New York Times and International Bestseller Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Audible and AmazonMore than 2 million copies soldIn the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs–a real-life Tony Stark–and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new “makers.”Elon Musk spotlights the technology and vision of Elon Musk, the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, who sold one of his Internet companies, PayPal, for $1.5 billion. Ashlee Vance captures the full spectacle and arc of the genius’s life and work, from his tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and flight to the United States to his dramatic technical innovations and entrepreneurial pursuits.Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our age: can the nation of inventors and creators who led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk–one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history–is a contemporary, visionary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.Thorough and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.
January 24, 2017
File Size: 84 MB
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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 Veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance offers an unprecedented look into the remarkable life of the most daring entrepreneur of our time. Elon Musk paints a portrait of a complex man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation—from PayPal to Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity—overcoming hardship, earning billions, and making plenty of enemies along the way. About the Author Ashlee Vance is an award winning feature writer for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Vance is also the host of the “Hello World” TV show. Previously, he worked for The New York Times and The Register. Vance was born in South Africa, grew up in Texas and attended Pomona College. He has spent more than a decade covering the technology industry from San Francisco and is a noted Silicon Valley historian. Read more <div id="
When I walked into Barnes & Noble two weeks ago, I wasn’t actually looking to purchase a book. Usually, I go in, browse for 30 minutes, and get out. But when I walked around to the Physics and Science section, the first thing I saw was Elon Musk’s face.Inevitably, I picked it up and began reading.2 pages in, I decided I was in this for the long haul and sat on the floor, right there in the middle of the store. 15 pages in, my friends finally found me and forced me to leave. But I couldn’t part with this. I needed this book. Those first 15 pages captured me like so few books do (in fact, only one book in the past year has totally stolen my attention like this).So I bought Elon Musk feeling on top of the world and excited to keep reading.I travel a lot between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA, so, since I’m in the middle of taking classes in Pittsburgh, I swore to only read this book on the bus, because I knew once I picked it up again, I wouldn’t put down.I was right.The next day, I got on the bus, got to reading, and tuned out the world. Three hours later, I was nearly halfway through — and WOW. Vance’s writing style flowed right through my mind. No clunky sentences, no jarring phrases. It’s such an easy book to read, despite the complex nature of the contents.Elon Musk, if you don’t know, is a biography. Yes, a biography. You’d expect the case-study of someone’s life to be boring and uneventful, dragging until the very end.This wasn’t the case at all.Vance opens the book at an interview with Elon Musk himself. The first line, a quote from Musk, “Do you think I’m insane?”, perfectly captures the whole context of the biography. Because as you experience the story, as you see the challenges Musk went through to reach the pinnacle he’s at today, the question nags at you. Musk isn’t soft-spoken, or easy on his employees, or a man who kicks his legs up on his desk and snoozes while his companies mill around him. Vance shows how Musk is both the CEO and an employee of his companies, simultaneously the teacher and student. He gets in the work, asks all the right questions, gives all the right orders. His vision is THE vision, and if you get in the way, Musk has been known to fire you on the spot.Musk breaks every convention, every tradition, every standard. Vance takes you deep into the details, from Musk’s childhood and lineage in South Africa, all the way to Canada and the United States, where the bulk of the story unfolds.When Musk looks at big businesses, he sees unmovable behemoths that refuse to change their methodologies. American innovation became a thing of the past. Technology and industry was growing – but nowhere near as fast as it should. So we follow Musk’s journey from his small start-ups, Zip2 and X.com, and move into his larger, more permanent ventures, namely SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity.I myself am a huge fan of Elon Musk. Still, until the past year or two, I only thought of him as “that guy who made SpaceX” and “that guy who runs Tesla.” Until reading this book, I never knew the struggle — no, the hell he went through to make and keep these companies. You think, oh, he just has a lot of money.Yeah, now he does. But did you know SpaceX and Tesla were hours away from going bankrupt? Did you know that the Falcon 1 rocket kept failing, and one more failed launch literally meant the end of SpaceX? Did you know SpaceX tested these rockets on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and would fix problems they encountered in a matter of days, as compared to months by standard companies?This book is the first time Musk has explicitly let anyone interview him for a biography. Aside from a few questionable quotes that have been publicly denounced by Musk after the publication of this book, we’re still given a tremendous amount of insight into his head and how he runs the companies. Vance interviewed more than 300 people and spent over two years compiling this account. And I have to give credit to how up-to-date the information is. There are several events Vance mentions that occurred into 2015, such as the first landing attempt of Falcon 9 on the sea barge, which took place in January, and he refers to the second attempt as being in a couple weeks, which means that Vance included this information on a very tight deadline, probably mid-March (the second landing attempt happened on April 14, 2015).I want to congratulate you, Mr. Vance. Well done. Very well done. I’m going to reread this book in a few weeks (probably after the scheduled June 19th third Falcon 9 landing attempt, this time on solid ground, as opposed to a barge). Anyone who wants a ridiculously thorough insight into Elon Musk’s life and companies should read this book. It had me from Page 1 all the way to Page 363, and even the appendices that come after.This is an incredibly inspiring book, a important look into a game-changing business strategy, and a valuable lesson to the world. As Musk says, “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”
