Tag Archives: Elon Musk

Book A Month 2016: First Book Down

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.

-Adam

*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.

Publications I Can’t Live Without

While many people look at Sunday as the day of rest, I look at it as the day of reading. It’s the one day of the week that I have enough free time to sit down and go through my ever-growing Safari reading list. Besides the startup/VC blogs, three publications constantly find themselves in that list and they consistently have fantastic content.

Vox

Starting with the 2012 election, since that was the first time I could vote, I have constantly had one ear listening to politics. The problem I had with reading and hearing about political news is there is a knowledge barrier. Gaining access to the articles┬áis easy but the problem is understanding what they mean when they throw around things like “The US and China are engaging in a cap-and-trade program again…”. A what-now?

What Vox does is combine the headlines with the background so you actually know what is going on and you don’t have to do multiple Google searches every time you read an article.

Note: subscribe to their newsletter, they do an excellent job outlining the top headlines succinctly so you can get back to living your life while still being in-the-know.

Wired

For science class in sixth grade we would have to pick out an article from a magazine and then write a summary and our thoughts on it every so often. I would always write about Popular Science since they would talk about the latest gadgets and developments in the different science fields. Wired is the same thing but with better writing and a thoughtfully designed pages that make for an enhanced reading experience.

Note: I despise looking at ads. I find them to be intrusive and clutter up a page. Because of that I subscribed to Wired and get an ad-free version sent to my iPad. Speaking of ads, if you hate ads like me but want to still pay for the content you are viewing, check out Contributor by Google.* Instead of seeing an ad, you see a box saying, “Thanks for being a contributor”. Paying $5/month blocks hundreds of ads a month but you don’t feel you are cheating like when you use AdBlock.

Wait But Why

WBW┬áis hands down the best place for amazing, long articles that will change your perspective for the better. I discovered Tim Urban’s website this summer right before he published his epic three part story on Elon Musk and his companies. He takes a concept – be it Tesla Motors, Graham’s number, or mundane Wednesdays – and breaks it down until you have a complete understanding of why it exists and what makes it important. Plus he adds in comical drawings that make things like artificial intelligence easy to digest.

 

-Adam


 

No, I am not being paid to write about any of these, I just truly enjoy their content and want to spread the love. Plus, the more people reading WBW and using Contributor means they will be around longer so I’m partly doing this for my own selfish reasons. But after you check them out you won’t be able to blame me so go check them out.

*You may need an invite to join, if so, leave a comment and I can send you one. For whatever reason I have 50 that need a home.