Bookcover - Elon Musk

Elon Musk

by Ashley Vance

Rating: 9/10


An incredible biography of the life of "the raddest man alive" - Elon Musk. To me the most important takeaway from this book is this: If you want to have an amazing future, you have to go out and build it yourself. No matter what it takes.

The book is detailing how he built his early fortune and then transitioned from working on internet startups to building huge manufacturing companies. Hanging on by the edge of his teeth, more than once, grinding it out, backed by his own capital and fervor. He is one of the rare people trying to make the impossible work. And succeeding at doing so, both at Tesla and SpaceX.

And that's what Elon Musk is doing.

Another big aspect of the book is how Musk approaches learning. He learns. A lot, at least according to the book. Learning, out of necessity, to make the companies work. Reading books, and then grilling the experts he hires, until they have shared most of their relevant knowledge with them. This skill, of rapid learning and adaptation is something that Musk is quite unique at and in the companies there is the myth that Elon Musk can do the job of most people within the company better than they could. Faster, more accurate, whatever, but he doesn't because there are more high leverage tasks that need to be done. Still, according to the book, he signs of on most of the design decisions within both Tesla and SpaceX.

Besides it's focus on Elon Musk (it's a biography after all), the book shows the internal work cultures at SpaceX in great detail. And how they were formed by the intensity and bits of madness that is Musk. It really captures the tense atmosphere while they were preparing for different launches. And their broken hearts when they repeatedly failed and were near bankruptcy in the beginning of the company.

They had to make it work, but failed. However, they recovered. Learning from their failings, learning as much as humanly possible, working insane schedules, all for a greater mission. Driven by the insane desire to eventually make the human species and life on earth multiplanetary.

Since the book came out, Musk has done a lot more crazy stuff, created much more controversy, bought Twitter, played the crypto game and pushed Neuralink off the ground... Which makes me wonder if (or when) there will be a second edition to this book. If it ever came out, I would gladly read it.

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