Elon Musk is the most daring entrepreneur of our time
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. Vance spent more than fifty hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to three hundred people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies and to paint a portrait of a complex man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation—all while making plenty of enemies along the way.
In 1992, Elon Musk arrived in the United States as a ferociously driven immigrant bent on realizing his wildest dreams. Since then, Musk's roller-coaster life has brought him grave disappointments alongside massive successes. After being forced out of PayPal, fending off a life-threatening case of malaria, and dealing with the death of his infant son, Musk abandoned Silicon Valley for Los Angeles. He spent the next few years baffling his friends by blowing his entire fortune on rocket ships and electric cars. Cut to 2012, however, and Musk had mounted one of the greatest resurrections in business history: Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity had enjoyed unparalleled success, and Musk's net worth soared to more than $5 billion.
At a time when many American companies are more interested in chasing easy money than in taking bold risks on radical new technology, Musk stands out as the only businessman with enough dynamism and vision to tackle—and even revolutionize—three industries at once. Vance makes the case that Musk's success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America an economic and intellectual powerhouse.Elon Musk is a brilliant, penetrating examination of what Musk's career means for a technology industry undergoing dramatic change and offers a taste of what could be an incredible century ahead.
Cut from the same mold as such famous technology pioneers as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, billionaire engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk is easily one of the most visionary inventors now pushing the envelope of scientific innovation. His Tesla electric cars have already shaken up the auto industry, and his recent start-up company, SpaceX, is already cornering the market on cheap reusable rockets. In this thoughtful and compelling biography of the Silicon Valley tycoon, Bloomberg Businessweek journalist Vance takes on the twin assignments of trying to understand Musk's unique contributions to society and exploring whether it's really possible for one inventive genius to significantly change the world. Vance takes readers inside "Muskland," the Southern California factories where Musk works long hours, delves into his rough South African upbringing, and dissects his temperament and sometimes contentious relationships while highlighting Musk's somewhat grandiose ideas about powering Earth with solar energy and eventually terraforming Mars. Vance invites readers to keep watch on Musk's accomplishments and stay tuned for another biography if and when the businessman's futuristic aspirations become reality. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Vance (Geek Silicon Valley) paints a complicated picture of a complicated man in this biography of Silicon Valley tycoon Elon Musk. Vance follows Musk from a difficult childhood in South Africa to his education at Queen's University in Ontario and later at the University of Pennsylvania. Musk's early successes with Internet start-ups were only the beginning. He became the prime mover behind SpaceX, "the only private company to dock with the ISS"; Tesla, maker of the Model S electric car; and SolarCity, a solar power company with a unique business model. Throughout, Vance elucidates Musk's unusual combination of vision, determination, intelligence, whimsy, and ruthlessness that enabled these successes. He describes Musk not as someone "chasing momentary opportunities in the business world" but as someone "trying to solve problems that have been consuming him for decades." Vance ably conveys the reality of this man who is both a dreamer and a doer. Agent: David Patterson, Foundry Literary + Media. (May)
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