Elon Musk

25541028Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

By:  Ashlee Vance
Published:  2015
# of pages:  392

5Stars

Goodreads description:

In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.
Vance uses Musk’s story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which 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 amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like 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.

My opinion:  I added this to my TBR list after my husband told me a little about the car company Tesla.  He didn’t mention Musk by name, but just talked a little about the company.  I was interested, but not overly so.  When I saw this biography on Goodreads, I decided to check it out, especially since I’m always looking for books my husband will enjoy too.  I’m very glad I decided to give it a try even though non-fiction in general, especially biographies, aren’t what I usually read.  I’m glad I checked it out since it’s an awesome book about a man who has created some impressive companies.

This biography tells the story of Elon Musk and how he became the founder/co-founder /major shareholder of companies such as PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity.  Basically, he took the concept of a Silicon Valley startup and went on to create major industries that are completely different than anything that came before.  Aerospace and car manufacturers have been around for decades, but Musk has not only created new spacecraft and cars, he’s changed the entire manufacturing processes to make those products.

I’m not terribly interested in space travel, but I was impressed with how much cheaper Musk has made launching rockets and transporting things to space.  I also admire his goal in reducing waste in the aerospace industry by reusing rockets.  Musk’s plans to travel to Mars actually seem possible to me after reading about how determined he is and how he’s created these companies through all kinds of trials.

I also fell in love with Tesla.  I’m ready to buy one!  Once again, I’m impressed with how Musk has deviated from the traditional auto industry through design, the manufacturing process, and the process of selling Tesla’s vehicles.  I’ve been on Tesla’s website a few times and visited some forums discussing the Model X SUV to find out more about Tesla.  I can’t afford a Model S or Model X, but maybe someday I could buy one used or maybe the Model 3 at some point after it’s released.

I wish more people who are as innovative and determined as Musk would come to be involved in other industries, companies, and even government.  Just because something has always been run a certain way doesn’t mean that way is best.  The fact that Musk has turned the space and auto industry upside down gives me hope that other things in the U.S. and other parts of the world can drastically change to be more cost effective, more creative, more efficient, and less wasteful.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars:  A very well written biography that held my attention, fairly portrayed Musk, and described technical things in a way even I can understand.

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