Plot Summary

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk that was first published in 2015.

At the age of 17, Elon moved from South Africa, where he was born and raised, to Canada. He then studied at Queen’s University for 2 years before he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania to study business and physics. Shortly after he finished school, he started an online city guide company Zip2, which was later acquired by Compaq for US$307 million. Using his newfound wealth, Elon turned his direction to the banking industry and co-founded X.com, an online payment company, which was later renamed as Paypal after X.com’s merger with Confinity. Despite internal struggles within Paypal in which Elon was ousted from his role as the CEO, Paypal turned out to be a great success. This caught the attention of eBay which later acquired Paypal for US$1.5 billion in stock. The success of Paypal and to a lesser extent Zip2 gave Elon the confidence, the financial resources, as well as the reputation to pursue even his most ambitious dreams.

With goals which include reducing global warming through making sustainable energy more accessible and lowering the risk of human extinction by establishing a human colony on Mars, Elon Musk is not your typical entrepreneur. The Elon we know today is known for innovation as well as executing on the most outlandish ideas. He certainly has his flaws which include his tendency to overpromise on project delivery dates as well as numerous counts of him being unreasonably demanding of his employees. However, one thing that no one can dispute is his relentless drive and unmatched work ethic.

elon_musk

Book Review

Despite initial push back, Elon eventually cooperated with the writing of his biography. Thanks to Ashlee Vance’s determination to complete the biography with or without Elon’s involvement, we are able to get an inside look into who Elon is and the impact he has on those around him.

By interviewing a wide range of people that were at once point close to Elon, Ashlee was able to show Elon’s role not only as an entrepreneur but as a leader, a business partner, a competitor, and a husband as well. This shed insight into how Elon is able to sustain his drive as well as how he approaches challenges.

It’s one of the very few biographies that I’ve ever read. I find it a very enjoyable read from start to finish. Elon’s story is extraordinary but the level of details which Ashlee presented is what makes it engaging and refreshing.

I’ll recommend this book If you are interested to learn how Elon got to where he is today. You will also learn a bit about the aerospace and electric car industry along the way.

Have you read this book? And is there any book you would recommend? I’ll love to hear your thoughts!

I’m currently reading Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. 

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