Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a biography that shares Elon Musk’s story from outcast in South Africa, to young video game enthusiast, to his web directory that started to take off – early web payment system in X.com and into modern day. His part in X.com as it merged with Paypal, and Tesla are discussed in detail, along with what seems to be his driving force: Space X and his hope to colonize Mars.
Now, this book covers a lot of ground, and it would be hard to sum it up shortly, but some keys to Elon Musk’s mindset are part of why I read it in entirety so I’ll share those here. Elon Musk has a Steve Jobs like knack for pissing people off with his pig-headedness, but an equal or greater amount of ability to get things done.
- He’s always been a bit of a loner, and is type A when it comes to acquiring as much knowledge on a particular subject as possible.
- He has become more interested in the limelight as he got older, and has used his wealth to acquire cars, drive recklessly, date models – while also sometimes living on friends couches.
- From what I could tell he uses his money to delight his kids, but generally has had a hard time being an amazing family man because of his work obsessions.
- His determination to succeed + pig-headedness in regards to details + his voracious appetite to learn deeply in not only theory, but in more engineering type subjects has gotten him into a unique situation where he can innovate in many different spheres at once.
One of the key climaxes of the book is when Space X and Tesla are both on the verge of collapsing or going into bankruptcy… Elon did some very unorthodox trickery to get investors into a deal and flipped it just in time to save both companies. His early success Zip2 – the web’s first yellow pages drove his capital up enough that he could use it to make more money and so on. Passion + capital to wield + programming/engineering understanding led him to enough success that he could fail more wildly at dealing with people… And failing wildly with people but still persisting and understanding how hiring and managing the right people is extremely important allowed him to get better with people.
Being worth $14.3 billion – with a deep understanding of engineering, programming and financing key industries that drive the world economy and people’s lives means Musk is likely going to innovate in ways that will effect all of our lives one day.
Tesla’s vehicles are seeping out from just the rich, famous, and wildly successful and into the broader market – and his space explorations hold significant promise, as well as his other forays into transportation like the Hyperloop may just be (or influence deeply) the ways we travel in the future.