- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Virgin Books (10 March 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780753555644
- ISBN-13: 978-0753555644
- ASIN: 0753555646
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
- Customer Reviews: 911 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future Paperback – 10 Mar 2016
|Paperback, 10 Mar 2016||
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"Is Elon Musk the new Steve Jobs? This is one of many questions this excellent biography poses" (GQ)
"For anyone interested in technology, entrepreneurship or the price of greatness, Ashlee Vance's new book is a tremendous look into arguably the world's most important entrepreneur. Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk's unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship. The book bursts with telling anecdotes and quotes that illuminate who Musk is" (The Washington Post)
"Exhaustively reported . . . this 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)
"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)
"Ashlee Vance’s stellar biography captures Musk’s remarkable life story and irrepressible spirit" (Richard Branson)
About the Author
Ashlee Vance is one of the most prominent writers on technology today. After spending several years reporting on Silicon Valley and technology for the New York Times, Vance went to Bloomberg Businessweek, where he has written dozens of cover and feature stories for the magazine on topics ranging from cyber espionage to DNA sequencing and space exploration.
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elon-musk-coverMusk’s family history is generation after generation of adventurous, risk-taking and highly intelligent people. As a child, he devoured all books in sight and resorted to reading through two sets of encyclopedias as well. “Vacuuming books into his brain,” he was considered a “fact factory,” with a “photographic memory.” Author Vance notes that not all of Musk’s childhood acquaintances appreciated his gifted mind, and some saw him as a target for bullying. As a teen, Musk left South Africa without his parents; first moving to Canada and then to his ultimate destination – the United States.
In the United States, one of his first business developments included an early internet mapping & directory system which Compaq purchased and merged into their AltaVista web-search engine. With cash-in-hand, Musk next envisioned online banking in an internet world where people still feared such a thing. That dream became PayPal which soon developed the methods used for fighting online fraud, and formed the basis of software used by the world’s largest banks, the CIA and the FBI. The young innovators making this possible later became known as the “PayPal Mafia” and “Silicon Valley Royalty” with Musk its “most famous and successful member.”
spacex_defaultIn the years to come, Musk developed, invested in, and expanded SpaceX, Tesla Motors, SolarCity and more. The author delves into the very interesting histories of each of these companies, including the plunges that almost led to bankruptcies. Musk’s companies re-imaged business and what could be accomplished. The aerospace industry/government contractors with their cumbersome, bureaucratic, and wasteful spending models have felt the quakes brought about by Musk’s paradigm shift. His efficiency has enabled Space-X to drastically reduce the cost of launching experiments and satellites into orbit, making Space-X became the first private company to dock with the International Space Station (ISS).
Tesla Motors is also discussed at length in this biography, but I find the SpaceX portions really reflect Musk’s innovative spirit. There were many years of failed rocket-launch attempts, but there was always the push forward through adversity. The launches into space and missions to the ISS are the beginning phases with the ultimate goal of colonizing Mars! When I worked on the ISS program, ideas like that seemed very overreaching, audacious and even laughable to me, but reading this biography, if anyone can get that started, it would be Musk. The wild promises, one by one, keep unfolding into reality. Musk does not see a depressed, dystopian future for humans he imagines us as a multi-planetary species. Instead, his vision is of saving mankind, not simply creating another product for consumption. Yes, it is far out there, but it is always the big thinkers that push the boundaries.
This is such an inspirational book that I recommended it to my husband and son so they are starting on it. I know my son is interested that many consider Musk the real-life embodiment of Iron-Man’s Tony Stark. To me, one of the great sides to America is that boundaries get pushed and success breaks through in spite of outside interference that tries to tamp it down. The accomplishments of Elon Musk and the teams he pulls together to make things happen truly seem unreal and almost science fiction. I highly recommend this very readable and enjoyable book!