused his efforts on technologies that protect the environment and slow catastrophic climate change. “What Musk has developed that so many of the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley lack is a meaningful worldview. Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.” Encouragingly, “Musk has visited the White House several times, and has the ear of President Obama.”
“One of Musk’s most ardent admirers is also one of his best friends, Larry Page, the co-founder and CEO of Google. Page comments that: ‘I find Elon to be an inspiring example. He said ‘Well, what should I really do in this world? Solve cars, global warming, and make humans multiplanetary. I mean those are pretty compelling goals, and now he has businesses to do that.Read more ›
What I found a little odd, given that this is a biography, were the personal opinions that Vance peppers into this book. He certainly provides facts that a reader could use to form their own opinion, but then he goes that extra step in telling you what he thinks of the whole thing. It's a little jarring, like watching a wildlife documentary and suddenly having the narrator tell you that the gazelle had it coming.
Vance also seems to provide details about the women in his reporting that left me scratching my head. For example, in describing Gwynne Shotwell, the President and CEO of SpaceX, he paints a picture of a hypercompetent, intelligent, deal-maker and leader. He also seems to think its necessary to describe what she was wearing on different days. Like, in worrying detail. While addressing some interns, "She wore high-heel black boots, skintight jeans, a tan jacket, and a scarf and had big hoop earrings dangling beside her shoulder-length blond hair." Or in describing a particularly tense moment at SpaceX, "Her outfit of Uggs, a fishnet sweater, and leggings started to feel like pajamas as the night wore on.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Vance's book is (as far as I know) the most up-to-date biography of Elon Musk, covering his ventures in SpaceX, Tesla, and Solar City. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Jayson Vavrek
Insight into who Elon Musk is and why his companies are doing so well.
Detailed analysis of Musk's background and resultant strong personality
Well written explanation of his motives and drivers and insightful look at Musk's character
I have never read a book about someone so impassioned to change the world and yet be so practical and disciplined about it. He is so hard working. A true inspiration. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Although I will probably not buy an electric car or Fly to Mars it was fascinating to glimpse however briefly and imperfectly a bit of the drive and creativity of someone who... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kim Clement (Not the Pastor Kim Clement)
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