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Elon Musk the entrepreneur and innovator behind SpaceX Tesla and SolarCity sold one of his internet companies PayPal for 15 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 uestions 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 is an 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


10 thoughts on “Elon Musk Tesla SpaceX and the uest for a Fantastic Future

  1. says:

    Elon Musk is not exactly a name that rolls easily off the tongue like say Tony Stark the fictional person to whom he is most often compared or even Steve Jobs a real world visionary whose mantle Musk now wears There is no uestion that Musk is a special individual someone with BIG dreams and the drive talent and money to make them happen But like Jobs and Stark for that matter he might be an acuired taste on a personal level In Elon Musk Tesla SpaceX and the uest for a Fantastic Future biographer Ashlee Vance gives us a picture of both the dreams and the man peering back to where Musk began describing his journey from then to now looking at how he is impacting the world today and gazing ahead to where he wants to go It is a pretty impressive vista Here is what it says on the SpaceX website SpaceX designs manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets It might have seemed like visiting another planet when Musk split his home country of South Africa as a teen and headed to North America anything to get away from an abusive upbringing He seemed to have been blessed not only with exceptional analytical capabilities and probably an eidetic memory but an impressively immense set of cojones He was able to talk his way into whatever he needed and deftly talk his way out of trouble as well Sometimes that entailed a bit of truth bending but whatever Ashlee Vance from HarperCollins Vance take us from his adolescence as a computer geek bullied at school through his arrival in Canada cold calling to get work putting together his first dotcom startup and using the money from that to invest in a banking oriented company that would become PayPal It was the mega bucks from the sale of PayPal that would allow him to begin realizing his big dreams In 2003 Musk bought into Tesla then a struggling startup The company took the early knowledge that lithium ion batteries had gotten pretty good added some top level engineering design and programming talent and after plenty of mis steps and struggles brought the remarkable all electric Tesla Roadster to the market in 2008 Tesla followed this with the Model S in 2012 Not only did Consumer reports call this a great car it named both the 2014 and 2015 versions the best overall cars of their years and the best car they had ever tested The last time an auto startup succeeded in the USA was Chrysler in the 1920s But this is not about simply making a buck on a new car The long term goal is to shift our petrochemical auto industry to renewable power and the Tesla is a nifty start Not only is the car amazing the company has constructed a nationwide series of charging stations where Tesla owners can recharge their vehiclesfor free Tesla currently August 2019 reports 1604 such stations nationwide with many planned Tesla is involved in building battery production factories hoping to help support a growing electric car auto economy Inside the Tesla Model S from Tesla Motors But this was not the only big notion that drove Musk A parallel effort was to develop a solar power business And with the help of a couple of enterprising cousins he did just that SolarCity provides the solar arrays that provide power to the Tesla charging stations but it has also become one of the largest solar utilities in the nation installing maintaining a third of the nation’s solar panel systems There is obvious benefit to both Tesla and Solar City in sharing gains in battery and other technology But I expect the third jewel in Musk’s crown is his favorite SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage attempting a controlled landing from WikimediaMusk doesn’t have much going on here nothing major only an ardent desire to colonize Mars But it takes the establishment of an infrastructure in order to be get from point E to point M Musk saw an opening in the market for satellite launch vehicles Existing rockets blast things up into orbit and then burn up on their way back down His idea was to design a rocket that could make its way back to earth in one piece to be reused And he has SpaceX is nearing its goal of launching at least one rocket a month The manifest available on SpaceXcom lists missions to date The company also designed a capsule called the Dragon that can be used for cargo but also for astronauts The cost of launching a satellite using a Falcon is a fraction of what other options charge The next step is a larger launch vehicle Space X has begun launching the Falcon Heavy rocket offering the biggest load capacity since the Saturn V was last used in 1973 And while this is definitely good for business in the relatively short term one must always keep in mind that this is a stage in a bigger plan for Musk Once the launch infrastructure is established plans can begin to move forward to put together Mars missions Not go look and explore sorts of adventures but establishing a colony a permanent human presence on the red planet The Dragon Capsule attached to the ISS from Musk’s Twitter pageOf course when one has one’s eyes fixed on the stars yes Mars is a planet I know Geez there is a large inclination to lose touch with earth bound reality In the movie then play then movie The Producers Max Bialystock in order to cope with the absurd success of a play that was designed to fail suggests to his partner Leo Bloom that one solution would be to do away with the cast You can't kill the actors Max They're