Book Review- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Here’s a quick take on my book of the month for March, 2017. The author of the book is Ashlee Vance.

Grand ambitions

In this book by veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance, what stood out to me the most was Elon’s highly unusual ambition in life. Some of us want to be rich enough to buy fast cars, some of us want to be as famous as a Kardashian, but Elon badly wants to go to Mars and take humanity with him. By his own admission, colonizing the red planet and in effect make humans a space-faring species is his life’s purpose, and also that of SpaceX, the space exploration company he started and heads up. All this while Apple is trying to make you take that bathroom selfie faster and Facebook is trying to help you share that selfie with your internet friends faster. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of both those companies but Elon’s mission is so grand, it trivializes what other technology companies aspire to.

Master plan

Elon has a master plan and he goes to great lengths to make it happen even if it means he has to give up a passion that‘s dear to him. In the book, we discover that Musk was deeply passionate about video games growing up and also started a video game company. But, later decided to do something else because he thought no matter how good of a video game he would develop he would never really have any impact on the world. It mattered to him to have strong intent in the career path he chose.

Business mantras

The book also shines a light on Elon’s business philosophy that is behind the success of his multi-billion dollar companies. For starters, he’s a great salesman. Just like what Steve Jobs did with the iPhone, he turned a Tesla into an object of desire, a symbol of a great lifestyle. Elon has a knack for knowing what people want. You also learn about how high a premium he places on time-management, why you actually can overpromise on time but never on outcome, and how he learned dealing with people after being thrown in at the deep-end with no prior leadership experience, when he started his first company. Also, he hates acronyms, which is possibly the only thing I have in common with him.


The book also offers a rare glimpse into his childhood as an introverted kid, his troubled on-off relationships with women and his fast lifestyle. In conclusion, I would say I loved reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who admires Elon and wants a closer look into his journey from being a shy, quiet kid in South Africa to becoming a business magnate who wants to change the world.

Amazon link: Click here

Goodreads link: Click here


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