Today I finished Ashlee Vance’s biography Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Needless to say, it’s fascinating and thought-provoking. In this biography, the author remained true to his readers and didn’t let Elon control the content. He interviewed Musk regularly along with people close to Elon to present the reader an unbiased narrative. Reading this you understand Elon Musk does not carry the humble style of Jack Ma but rather is shaped in the highly determined and runover mold of Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos.
The author starts with Elon’s unhappy childhood that shaped his innovative and ambitious character. He flourished in confidence and determination during his college years. His first startup Zip2 turned him into a dotcom, Silicon-Valley millionaire. Losing the war over control of Paypal against Peter Thiel left him with millions of dollars in hand. He moved next to the space industry eventually forming SpaceX. Then he gave us Tesla Motors electric car. He continued with SolarCity and was aiming to further transform the aerospace, automotive, and solar industries with the Hyperloop and other projects. But his success comes with a turbulent personal life. He is notorious for setting unrealistic goals, assigning incredible workloads, and verbally abusing his employees. Despite that, he is respected by employees for his sense of mission as they know it brings success.