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

Published on May 15, 2015

Elon Musk has certainly proven his genius and intensity with Tesla and SpaceX, but he needs a mass consumer hit to be put in same league with Ford, Edison and Jobs, said Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.’ Vance added that Musk certainly deserves credit for pushing boundaries in the solar, automotive and aerospace industries. He said Musk struggled to be an effective CEO during his internet days at PayPal, yet over time he became a much better manager. Vance said Musk’s intense style can certainly burn his employees out. Nevertheless, his followers readily admit that Musk gets the best out of them. Finally, Vance said Musk does live up to his ‘Tony Stark,’ Hollywood industrialist image and leads a life far different from his Silicon Valley peers.

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

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.

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

Review

For anyone interested in technology, entrepreneurship or the price of greatness, Ashlee Vance’s new book, “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,” is a tremendous look into arguably the world’s most important entrepreneur. Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk’s unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship. The book bursts with telling anecdotes and quotes that illuminate who Musk is. – The Washington Post¬†“Exhaustively reported . . . this work will likely serve as the definitive account of a man whom so far we’ve seen mostly through caricature. By the final pages, too, any reader will sense the need to put comparisons to Steve Jobs aside. Give Musk credit. There is no one like him.” – The New York Times

“The result is a book that is smart, light on its feet and possesses a crunchy thoroughness. . . . Mr. Vance delivers a well-calibrated portrait of Mr. Musk, so that we comprehend both his friends and his enemies. It’s a book with many ancillary pleasures. Mr. Vance brings us up to date on the states of green energy and space launches. He also veers away from his subject just often enough, offering profiles of the frequently brilliant people who work alongside Mr. Musk The best thing Mr. Vance does in this book, though, is tell Mr. Musk’s story simply and well.”-The New York Times

Really good biographies stand out in two ways. First, they provide lots of zesty stories that haven’t been told before. Beyond that, they explain all the zigzags and false clues of a prominent person’s life, in a way that makes the total picture come into focus. . . it’s clear that this new Musk bio delivers the goods in both respects. . . Ashlee Vance provides a wealth of insights about how this tech titan operates. – Forbes

Of the many profiles of business leaders, Vance’s take on Musk is among the best. The author’s objective and unbiased viewpoint captures Musk’s good and bad, his achievements and failures. – The Motley Fool

[A] spirited and riveting biography – The Wall Street Journal

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future From the Inside Flap

There are few industrialists in history who could match Elon Musk’s relentless drive and ingenious vision. A modern alloy of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs, Musk is the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity, each of which has sent shock waves throughout American business and industry. More than any other executive today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as a science fiction fantasy.In this lively, investigative account, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance offers an unprecedented look into the remarkable life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious businessman. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family, and his friends, the book traces his journey from his difficult upbringing in South Africa to his ascent to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than fifty hours in conversation with Musk and inter- viewed close to three hundred people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies and to paint a portrait of a complex man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation–all while making plenty of enemies along the way.

In 1992, Elon Musk arrived in the United States as a ferociously driven immigrant bent on realizing his wildest dreams. Since then, Musk’s roller-coaster life has brought him grave disappointments alongside massive successes. After being forced out of PayPal, fending off a life-threatening case of malaria, and dealing with the death of his infant son, Musk abandoned Silicon Valley for Los Angeles. He spent the next few years baffling his friends by blowing his entire fortune on rocket ships and electric cars. Cut to 2012, however, and Musk had mounted one of the greatest resurrections in business history: Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity had enjoyed unparalleled success, and Musk’s net worth soared to more than $5 billion.

At a time when many American companies are more interested in chasing easy money than in taking bold risks on radical new technology, Musk stands out as the only businessman with enough dynamism and vision to tackle–and even revolutionize–three industries at once. Vance makes the case that Musk’s success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America an economic and intellectual powerhouse. Elon Musk is a brilliant, penetrating examination of what Musk’s career means for a technology industry undergoing dramatic change and offers a taste of what could be an incredible century ahead

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

Elon Musk
Elon Musk