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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for…

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (original 2015; edition 2017)

by Ashlee Vance (Author)

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Title:Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Authors:Ashlee Vance (Author)
Info:Ecco (2017), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:biography, business, leadership

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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (2015)

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Venez, ensemble colonisons Mars
  ACParakou | May 29, 2018 |
I enjoyed this immensely. It's written in a very straightforward manner, with neither sycophancy nor hyperbole. It shows the man as a workaholic with a big ego, who has nevertheless driven some fascinating and admirable technological developments in the last few years. ( )
  SChant | Mar 16, 2018 |
Summary: A biography of the brilliant and flawed tech entrepreneur involved with SpaceX, Tesla, and his visions for the future of humanity.

He created software that anticipated modern mapping apps. He helped launch Paypal, and then was forced out, accruing the fortune that funded the beginnings of SpaceX and Tesla. He has proposed high speed travel via the “hyperloop” between cities, a proposal serious enough that my city is vying to be one of those linked by this new technology. He is the visionary who believes that we must colonize Mars for the human species to survive. Yet he has sounded the alarm against Artificial Intelligence and an apocalypse of intelligent machines (anybody want to be a robot pet?).

This biography traces the life of this tech entrepreneur from his precocious childhood in South Africa that subjected him to bullying, his sale of a video game called Blaster at age 12, his move to Canada, education at Penn State (degrees in physics and business). His first start-up venture, with brother Kimball was Zip2, a kind of online city guide that included mapping functions, eventually sold to Compaq. He used funds from this to start X.com, which through mergers eventually morphed into PayPal. He was ousted from the company but came away with $180 million.

Musk used this to fund two ventures. SpaceX was his vision to privatize space travel, developing a model commercial space transport. Tesla was originally formed not by Musk but by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning to manufacture all-electric cars. Musk came in as an investor and spent most of that fortune on the two companies, both of which nearly went belly up. Much of the book is about the technological and financial challenges Musk faced, but also, in the case of Tesla, conflicts with the first founders. It’s a story of Musk’s relentless drive to succeed, that drove others (or drove them out). Along the way, we learn of Musk’s peculiar kind of brilliance that masters the highly technological details of rocketry, car manufacturing, and eventually, solar power.

While Musk can certainly turn on the charm, whether in wooing his second wife or wooing prospective Tesla buyers, it is clear that this is not a nice person, and all of this is justified by the relentless pursuit of visionary goals. The book is laced with the f-bomb, Musk’s favorite curse word. He divorced his first wife Justine, and divorced, remarried, and divorced again second wife Talulah Riley. The challenge seems to have been finding time for them in his high pressure life, and not just as attractive accessories to his public persona.

The book concludes with Musk’s visionary perspective with its focus on Mars space travel, but also of a commercially viable private space industry, a totally different approach to the automobile and widely-accessible solar power. One is left wondering if it is possible to be brilliant, visionary, successful–and good. Some would say, three out of four isn’t bad, and point to the people around Musk who share his vision and goals, and consider pursuing them with him a life well-lived. I suspect Musk would say that his personal morality is less in question than the flourishing of the human species, perhaps as a multi-planetary race. It’s an “ends justifies means” argument. The question remains, “what kind of people will make up the human community in Musk’s fantastic future?” It’s a question I wonder if he’s thought about. Have we? ( )
  BobonBooks | Dec 5, 2017 |
If you want to be an huge fan of Elon Musk and his empire, read this book!

What an amazing person and what an exciting story this book showed! The world needs such kind of person like Musk. Do something good for the future.

Elon Musk is a very interesting man. He is ambitious a great adventurer. He is working insanely hard and very pushing. And he is a very good Silicon Valley business man in the first place. He can predict a successful business model when everybody thinks it's crazy. He knows what are the desires of the public. He is good at manipulating the emotion of the public and using his impact to the normal people to persuade the government and investors.

Good Luck to Musk and his business! ( )
  zhliu0124 | Aug 7, 2017 |
Excellent view of the person behind TESLA, SpaceX, and Solar City. ( )
1 vote addunn3 | Jun 23, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062301233, Hardcover)

New York Times Bestseller
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.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 05 Jul 2015 07:40:23 -0400)

"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"--From publisher description.… (more)

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