Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Hardcover – Illustrated, May 19 2015
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"Ashlee Vance's portrait of the entrepreneur at mid-life is an essential read . . . a riveting portrait of Silicon Valley's most driven entrepreneur since Steve Jobs." - The Financial Times ^"The result is a book that is smart, light on its feet and possesses a crunchy thoroughness. . . . Mr. Vance delivers a well-calibrated portrait of Mr. Musk, so that we comprehend both his friends and his enemies. It's a book with many ancillary pleasures. Mr. Vance brings us up to date on the states of green energy and space launches. He also veers away from his subject just often enough, offering profiles of the frequently brilliant people who work alongside Mr. Musk The best thing Mr. Vance does in this book, though, is tell Mr. Musk's story simply and well."- The New York Times ^"Really good biographies stand out in two ways. First, they provide lots of zesty stories that haven't been told before. Beyond that, they explain all the zigzags and false clues of a prominent person's life, in a way that makes the total picture come into focus. . . it's clear that this new Musk bio delivers the goods in both respects. . . Ashlee Vance provides a wealth of insights about how this tech titan operates." - Forbes
"Vance's lively book yields all manner of fascinating insights about Musk's companies, his vision, and his personal life." - Slate ^"Of the many profiles of business leaders, Vance's take on Musk is among the best. The author's objective and unbiased viewpoint captures Musk's good and bad, his achievements and failures." - The Motley Fool
"Vance's book is a masterful piece of reporting." - Vice
"Musk rivals Jobs in the same way this book rivals Isaacson's classic." - Whitney Tilson Founder, Kase Capital Management
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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- ASIN : 0062301233
- Publisher : Ecco; Illustrated edition (May 19 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780062301239
- Item weight : 635 g
- Dimensions : 3.81 x 15.75 x 23.11 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Canada
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If there's any disappointment to be had here, it's that we don't really get more than occasional glimpses of how Musk's internal processes work - how he approaches a problem in detail. But, that will probably come as Musk becomes older and more reflective. For now, he is very much a committed man of action.
This was a fascinating read on one of the most compelling people alive today. If Musk pulls off even a part of his dreams, he could well become the most important person in human history. He is a man worth getting to know.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in India on May 3, 2018
An interesting read for me, considering I never went in depth into what Musk has accomplished (to be fair, I came to this book because I find Tesla cars sexy and thought ‘well, why not read this, at least I’ll know more about the man’).
I’m kind of sitting on the fence about this book. I liked learning about how Musk’s companies came to be, the problems encountered along the way, how things were at times one inch from just failing, but worked out in the end, out of both luck and determination. In a way, it’s a positive ‘lesson’: that sometimes things fail, but it shouldn’t prevent you from fighting for them and taking risks, because they just may succeed as well.
I also appreciated that the author interviewed other people, employees, ex-employees, friends, ex-partners, etc., and that he made them part of the whole: people without whom Tesla Motors or SpaceX wOuld’ve never been able to take off, engineers and mechanics and designers whose role was absolutely not negligible. Since a large part of the book was focused on these companies, acknowledging more than just one actor was a good thing to do.
I would’ve d liked it to go more in depth about how exactly things worked out, when it comes to the science/engineering part. Elon Musk seems like he knows his stuff, too, and has learnt over the years what he didn’t know and made him shoot for impossible deadlines at first (now I guess they’re just improbable, hah), and… I don’t know, I expected something more detailed in that regard. Maybe less of the business aspect, and more about the engineering the way Elon Musk himself goes about it?
Also, for a biography, I think it didn’t go to the bottom of things either when it comes to the man, and lacks a certain detachment. Musk doesn’t come off as a very empathetic person, to say the least, and while objectively I understand his drive, humanely the way he treats his employees is, well, not great at all. So I would’ve been interested in seeing more reflecting about this: coming from him, but also coming from the biographer. There -is- something wrong in the way all these visionary projects have come to be, and it was pretty much glossed over. (In short, was the harshness really needed, does innovation has to come to such a price, and would things have tanked with just a bit more empathy?)
This was instructive, and I kind of liked it, so 3 stars… But while I know more about Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX, I don’t feel like I know -that- much more about Musk himself now.
insightful stories and details about his companies and the struggles to get them off the ground
very inspiring and great book
Highly recommend to any Elon fan