human beings Leo says Human beings? Have you ever seen them eat? Max replies I suspect that there are than a few folks who feel about Elon Musk the way Max felt about the actors He is rather notorious for his insensitivity to anyone not living inside his head For example here is what potential recruits are told to expect when they meet with MuskThe interview he or she is told could last anywhere from thirty seconds to fifteen minutes Elon will likely keep on writing e mails and working during the initial part of the interview and not speak much Don’t panic That’s normal Eventually he will turn around in his chair to face you Even then though he might not make actual eye contact with you or fully acknowledge your presence Don’t panic That’s normal In due course he will speak to you Musk has an amazing capacity for work putting in monstrous hours as a matter of course But then he expects the same from those who work for him The rank and file employeesrevere his drive and respect how demanding he can be They also think he can be hard to the point of mean and come off as capricious The employees want to be close to Musk but they also fear that he’ll suddenly change his mind about something and that every interaction with him is an opportunity to be fired “Elon’s worst trait by far in my opinion is a complete lack of loyalty or human connection” said one former employee “Many of us worked tirelessly for him for years and were tossed to the curb like a piece of litter without a second thought Maybe it was calculated to keep the rest of the workforce on their toes and scared maybe he was just able to detach from human connection to a remarkable degree What was clear is that people who worked for him were like ammunition used for a specific purpose until exhausted and discarded” Musk even fired his loyal assistant Mary Beth Brown who had been with him for twelve years after she asked for a raise What a guyEgo is certainly a big piece of the picture here But I guess if you can do it it ain’t bragging Elon Musk is a larger than life figure a computer geek an engineer an entrepreneur and a dreamer in addition to being a walking IED as someone to work for He is one of the inspirations for Robert Downey‘s portrayal of Tony Stark in sundry Marvel Universe films In fact Downey came to visit Musk specifically to get a taste of what a real billionaire techno industrialist was like Downey insisted on having a Tesla Roaster on the set of Iron Man saying ”Elon was someone Tony probably hung out with and partied with or likely they went on some weird jungle trek together to drink concoctions with the shamans” Musk even had a cameo in Iron Man II The resulting publicity from this connection did little to diminish Musk’s view of himself Living the high life in Tinseltown hanging with social economic and media A listers added gas to the bag Part of his ego issue is that he tends to take internal company timetables and announce them to the world as promises I can see his entire staff jointly rolling their eyes clutching palms to temples and issuing choruses of “Oh my god” and “WTF” as they spin in place then holds his employees to those unreasonable schedules Of course this results in many missed deadlines much ingestion of antacid and probably the odd nervous breakdown or twoMusk in an Iron Man II cameo fromWiredMusk is the sort of guy who shows up with some regularity in science fiction novels a genre trope like the researcher who has exactly the sort of experience and insight the PresidentPMChairmanSecretary General needs in order to stave off global catastrophe He’s the guy who has been secretly building the arc that the world needs to stave off extinction In this case he is doing it publicly Of course this raises some issues Do we as a country as a planet really want to be reliant on private companies for our space exploration? Do we want a possible colony on Mars to be a privately held branch of Musk Industries? There are only a gazillion uestions that are raised by the privatization of space What’s good for the bottom line at SpaceX may or may not be good for humanity We have certainly seen how a reliance on the inherent civic mindedness and good will of corporations has worked on this planet Musk is a dreamer for sure and I expect his dream of making a better world through the use of renewable energy and his hopes of establishing a human outpost on Mars are pure ideals But the devil is always in the details and what would happen should Musk be infected by another virulent strain of malaria and not escape with a near miss as he did in 2001? Would the replacement CEO share his ideals? Would a replacement CEO be willing to take big risks to support those ideals? Would a replacement CEO look to sell Tesla off to GM to make a few uick billion? One person can move the world but it takes than a start to keep things rolling We could certainly use plenty people with the sort of drive and ambition that Elon Musk embodies Innovation is a rare resource and must be cherished But like any powerful force it must be if not tethered at least monitored to make certain that it does not run amok Ashlee Vance has done an amazing job of telling not only Musk’s story but of making the life history of the several companies with which Musk has been involved fascinating reading I did get the sense that Vance was from all the time he spent with Musk smitten with his subject While his portrait of Musk is hardly a zit free one I got the feeling that there might be a few skeletons safely tucked away in closets a few bodies buried in basements Nevertheless Elon Musk is a powerful entertaining and informative look at one of the most important people of our time Your personal vision of the future should certainly include checking out this bookEXTRA STUFF has been moved to comment #1


  2. says:

