Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future | Ashlee Vance
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New York Times and International Bestseller
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Audible and Amazon
More than 1.5 Million Copies Sold
In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley's most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur's journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.
Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.
"Ashlee Vance's new book, 'Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,' is a tremendous look into arguably the world's most important entrepreneur. Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk's unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship." - The Washington Post
"It is the book I have enjoyed most this year." - Tyler Cowen, famed economist and best-selling author
"The best business book I have read in years." - Don Graham, former publisher of The Washington Post
"Exhaustively reported . . . this work will likely serve as the definitive account of a man whom so far we've seen mostly through caricature. By the final pages, too, any reader will sense the need to put comparisons to Steve Jobs aside. Give Musk credit. There is no one like him." - The New York Times
"Ashlee Vance's portrait of the entrepreneur at mid-life is an essential read . . . a riveting portrait of Silicon Valley's most driven entrepreneur since Steve Jobs." - The Financial Times
"The result is a book that is smart, light on its feet and possesses a crunchy thoroughness. . . . Mr. Vance delivers a well-calibrated portrait of Mr. Musk, so that we comprehend both his friends and his enemies. It's a book with many ancillary pleasures. Mr. Vance brings us up to date on the states of green energy and space launches. He also veers away from his subject just often enough, offering profiles of the frequently brilliant people who work alongside Mr. Musk The best thing Mr. Vance does in this book, though, is tell Mr. Musk's story simply and well."- The New York Times
"Really good biographies stand out in two ways. First, they provide lots of zesty stories that haven't been told before. Beyond that, they explain all the zigzags and false clues of a prominent person's life, in a way that makes the total picture come into focus. . . it's clear that this new Musk bio delivers the goods in both respects. . . Ashlee Vance provides a wealth of insights about how this tech titan operates." - Forbes
"Vance's lively book yields all manner of fascinating insights about Musk's companies, his vision, and his personal life." - Slate
"Of the many profiles of business leaders, Vance's take on Musk is among the best. The author's objective and unbiased viewpoint captures Musk's good and bad, his achievements and failures." - The Motley Fool
"Vance left few, if any, stones unturned . . . A detailed portrait of a figure both loved and feared--sometimes by the same people at the same time." - The Space Review
"Vance's book is a masterful piece of reporting." - Vice
"Musk rivals Jobs in the same way this book rivals Isaacson's classic." - Whitney Tilson Founder, Kase Capital Management
From the Inside Flap
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 inter- viewed 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.
From the Back Cover
"Ashlee Vance has given us an intensely reported, wonderfully spirited account of Elon Musk's rise to the pinnacle of the business world. This is the definitive look at the man who may have the biggest impact on the human race. Should Musk bring humanity to Mars, this will be the planet's founding document." -- BRAD STONE, author of the bestselling The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
"Elon Musk is a man after my own heart: a risk taker undaunted by setbacks and ever driven to ensure a bright future for humanity. Ashlee Vance's stellar biography captures Musk's remarkable life story and irrepressible spirit." -- RICHARD BRANSON, founder of Virgin Group
"More than any entrepreneur since Steve Jobs, Elon Musk sets the bar for what's possible in technology. We are fortunate to have our very own real-life Tony Stark in Elon, and here, for the first time, we have his story vividly told." --MARC ANDREESSEN, venture capitalist and Web pioneer
"Ashlee Vance offers a clear-eyed look at a man who has played the underdog again and again--challenging old thinking and changing the world. I dare anyone to read this book and not be inspired to set their sights a little higher." --TONY FADELL, creator of the iPod and iPhone, and CEO of Nest Labs
"Elon Musk is one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of our time. His combination of extreme intelligence, relentless drive, and steadfast belief in his bold ideas is ensuring that all of society has the chance to benefit from his efforts. The book Elon Musk is a compelling firsthand, behind-the-scenes look at how Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity were formed, and how Elon works to bring his passions to fruition. He is a unique character changing the world, and Ashlee Vance's book is a riveting account of how Elon's game-changing ideas have been conceived and born, and now flourish." --J. CRAIG VENTER, Ph.D., first human genome sequencer and creator of synthetic life
"This thrilling book will make you want to start a car company, build spaceships, and go to Mars. The only downside is when you eventually remember that you're not Elon Musk." -- AARON LEVIE, CEO of Box
About the Author
ASHLEE VANCE is one of the most prominent writers on technology today. After spending several years reporting on Silicon Valley and technology for the New York Times, Vance went to Bloomberg Businessweek, where he has written dozens of cover and feature stories for the magazine on topics ranging from cyber espionage to DNA sequencing and space exploration.
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