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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Hardcover – May 19 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (May 19 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062301233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062301239
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was pleasantly surprised that this biography of the brilliant Elon Musk fascinated me so much. Cars are not my passion. Science was never one of my better subjects. And I know nothing about being either an engineer or a computer programmer. Sounds like I should have been bored with this novel as it encompasses all those subjects and yet the real story is about the man Elon Musk.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Terrific insights of an iconic person who has brought about an evolutionary change to our culture. Paradigm shifts are often cumbersome and painful in society and to the individuals promoting them. The author has done a thorough job of researching the man and his many missions. She has incorporated her research into a pleasingly readable text that helps to better explain the storied life of a Quixotic person. Elon Musk does not swing at windmills- he embraces those technologies that themselves poke at the fossil fuel cartels. His energies are not only solar, they are personal - as are the costs he has personally paid to realize his universal dreams for alternatives to the status quo energy sectors. You can't describe Mr. Musk as complacent in any of his endeavours, his about-to-be-released introduction of the Model X car and the next SpaceX mission to the International Space Station are but two topical examples of his meteoric successes. The author, Ms. Vance has given colour and texture to a 4-D portrait of this notable - Man for All Seasons and Reasons- but not always Please'n- Elon Musk.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a read. What a ride. Even if you think you know who Elon Musk is, this book reveals a very unique individual driven to resolve as many issues as he can to help keep humanity on the road to continued existence and perhaps true greatness. An absolutely fascinating tale that reads like an adventure thriller, and is really hard to put down. Can't wait for part II in 15 years or so, when humans are ready to leave for Mars.
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Format: Hardcover
Elon Musk is arguably the most exciting and visionary entrepreneur alive today. He has often been described as the inspiration behind Iron Man or the next Steve Jobs, and an article in Business Insider observed that “A Lot Of People Think Elon Musk Is Already Greater Than Steve Jobs Ever Was” (Business Insider, August 2013). TED curator Chris Anderson wrote a great portrait of him when Musk was named Fortune magazine’s 2013 Business Person of the Year (“The Shared Genius of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs”, Fortune magazine, December 2013).

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.
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