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Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Written by Ashlee Vance

Narrated by Fred Sanders


Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Written by Ashlee Vance

Narrated by Fred Sanders

ratings:
4.5/5 (885 ratings)
Length:
13 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 19, 2015
ISBN:
9780062373762
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

BookSnapshot

Also available as...

BookSnapshot

Description

In 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.

Publisher:
Released:
May 19, 2015
ISBN:
9780062373762
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

BookSnapshot

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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Reviews

What people think about Elon Musk

4.7
885 ratings / 93 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Wow, I really loved this book. Really loved it. It's the freshest read I've had in a long time. Honestly, I didn't know much about Elon at all before I started reading this book. I'd just heard of his name being mentioned at social events where people would mention some fantastic thing he was up to. I knew about some of his rocket stuff and Tesla, but that was about it. Wow, after reading this book, I was just blown away by the ethic, vision and drive of this man. So far, I've never read of another person being so ambitious and working with such a sense of urgency for the well-being of mankind. I was inspired beyond belief by the incredible, almost magical, things he is bringing to life; it was like being part of an exciting make believe movie, but the contents are real. This book did a great job of allowing me to understand who Elon is, to see the world through his eyes and to dream as he does. It's almost like he's a being from another planet brought here to advance the human species. Who else would have such a pressing desire to colonize Mars in case Earth fails us? Who else would desire to conquer the entire solar system? He sure thinks in an unconventional way and I loved the journey he put us on. He pushed the envelope so far, deemed the impossible possible and made it all happen before our very eyes. Consider me part of the Musk fanclub. I've gained so much from the pickings of his mind as this book offered us. What a great read."Musk's ready willingness to tackle impossible things has turned him into a deity in Silicon Valley.""He does what he wants, and he is relentless about it. It's Elon's world, and the rest of us live in it." -Justine, ex wife"Musk wants to conquer the solar system, and, as it stands, there's just one company where you can work if that sort of quest gets you out of bed in the morning.""We just have a single proof point now that you can be really passionate about something that other people think is crazy and you can really succeed."
  • (3/5)
    Quite a bio on this complex man. Vance seemed to come across from a balanced perspective. Yes Mr. Musk has done some amazing things and pushed barriers and convention that no one might have. But we also get the quirky and seemingly mean spirited driven nature of the man also. There is no question Musk has quite a resume of accomplishment behind which we get in detail with this book. But we also get how things work in a world view shaped by essentially one man. Right or wrong, and Elon of course is right, in his mind. One of the interesting aspects is how the daring ventures Musk takes on nearly come to financial ruin on several occasions yet almost miraculously he is saved from collapse and is able to continue on putting even more millions and billions on the table. It was not really clear how he pulled this off. And on he marches blazing new frontiers and taking no prisoners, employees or otherwise. And it begs the question what becomes of it all when the driving force, Musk, is no longer around.
  • (4/5)
    To paraphrase one of Musk's childhood favorites...Elon Musk is a harsh mistress. Fascinating partial glimpse into Musk - warts and all. Even given his access, Vance filled a large part of the book with SpaceX and Tesla, but those appear to reflect well on what Musk is willing to let the world see. He's a man with visions who doesn't like to waste time. On unnecessary classes I'd rather play video games, write software, and read books than try and get an A if there's no point in getting an A."
    And when presented with a reason to get an A...he got As. By force of presence, he seems to win most arguments, but will also listen to reason. His depth of knowledge about the products and processes is incredible, and atypical of mega-CEOs, particularly as one of his products is rocketry and he cut his teeth on software, not gas dynamics.

    I took (very minor) offense at comparisons to Steve Jobs - Musk is clearly intelligent and understands what he is doing. However, he apparently can be an ass, so maybe the comparison is close? He can be harsh - firing a personal assistant after 12 years (there's more to that story). Or, an employee who took time to "witness the birth of his child" remembered Musk sending him (note: no email corroborating the event was found): "That's no excuse. I am extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your priorities are." I once had a similar experience when I was in the Navy - when a CO wanted to tell me where my priorities were while my newborn son was in the NICU. I'd have a hard time respecting Musk if he pulled that on me.

    But he didn't, and I'm just a bystander watching Musk do things I like.