    Excellent and inspiring This book brought up one key uestion do you have to be a bit reckless to be good? Musk was reckless in two areas in the risks he took and the way that he manages his companiesAs for the first the number of near death experiences that Tesla SpaceX and earlier companies went through is almost a running joke throughout this story The Falcon 1 failed three times exhausting the company's funds before achieving a successful fourth flight Tesla avoided bankruptcy by taking on a NASA approved loan from SpaceX plus a last minute acuisition of a company Musk invested in pulled through and avoided being derailed by a predatory investor by a bluff on the order of 40 million Combine these with the many situations where it didn't look like Tesla was going to build anything substantial plus the negative media attention—the fact that Musk continued to persevere and pull through at times where most normal people would have given up is crazyThis risk undoubtedly took a toll on his life and relationships through three divorces and the insane sleep deprivation he and the others on the team go through It brings up the uestion—when you're doing things as big as this how reckless do you have to be? Should you have a breaking point? Does the sustainable get eight hours of sleep and exercise approach really work? Or is the right thing to do actually to push through get four hours of sleep and get shit done? Are those that prefer the 'sustainable' option the ones that don't succeed as much and the reckless ones the ones that actually make progress?As for the second the way that he manages his companies he was reckless in what he demanded from people The most notable story is of SpaceX where employees worked on a crappy atoll in the Marshall Islands for months to deliver the Falcon 1 rocket launches In a Jobs like fashion his outward personality is cold demanding and fearful employees are on edge all the time and have to have answers If someone is the bottleneck on a project there's immense pressure on them to deliver And you never want to be the deliverer of bad news—and if you are you better have a solution to back it up The savvy engineers knew better than to go into a meeting and deliver bad news without some sort of alternative plan at the ready “One of the scariest meetings was when we needed to ask Elon for an extra two weeks and money to build out another version of the Model S” Javidan said “We put together a plan stating how long things would take and what they would cost We told him that if he wanted the car in thirty days it would reuire hiring some new people and we presented him with a stack of resumes You don’t tell Elon you can’t do something That will get you kicked out of the room You need everything lined up Loc 4277And while that is actually a good way to work—to have everything lined up—is Musk's approach the right way to manage a company? Is it the only way to be successful on incredibly difficult things? Or are Tesla and SpaceX successful in spite of this way of working—that it actually holds people back?Other than those uestions this is a very good overview of Musk's life and personality and the trials and tribulations he went through to be successful—a path beset by an immense number of setbacks and late deliveriesWhat comes through clearly is how much of a genius this guy was To get a sense of what this guy is like consider that in his childhood he ran out of books to read at the local library and the school library and sometimes would read for ten hours a day Dude also has a memory that's not only photographic but he can wrangle images and numbers and relationships between them in his head Insane His ability to ingest and retain information and his approach to knowledge is nuts People who have spent significant time with Musk will attest to his abilities to absorb incredible uantities of information with near flawless recall It’s one of his most impressive and intimidating skills and seems to work just as well in the present day as it did when he was a child vacuuming books into his brain After a couple of years running SpaceX Musk had turned into an aerospace expert on a level that few technology CEOs ever approach in their respective fields Loc 3421What also comes across was how much Musk believes in the technological future and how much he as done to restore that promise to humanity It's clear that he is one of the top people pushing technology and humanity forward and that's incredibly inspiringWhat I found a bit lacking in this book which would have made this an excellent book was about Musk's inner life Vance hypothesizes that Musk seems cold and non emotional because he has a different sort of empathy than others he emphasizes with the entire human species and wants to do the most he can for them but that makes him forget the individuals in front of him But what does Musk think about this? How does Musk characterize his own values and experiences? Of course this is something that few biographies do anyway but for someone as dynamic as Musk it would have been a welcome addition to the surface level 'what he did' informationThe guy's a genius and this book I think represents that well The inside look into Musk's life and work from the mid 2000s is thorough and really gives you a fantastic backstory into Musk's experience with Tesla and SpaceX showing he did to make them successful making this into an endlessly inspiring biographyFIVE STARS — Changed how I see things


  3. says:

    35 StarsI like the can do attitude Vance took with hounding Musk and wearing him down till he agreed to cooperate with this biography I also appreciated all the Holy crap Musk is CRAZY CRAZY like a fox moments I had while reading this The only thing that keeps this from being a 4 star book is that the reporting and writing leans too heavily on idolatry There were passages where I literally cringed at how much of a fanboy Vance sounded like


  4. says:

    I found the tale of Elon Musk's childhood all the way through Zip Paypal Solar City SpaceX and Tesla fascinating and inspiring One thing in particular stood out He's not motivated by greed I've met my share of entrepreneurs and there are countless motivations that power these people Some are narcissists some like the idea of being in charge ego some are battling the demons of their parents Musk most likely has a piece of this in his psyche but the best ones are compulsive problem solvers I liked the uote that Justine Musk mentioned when she said something to the effect He's not trying to make money it just happens for him Also I'm no Elon Musk but I share his loathing of acronyms They are blockers of communication As an editor and a writer clarity is key Why lose someone in a meeting when they could be participating and applying to their brainpower to a problem?


