Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
One Line Summary
Elon Musk is King of the Nerds
Why it’s Awesome
Who would have thought that a quiet nerdy kid from South Africa would be largely responsible for some of the most innovative companies in the 21st century?
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is the biography of Elon Musk, one of today’s most famous entrepreneurs. He has been liken to the real life Tony Stark and holds a networth of around 12.3 billion dollars. Pretty good. But it wasn’t always that way.
Vance does a great job exploring in depth the life of Musk from early childhood in South Africa to ultra-successful entrepreneur. You get to see what it was that made this kid grow into something far different than the average person. Surprise surpise, Musk was always a bit strange. He was brilliant but lacked the social ability most kids seemed to have.
It isn’t long until Musk moves to the United States and begins working on what would become PayPal. He learns some lessons, makes a shit load of cash and moves on. From there he gets a crazy idea to start a private rocket company called SpaceX, funding it using the money he earned from PayPal. As if that wasn’t enough, why not also try revolutionize the electric car and solve the worlds energy crisis? Enter Tesla Motors and Solar City.
This book takes you through the biggest challenges each of these companies face, especially during the recession of 2008. It’s during these times that you get to see the true character of Musk. He isn’t superhuman, but he does have incredible levels of drive and self-trust. No where is this more clear in the fact that he was willing to risk all his money in order to save his failing, pie-in-the-sky companies.
Eventually each company emerges standing on its feet and thriving. That isn’t to say Tesla and SpaceX don’t still face MASSIVE challenges in the future, but they’ve shown tremendous resiliency under Musk’s reign.
What I love about this book and biographies in general is that you get to see what it is that Musk does differently than most people and where you can improve, but you also get to see his humanity. He is just a person, doing nothing more or less than any other human being is capable of. It’s only a wrong paradigm that tells us otherwise
Does that mean that Steve the cashier from Wal-Mart could run Tesla Motors? No, probably not. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t acquire the necessary skills to do so.
This is a scary thing for most people to realize because it places a tremendous amount of responsibility on us. But it’s really the only way to lead a successful life.
Why Does It Suck
This book reads more like promotional material than a serious biography. Musk is also a tough guy to get a hold of, so a lot of the information in this book comes from second hand sources. It also can get a it dry at times, and if you’re not a science person you might struggle with some of this book.
The Wrap Up
Okay, so maybe this book is a bit heavy on the Musk dick sucking. It’s still an amazing book that will get you a much clearer understanding into one of modern day’s most successful CEOs. He might one day become supreme overlord one day and enslave us all, but hey he’s good at his job. I still want to learn from him.