  • (4/5)
    I only really knew about Elon Musk as a pop-culture figure before so I was interested in reading this biography. I’ve learnt more about his work as an inventor and a manufacturer in the fields of solar power, electric cars and space travel and IT, though as always I’m wary of drawing too many conclusions when I’ve only read one book on a subject!The book gives a comprehensive account of Musk’s life and his work to date (the book was first published in 2015), from the financial company that became Paypal to Tesla, Space X and SolarCity. You learn about his unconventional and talented family and an upbringing that was privileged in some ways and extremely difficult in others. It seems that from an early age he had an exceptional ability to absorb knowledge and to visualise and invent complex processes in his mind. He also has phenomenal energy and determination.A couple of interesting points stood out. Firstly, that Musk does believe in making things. There’s a quote at the beginning of the book to the effect that the best brains of our generation are spending their days getting us to click ads. Musk wants to create something real and tangible and he has a sense of mission.The other thing I found interesting is that his businesses develop and manufacture most of their products in-house. For a generation, conventional wisdom has been that it is more efficient to outsource to specialists. This has had disastrous consequences for our public services, where private companies reduce standards and working conditions, pocket profits and leave taxpayers with losses.Musk has demonstrated that the opposite can be true – that doing work in-house means you keep control of quality, timing and product development. With complex supply chains, there is always someone else to blame when things go wrong (though equally, pay and conditions of his workers do not seem to be a priority for Musk).Although the book does address criticisms of Musk, it is quite a positive account overall. This doesn’t chime with some of his behaviour, particularly in the light of his recent comments about the divers involved in the Thai cave rescue, which polarised opinion on him.We seem unable to accept that people can be exceptionally talented in one area and flawed in another. Perhaps it’s time to retire that tired term ‘role model’ and understand people in their complexity.*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.This review first appeared on my blog katevane.com/blog
  • (4/5)
    Excellent view of the person behind TESLA, SpaceX, and Solar City.
  • (4/5)
    Elon Musk : Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance is a biography about the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. The guy is insanely driven. He got lucky with his PayPal payout and used his millions to pursue his outlandish dreams. Fortunately for him, electric cars and commercialized space travel have a place in the real world. The author warns the reader at the outset that Musk wanted to influence the contents and perspective of the book and the author attempts to provide a balanced picture of Musk’s life but some of his fingerprints appear in the text. This story reminds us that while the heroes of Silicon Valley are those lucky few that hit the right market at the right time, there are many other equally crazy and driven individuals who are not so lucky.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting and engaging about a visionary entrepeneur in online payments (PayPal), electric cars (Tesla), space travel (SpaceX), and solar power (Solar city). Musk comes off as a brililant and eccentric control freak. It will be interesting to follow him further.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book, it is completely amazing. I say this more for Tesla, Spacex and SolarCity. Three very nice companies, I wish all the best for them. As for Elon Musk, yes, he is the man, without him none of this would have been possible.
  • (4/5)
    I really empathized with Musk during the parts where it seemed be had a rough childhood, both at school and home. It felt like he was a powerful figure who overcame a lot. His rise to success is a satisfying read but the feeling melts away and is replaced with a pang after you hear about how he treated his wives. It feels rather chilling and I can't say I see him as a hero I once did. It just hurts. Some parts of this book are little dry but I didn't really mind until after the part about his relationships. It's just the mood shifted.
  • (5/5)
    Best book ever to be honest.Love every sec. Of it
  • (5/5)
    Mostly accurate according Elon. It's amazing in the way it provides insight into the very unique mind of Elon Musk. A man with big dreams and the work ethic to achieve them. Highly recommend this to everyone.
  • (4/5)
    The last four hours were difficult to plough through for me,it's a good book.
    I don't know how much Elon influenced it ,he is very resilient and calculative.
    it won't make sense for him to let Vance write the 'real gritty version',everytime Vance mentioned something about Elon that sounded bad it's coated with a bit of sugar and some justification.
    Elon's excuse is that he is larger than life so he can do like whatever.He is described by Vance as this Ultra Human or something who swears all the fuck*** time.

    I think Elon should reserve swearing for special occasions cause he lost the release that comes with it

    Still,I admire the guy anyway.
    He is as close as he can get to being put on a pedestal (for me) but I don't doubt he would be difficult and downright shitty to deal with XD.

    I'm satisfied knowing a bit more ,and I regret being an art major with a shitty background education now xD

  • (5/5)
    Life as in terms of Sir Elon Musk. Most insight journey in Musk Life and how he is changing the world we live in.
  • (5/5)
    Its an interesting read. Gave me an insight into his management styles, investing and dedication and persistance! Its a must read.
  • (5/5)
    I like it I can’t say how much I like this book
  • (5/5)
    One of the greatest minds of our time ! True definition of a visionary
  • (4/5)
    I'm usually used to listen to fiction only, but I have to admit that was quite interesting, and Elon Musk's life is really close to fiction anyway!
  • (5/5)
    Incredible! Inspiring! Motivating! This books makes you look forward to the future and the technologies that may come with it!
  • (3/5)
    The book is interesting. The narration is average. There are some short portions with sudden drops in audio quality. Some words, such as "Linux", are mispronounced. I think the audio could use another editorial pass.
  • (5/5)
    I rank it up there with the Steve Jobs biography. It was super interesting and I often found myself looking for reasons to continue reading, just so I could know what Elon did next. I knew very little about him going in other than he is very eccentric and forward thinking. Now I look forward to following what he does in the future.
  • (5/5)
    Interesting insight into silicon valley, technology, Elon, and the future.
  • (3/5)
    An extremely captivating story of Elon Musk! Creating solution with a bigger picture in mind
  • (5/5)
    I loved how the author gave an incredible insight into the career and personal life of this Tony Stark type genius
  • (5/5)
    13hours of Treasure.
    Elon Musk in Person & his Venture,Truely Inspiring.
  • (4/5)
    story of modern businessman that started from the scratch. I liked the details and thorough research.
  • (4/5)
    learnt a lot from this book about drive, issues with starting companies, resilience and how best to handle work and family life. Lovely read. Got me interested in space - tius
  • (5/5)
    This book is certainly effective at making you rethink what you are capable of and what really matters
  • (5/5)
    the guy who reads this has gods voice morgan freeman that you?
  • (5/5)
    Disfrute mucho escuchar cada capítulo, realmente Elon es un visionario.
  • (5/5)
    Great book!! Inspiring for those who want to do the diference!!