  5. says:

    Elon Musk Tesla SpaceX and the uest for a Fantastic Future Ashlee VanceElon Musk Tesla SpaceX and the uest for a Fantastic Future is Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Musk published in 2015 The book traces Elon Musk's life from his childhood up to the time he spent at Zip2 and PayPal and then onto SpaceX Tesla and SolarCity In the book Vance managed to get regular interviews with Musk those close to him and those who were with him at the most important points of his lifeتاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و یکم ماه اکتبر سال 2017میلادیعنوان الون ایلان ماسک تسلا، اسپیس اکس و جستجوی آینده‌ی رویایی؛ نویسنده اشلی ونس؛ مترجم چکامه مرتضی‌نیا؛ تهران پرچین‏‫، 1395؛ در 362ص؛ شابک 9789648340433؛ موضوع اهل کسب و کار ماسک، ایلان، ‏‫1971م ایالات متحده سرگذشتنامه از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا سده 21م‬عنوان بازگشت به آینده داستان زندگی ایلان ماسک؛ نویسنده اشلی ونس؛ مترجم فرید رجبعلی؛ تهران اندیشه عصر‏‫، 1396؛ در 208ص، عکس؛ شابک 9786004211314؛‬ایلان ریو ماسک؛ زاده ی سال 1971میلادی در «آفریقای جنوبی»، مهندس، طراح صنعتی، مخترع، و شخص نامی تجارت، در صنایع پیشرفته آمریکایی، و جزو ده شخصیت تأثیرگذار جهان هستند؛ ایشان بنیان‌گذار شرکت‌هایی همچون «تسلا موتورز»، «پی‌پالکه اکنون به ای‌بی تعلق دارد» و «اسپیس‌اکس» هستند؛ ایشان هم‌اکنون، مدیرعامل و مدیرفنی «اسپیس اکس» است؛ «ماسک» همچنین در حال توسعه ی یک سیستم «حمل و نقل» با سرعت بالاست، که با نام «هایپرلوپ» شناخته شده ‌استکتاب «ایلان ماسک تسلا، اسپیس‌اکس، و مأموریت برای آینده‌ ای شگفت»؛ زندگی‌نامه ی «ایلان ماسک»، اثر «اشلی ونس» ‏است، که نخستین بار در سال 2015میلادی منتشر شد؛ این کتاب، زندگی «ماسک» را، از کودکی، تا تأسیس «زیپ2»، و «پی‌پال»، و بعدها در «تسلا موتورز»، «اسپیس‌اکس»، و «سولارسیتی»، به‌ تصویر می‌کشد؛ «ونس» در این کتاب، با «ماسک»، و با دوستان و اطرافیان او، و اشخاصی که شاهد لحظات مهم زندگی «ماسک» بوده‌ اند، گفتگوهایی انجام داده‌ است؛ «ماسک» خود بر روی محتوای این زندگی‌نامه کنترلی نداشته‌ است؛ «ماسک» حدودا چهارده‌ ساله بود، که همچو دیگر نوجوانان نابغه، تلاش کرد، با خواندن کتاب‌های مذهبی و فلسفی، کار را ادامه دهد؛ او از هر ایدئولوژی، نکته‌ ای را برداشت کرد، و سپس کمابیش، از همان‌جایی سر درآورد، که آغاز کرده بود؛ یعنی پذیرفتن آموزشهای کتاب علمی‌ تخیلی «راهنمای مسافران کهکشان»، نوشته‌‌ ی «داگلاس آدامز»، که یکی از تاثیرگذارترین کتاب‌های زندگی ایشان بود؛ ماسک در این‌باره میگوید «یکی از سخت‌ترین کارها این است، که بفهمیم چه پرسشهایی را باید بپرسیم؛ وقتی پرسشها را بدانید، رسیدن به پاسخ آسان‌تر خواهد شد؛ به این نتیجه رسیدم، که ما باید تلاش کنیم، تا میزان، و حوزه ی آگاهی بشر را، برای فهم بیشتر پرسشهایی که باید بپرسد، بیشتر کنیم»؛در اینجا بود که «ماسکِ» نوجوان، به آن بیانیه ی بسیار منطقی‌ خویش رسید «تنها کاری که انجامش منطقی به‌ نظر می‌رسد، تلاش برای بالابردن سطح آگاهی جمعی است»؛ ریشه‌ یابی برخی تلاش‌های «ماسک»، برای رسیدن به هدف، آسان است؛ ایشان متولد سال 1971میلادی، و بزرگ‌ شده ی شهر بزرگ «پرتوریا»، در شمال شرقی «آفریقای جنوبی» است، که تنها به اندازه‌ ی چند ساعت رانندگی، با «ژوهانسبورگ» فاصله دارد؛ حضور آپارتاید، روی دوران کودکی‌ اش، سایه انداخته بود، و «آفریقای جنوبی» هم، به‌ دلیل تنش‌ها، و خشونت‌ها، گاه‌ و بی‌گاه متشنج بود؛ از سویی سیاه‌ ها و سفیدها، با هم درگیر بودند، و از سوی دیگر، سیاه‌های قبایل مختلف، به جان هم افتاده بودند؛ «ماسک» درست چند روز پس از قیام «سووتو»، چهار ساله شد؛ در قیام «سووتو»، صدها دانش‌آموز سیاه‌پوست، چون به مصوبات دولت‌مردان سفیدپوست، معترض بودند، کشته شدند؛ «آفریقای جنوبی»، سال‌ها به‌ سبب قوانین نژاد پرستانه‌ اش، از جانب کشورهای دیگر، تحریم بود؛ماسک، در دوران کودکی، برای سفر به خارج از کشور، رفاه کافی داشت، و نظر خارجی‌ها را، درباره‌ ی «آفریقای جنوبی» می‌دانست؛ اما آنچه بیشترین تاثیر را، بر شخصیت «ماسک» گذاشته بود، فرهنگ رایج «آفریقایی» در «پرتوریا»، و مناطق اطرافش بود؛ رفتارهای مرد سالارانه رواج داشت، و سوارکارهای ماهر، و خشن، پرطرفدار بودند؛ «ماسک» با اینکه جزو افراد مرفه آن دوران به شمار می‌آمد، یک خارجی بود، که شخصیت منحصر به‌ فرد، و ذات نابغه‌ اش، با رفتارها، و گرایشات آن زمان، در تضاد بود؛ نظریه‌ اش درباره اشتباه‌ بودن دنیا، مدام تقویت می‌شد، و تقریبا «ماسک»، از نخستین روزها، نقشه ی فرار از محیط اطرافش را می‌کشید، و رویای جایی را در سر داشت، که در آنجا رویاها، و شخصیتش، می‌توانستند شکوفا بشوندتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14061399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی


