With the help of a round trip to San Diego last week I was able to bang out Elon Musk* by Ashlee Vance quicker than I thought I was going to. The other part that helped is how hard it was to put down. Vance was able to interview Musk over the course of 3 years and was specifically authorized to write the book which not only garnered him more time with Musk, but also his inner circle of family, friends and colleagues. Buckle up for tons of great quotes and information from these people.
The book starts off with Musk’s family and the amazing story of his grandparents who deserve a book written exclusively about them. They traveled the world on their plane and created a whole host of stories in doing so. From there, the book is divided into his first two companies Zip2 and X.com, Tesla and SpaceX’s formative years, their growth years and then a summary that includes SolarCity. Interspersed throughout the book are fantastic stories about the Tesla and SpaceX teams that I haven’t heard before, a detailed account of Musk’s marriages, as well as his tendencies and abilities that are often compared with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Over the past year or so I have begun to seriously look into Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity to get a better understanding of how they operate within their overall framework of bringing us to a renewable and multi-planetary world. Reading this book at this stage in their growth was aptly timed as it brought me up to speed, filled in the gaps from my reading, and put the companies in context of each other with their successes and failures. Anyone in a similar position as I was should definitely pick up this book.
Ashlee Vance has a very relaxed and conversational writing style that kept me engaged in the text regardless of the exact topic at hand. He avoids the painful details and leaves you with just enough to understand a technology’s importance to the situation.
To put it simply, it was a joy to read how the inspiration for Tony Stark is building our future and I won’t be surprised if I end up reading it again.
Up next on the chopping block is going to be The Consolations of Philosophy* by Alain de Botton. I was lucky enough to catch a presentation by Jason Silva back in November and he constantly quotes de Botton. With The Consolations of Philosophy being an intro to philosophy, I figured this was a good place to start and see why Silva loves him so much.
Talk to you when I finish.
*I don’t make any money from these links and don’t plan on it, they are simply there to help you find the book should you feel so inclined to join in on the adventure.