Here’s a review written by my 14yo son. He became initially interested in Musk because we talk a lot about stocks and he’s watched the Tesla’s stock crazy ride. Some parts were definitely too dense, but all in all, I think the broadened his mind about what is possible and how “nerdy kids” can really do awesome stuff.***The book that I read about Elon Musk was full of many scientific terms and a lot of complicated engineering. It talks about Elon’s life as a kid and how thoughtful he was. Later in Elon’s life he was working a bunch of jobs and later decided to branch out and create his own company. This was a company called Zip2 which better known as PayPal blew up and did very well for Elon and his brother Kimbal. Later Musk starts Tesla which is potentially the future of saving our world. They made a car called the Tesla Roadster and eventually made the Model S which many people have now today. These cars are electrical meaning there is a rechargeable battery in the car. Later on Musk finally decided to chase his dream and build rocket ships that could be reusable. Many years later Musk decided to test his first rocket ship, from this launch Musk learned a lot of things and later got a successful launch into space. Some takeaways from this is when Musk made the first Tesla car it was very expensive. But now many people are getting Tesla’s and are now the same price as a regular car. Also it was cool to hear about Elon and SpaceX to make their rocket and launch it into space because a couple of months ago we saw SpaceX launch a successful rocket into orbit. So it’s cool to think about how they built the rocket and the story of how it happened. Even though Elon as a little kid was being bullied, by the time he was four he was very thoughtful and always wanted to make a rocket ship. The amazing thing to think about is that in 2030 every single person might be driving a Tesla. I would recommend this book to anybody who can handle the vocabulary. There are many words that I had no clue what they meant. But otherwise people should realize what might be the future. Soon all gas powered cars might go away and be replaced by Tesla cars and other e cars.
I just finished reading Elon Musk’s biography. Musk has always been my hero and this book sure did justice. One quality that I really admire in him is his ability to set clear vision. Once he sets the vision, Elon gives his blood, sweat and tears to make it a reality. People laughed at him when he first announced his vision on inter-planetary life. Since then he demonstrated significant enhancements in rocket technology and was able to produce a re-usable rocket. The analogy he gives is that of commercial plane, imagine after every flight between London and LA you throw away the plane how expensive will be your air ticket. Elon says his reusable rockets will make space travel 100 times cheaper. His reusability concept is brought to life with Falcon 9’s successful landing back on earth. Recently Elon presented how he plans to take humans to Mars in 2022 and build a city. SpaceX’s BFR project will carry 100 crew members along with equipment needed to set up a colony. He is not our typical Silicon Valley techie who wants to create a multi-million dollar corporation and cash out. His goals are bigger than money and fame. He wants to make a significant impact on humanity and make this world or even world beyond us a better place to live. His commitment and drive is unparalleled, he is ready to solve issues 3 in the morning on Sunday, and he works 7 days a week and doesn’t shy away from getting his hands dirty. He is hard to work with and does set tough goals for his people. Do you need to be tough to achieve success like SpaceX and Tesla? Can we taste the similar success with a little softer management style? What makes great entrepreneur? Do we need to be relentless like Elon? Or a management style of Richard Branson is equally productive where you place trust with people and they deliver?
So good to have this book, if u wanna buy go for it
Before reading this book, I had always learnt about the great revolutions in the history books. But, After reading it, I realised that we are part of this great revolution created by individuals like gates, jobs, Bezos and Musk. Personally, I am more addicted to Musk now, may be because of his great vision. After reading about his journey to create the Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City, I understood that how visionaries actually think. And, specially his vision is for the betterment of human race. He is making every damn possible effort to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and ultimately reducing the global warming. This books provides a great opportunity to dive into the mind of musk. He is a different individual for sure. Making all things possible. He has beaten not only big car manufacturers from US, Europe, China and Japan but also Big organisations like NASA. I recommend this book to everyone!
[NOTE: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]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.
Excellent book which covers musk’s life from an early age right up to the presentinsightful stories and details about his companies and the struggles to get them off the groundvery inspiring and great bookHighly recommend to any Elon fan
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