  6. says:

    Space Renewable Energy Internet This is a man after my own heart Out of all the super entrepreneurs and technological legends of the modern era Musk ticks all the boxes on my dreams and passions particularly space Space has always been the frontier that intrigues me the most; for a single man to dream of colonising Mars and actually doing all he can to make that a reality is just simply astounding And then of course there is Tesla Aside from the clean energy technology which I am a huge proponent of how an electric car can become one of the most desirable and good looking cars in the world is another example of the visionary genius that Musk is As with all ideas that are so progressive in nature the trials and tribulations faced by Musk were so daunting that most would've called it uits His indomitable will and spirit however sets him apart from the ordinary He is very demanding on himself being extremely hands on and also of his employees Then again how else are you going to change the world by compromising on the high standards that one sets for oneselfNotwithstanding his crazy but awesome ideas first the Hyperloop and now Neuralink the one thing that differentiates him from most current entrepreneurs is that he really seeks to change the world He is not in it just for short term gain which is what a lot of businesses are doing right now A simple case in point is Tesla's open source patent I'll stop gushing about Musk now and talk a bit about the biography itself The conversational tone employed by the author translated well into audio and the narrator did a good enough job that it didn't sound monotonous The biography was written from extensive interviews conducted with a plethora of his ex employees and the people closest to Musk This enabled a independent and less biased insight from one which was self penned not that I believe Musk will ever have the time to do so The biography was also uite educational; while I still do not know how to build a rocket or an electric car now I've gained a better understanding of certain technical aspects of these items and how they workWhether you're a fan of Musk or just intrigued by his ideas and achievements or even if you only just desired the Tesla badly this is a recommended read This review can also be found at Booknest


  7. says:

