Friday Review: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Summer Sale!! During the month of July, all my books and stories will be on sale at SmashwordsThree, including the first two stories in my urban fantasy series, The Yo-Yo Files, are free. My short fantasy collection is half off, as is my latest sci-fi novel, Two’s Company. My first novel, Circle Unbroken, is at even more of a discount. Ebooks are available in many formats. The sale begins July 1 and ends July 31. I hope you find something that interests you, and please tell your friends.

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a biography of entrepreneur and visionary business man/eccentric Elon Musk. Vance was given access not only to Musk himself, but also to his family, friends, and people who worked for him. It is a deep look into what makes Musk the success he is, and also what drives him to keep pushing forward.

Musk was born in South Africa. His father was abusive, although Musk doesn’t detail much about that part of his life. He left Africa as a teenager to escape. He landed in Canada, where he knocked on doors to find a job. Attracted by the intense business and nerd culture of Silicon Valley, Musk moved there, and began his quest to bring his dreams to life. He was part-owner of the start-up online banking venture that would become Paypal, and used the money from the sale of that to buy into Tesla. He fought, cajoled, bluffed, and bullied his way to producing the first viable all electric car, and branched out into the space business, where he has successfully competed with the established providers of space vehicles. There were many times when each- or all- of his companies were close to bankruptcy, and Musk infused a large portion of his personal money into saving them. There were also a few of what seemed like miracles along the way to help each of his ventures see any sort of success. He has always had, and still holds, the vision of a viable, growing colony on Mars.

Musk himself is one of those somewhat odd, brilliant in some ways and almost ignorant in others type of people who are compared to the fictional Tony Stark. He has also been compared to, and many feel is in a lot of ways the successor to, Steve Jobs. He expects a lot from those around him. Around the clock hours if needed, pushing to limits and beyond, a large measure of out of the box thinking, and try not to be the one who has to bring him bad news. But he pushed himself just as hard, and demands the same level of perfection from his own work. He seems to think in a different way than many of us normal folk, and he also has an eidetic memory.

The book was an interesting read. I learned things I didn’t know about both Musk and the companies he runs. It’s a deep look into the life and work of one of today’s most impressive business minds, and a far-reaching look at one man’s vision of what humanity’s future should look like.

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