    Let me offer this thought SpaceX is the coolest and most exciting company in the world at this moment in timeYes Tesla is also extremely cool And inspiring But nothing can beat that feeling of power wonder and deep inspiration that SpaceX will give you as soon as you start to understand what that company is actually doing As Vance says SpaceX IS Elon Musk So who is this man? How is it humanly possible to achieve what he has achieved? What else can he achieve in the future? Will he become the richest man on Earth? Or on Mars? Not only this book is written in a very passionate and engaging way I also find that it is a very important book for anyone who is at least a little curious about our present and our futureIn fact I believe Ashlee Vance’s portrait of Elon Musk is a necessary read for anyone because of the effect that his companies are having on the automotive the clean energy and the space industries If these companies are not changing the future at the very least they are accelerating our pace towards itVance starts out in a ballsy way stating that he won't budge he will write whatever he wants however he wants it As I got to the end of the book I had a strong feeling that this is not exactly the case and that a lot has been left out However the information that is in the book is absolutely fascinating It is the first biography I've ever read that I would categorize as a real page turner The missing facts that stand out the most in my opinion are1 Childhood troubles Musk keeps referring to a very painful and troubled childhood but in the book all we get is some bullying and social awkwardness Plus a father who was psychologically abusive There are many unanswered uestions there and I think Vance chose to be respectful and not dig too deeply Or he just didn’t get anything about that out of Musk 2 The miraculous last minute save of both Tesla and SpaceX in 2008 not enough details Something crucial seems to be missing Whether it is a few private donors who poured in extra millions or some other turn of fate I don't know if Vance knows what is missing there but something is missing Overall Elon Musk comes across as a normal human being with exceptional ambition exceptional luck exceptional physical energy exceptional intelligence and exceptional confidence in his vision He is an inspiration for many and beyond Elon Musk his companies and his vision are a huge inspiration Did you notice how the most popular fictional depictions of the future YA etc in this day and age are pessimistic dystopian self hating like teenagers? Well Elon Musk is offering us a window into a future that is the exact opposite of that Very similar to Arthur Clarke my favorite author another optimistic visionary Musk's vision of the future is so bright that reminds me of the golden age of science fiction when Clarke and Asimov were writing when people had the courage to dream beautiful positive dreams about the future It sounds like an advertisement for a soap but yes with Musk the future is bright again Finally I have a comment about being a nerd in the first part of the book the kid Elon Musk is called a nerd about a million times Why is it that in America and in South Africa as it seems a very smart kid who is into reading a lot instead of playing sports invariably is called a nerd? The fact that this word DOES NOT EXIST and cannot be translated into many European languages tells us something about America I think Isaac Asimov was onto somehting when he said The strain of anti intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge” Btw great to find out that Robert Zubrin was a big influence on Musk He is the head of the Mars Society a man who has been thinking about going to Mars for much longer than Elon Musk has I read Zubrin's The case for Mars many years ago and I was utterly fascinated by it


  8. says:

    45 starsBillionaire Elon Musk is a businessman engineer and inventor with a radical vision for the future of mankind In fact Musk wants nothing less than to establish a human colony on Marswith a view toward exploring Jupiter's moon Europa someday Jupiter and EuropaMusk fears there will be another mass extinction event like the asteroid that destroyed 75% of Earth's species at the Cretaceous Paleogene Boundary 65 million years ago and he wants people to have somewhere to go There was a mass extinction at the Cretaceous Paleogene BoundaryI agree with Musk that Earth is likely to become inhospitable to humans someday but I fear we'll ruin the planet ourselves with over exploitation pollution war and disease And then we'd probably do the same thing to Mars I'm a skepticIn any case Musk puts his money where his mouth is In 2002 the audacious entrepeneur founded the rocket company SpaceX SpaceX is already launching satellites for several countries and carrying supplies to the International Space Station SpaceXIn the future Musk wants rockets to bring people euipment and provisions to the red planetideally in the next 50 to 100 years SpaceX is just one of Musk's far sighted enterprises In this book Ashlee Vance explores Musk's various business ventures and provides insight into the developer's character and personal life Musk was born in Pretoria South Africa in 1971 He had a difficult childhood being viciously bullied at school and tormented by his father Errol The book has few details about Errol's behavior no one will talk about it but it's revealing that grandpa Musk isn't allowed to meet Elon's five sons Elon Musk's father ErrolAs a youngster Elon devoured books and with his photographic memory recalled everything he read Elon was also an inventive child who built rockets and created video games Little Elon MuskWhen he was 17 years old Elon moved to his mother's home country Canadaand the penniless teen bunked with relatives did odd jobs and went to school Young Elon MuskEventually Elon ended up at the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in economics and physics Musk then moved to California and entered the business worldVance did extensive research and describes Musk's business projects in elaborate detail including how they started; financing; development; failures; successes; leadership; personnel; buy outs; etc Musk's trajectory didn't go straight from start up to billionaire Far from it In fact the developer nearly went bankrupt several timesto the glee of naysayers and jealous rivals Musk carried on though and was successul in the end So yay Elonand pooh on the guys who tried to take him downIn this brief review I'll just provide a uick summary of Musk's business activities For a full picture you'll have to read the bookMusk's first venture after college was Zip2 a kind of online Yellow PagesMapuest that allowed users to find businesses and get directions When Zip2 was sold Musk founded an internet banking venture that became PayPal These were profitable pursuits that provided money for additional investments Musk founded SpaceX the aforementioned rocket company in 2002 and co founded Tesla Motors which manufactures environmentally friendly electric cars in 2003 Then in 2006 Musk helped his cousins launch SolarCity a company that fabricates markets and installs solar panels Among other things Tesla and SolarCity are meant to reduce the use of fossil fuels and lower carbon pollutionwhich would help preserve the Earth and its inhabitants In this vein Musk also hopes to build 'hyperloops' high speed trains that travel on a loop between major cities like New York and Washinton DC; and Los Angeles and San Francisco President Obama is said to be a fan of this project HyperloopMusk's various ventures reuire smart capable personnel and the developer was and is always on the lookout for the brightest students the best engineers the most foreward thinking inventors and so on Elon Musk giving commencement addressCaltech students Musk is notoriously difficult to work for and when he wants something done refuses to hear I can't do it If you really can't do it Musk is likely to let you go and do it himself Musk expects employees to work long hours without complaintand has a reputation for upbraiding and firing personnel Thus he's uite ruthless on a business levelElon Musk is notoriously hard to work with In private life though Musk is said to be a fun guy who likes to make jokes; laugh; attend costume parties; play video games with his kids; and generally have a good time Musk has five sons twins and triplets from his first marriage to Justine Musk and is now wed to the actress Tallulah Riley The entrepeneur has a brutal work schedule he often works 100 or hours per week but takes his sons all over the world with him Musk is also close to his brother and cousins and often collaborates with them on business projects Elon Musk's first wife Justine MuskElon Musk with his second wife Tallulah RileyElon Musk with his sonsIn addition to influencing national and international corporations Musk has impacted popular culture After the actor Robert Downey Jr visited the SpaceX factory he modeled aspects of his character 'Tony Stark' Iron Man on the billionaire entrepreneur And Musk guest starred on an episode of 'The Simpsons' called 'The Musk Who Fell to Earth' The Simpsons segment is hilarious and gives a cartoonish but probably accuratepicture of the entrepreneur as an imaginative inventor and concerned citizen of the Earth The episode is available on YouTube Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark Iron ManElon Musk on The SimpsonsVance's discussions of the ups and downs of Musk's businesses are especially well researched and interesting The author explains how Tesla ultimately built an electric roadster that's beautiful comfortable kid seat friendly and or less reasonably priced if you're rich; and how a rocket was finally launched after heartbreaking failures due to mechanical errors sloshing fuel and other hard to foresee factors Vance also discusses the problems involved when private companies like Musk's enterprises compete with established though inferior businesses that have government support Some corporations are beloved by politicians because of monetary contributions lobbyists factories in their districts; etc It's hard to compete with such companies and they caused massive headaches for Musk But of course he prevailed in the end I admire Musk for his brilliance and accomplishments and I like this book I'd recommend the book to readers interested in Elon Musk; his far reaching business ventures; and the future of the planet You can follow my reviews at


  9. says:

    There are few people outside of the fiction world that I truly admire but barring some unseen or future tragedy I think Musk might well be on the way to becoming my heroIf I didn't know any better I might be looking at all his stated claims and seeing all the echoes of Asimov and Heinlein being dragged out of the page and brought to lifeSkip the whole Iron Man image for a secondLet's talk about Ayn RandMusk is John Galt As in Atlas Shrugged Sure he's also Dagney too or perhaps like Dagney in that he's unwilling to let humanity roll around in the mud despite all the backstabbing and idiocracy in that he hasn't said enough is enough But the day is young Wait until we get to Mars Wait until we really take the man of genius and effort for granted And THEN we'll see what we'll miss once it is taken awayAhhh I don't want to see this man out of classic SF heroes become anything other than his stated goals I'll be honest here He's giving me real hope for humanity Maybe optimism isn't unfounded after allThis biography tells me one hell of a great narrative Is it life imitating art? The best ideals from the grandmasters? Who knows But right now I have real hope I'm holding on to it for my very soul Let's MAKE the future we wanted Let's NOT let anything stand in our wayHELL YAH


  10. says:

    “It’s nuts that people would want to vilify Elon He might say some things that rub people the wrong way but at some point the being nice to everyone thing doesn’t work“ Elon Musk is fascinating I could simply tick off some biographical points such as him having been married twice and having five children with his first wife a set of twins and a set of triplets but that is not why I read biographies and in fact why I dislike most of them Either the people the biographies are about aren’t really interesting actors barely in their 30s for example or it really is just a list of facts that I could read on Wikipedia as wellThis biography about Elon Musk is different He is different He’s only 47 but has lived through and accomplished than other people could in 3 lifetimesHe grew up during a very violent period in South Africa Granted he’s white and the family was never truly poor but it was still dangerous He was also bullied in school like beaten bloody and suffered the intense mind games of his father Later he went to Stanford university for only one day before leaving again He his way of life his ideas and his ambition are very unconventional From what I understand he is still the little boy reading comics and dreaming of humanity conuering and colonizing the stars And that is his mission in life that he has dedicated everything to Some might call this silly but great minds like Stephen Hawking agreed with Musk that it’s the only way humanity will have a future and we do need a champion that is driving us giving us a chance at survival Once upon a time we all had this dream of reaching the stars but it has since dwindled thanks mostly to politics and peoples' tendency to give up when something is hard Musk knows that getting humanity to Mars and beyond also means creating technology that will automatically enhance and better life here on Earth There are many who can influence consumers and create new trends but Musk isn’t here for exploiting a moment and getting rich he’s poured ALL of his money time and time again into his businesses when they were in trouble and went much farther than any „expert“ thought sane just to reach his ultimate goal a colony on Mars Simply put he has proven that he’s not afraid to give up or at least risk everything unlike most entrepreneurs It’s no surprise then that his three main businesses are Tesla electric cars SolarCity renewable energy and SpaceX aerospace industryBefore getting to create the above mentioned companies he founded zip2 which became part of AltaVista eventually as well as Xcom of PayPal fame but was forced out I won’t go into detail but it seems kind of a trend that people get enthused by Musk get rich by his skills and then force him out because they simply wish to cash in and don’t share his vision Backstabbing galore throughout his career It’s sickeningI admit that it sounds as if he was a very difficult man to work with but that is no excuse for such behaviour and his success shows that his way of doing things works Every time he has an idea people say he’s nuts and that it cannot work and then he proves them wrong „Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not“ Larry Page Google co founderShort term inconseuential goals are trending nowadays from normal people to the highest politicians In this environment a radical visionary like Musk steps on many toes and uite often tooIt can’t be easy to be ridiculed and stabbed in the back all the time However he thinks that that plus his childhood suffering actually helped him to become who he is today And I see what makes him think so Without adversity there is no challenge to overcome the dangerproblem so you stagnate It sounds a bit like Darwin’s theory of evolution „Elon is one of the few people that I feel is accomplished than I am“ Craig Venture the man who de coded the human genome and went on to create synthetic lifeformsRadical Visionary Musk has haters and fans alike He was even called the real life Iron Man albeit an Iron Man who sacked his Pepper PottsHis life goals certainly are very compelling if you care about the future at all and refuse to be tied down by the comfortable excuse of it being hard or costly If you look at historical visionaries that have catapulted humanity forward I’d say they were all or less „difficult“ people and especially after seeing the Heavy Falcon rocket being operated successfully only recently a fact that sadly didn’t make it into this biography as it was published earlier I believe he can pull it off and certainly hope he canI personally like how well read Musk is that he seems to be a technological allrounder that he is right there in the factories working at least as many hours as he expects from everybody else and getting his hands dirty like any other worker often ruining expensive Italian leather shoes to the horror of the people around him that he has such an unbendable will though I'm sorry it has cost him so much already that he is playing video games in his spare time when he's not taking care of his kids because he seems to be uite a good father as well and that he is a big nerd and geekAs can be seen by him not only shooting one of his sports cars into space that gets steered by a space man Bowie reference recently or by him storing a very nice collection of scifi literature onto the car's bord computer but also by him programming said bord computer to display Douglas Adams' immortal wordsThis biography was written in a very compelling way by a man with an apparent vast knowledge of the history and inner workings of various industries the author has worked for several well known business papers for many years The book also shows a great deal of research Some authors manage to bore me even when talking about interesting people but Ashlee Vance has a uniue style and I like the red thread throughout the book and that he doesn’t shy away from also showing the problematic sides of Musk’s character