Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review of "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future," by Ashlee Vance

Review of

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance ISBN 9780062301239

  The life and achievements of Elon Musk are similar to what many readers of the original Tom Swift Jr. book series fantasized about their careers. In fact, some of Musk’s achievements were the subject of books in the series.
 Like so many people that are incredibly successful, Musk had an unusual and difficult childhood. He was mercilessly bullied in school and experienced little in the way of male parental nurturing. Rather than use this as an excuse for failure, he channelled those frustrations into a vision, drive and intelligence that just may change the course of human events.
 Like most people that are successful, Musk has experienced a bit of luck, but as the great baseball man Branch Rickey often said, “Luck is the residue of design.” Without question there has been a lot of design in Musk’s professional success. By themselves, the development of the Tesla line of cars or the SpaceX line of rockets could make him a historically significant figure. The potential  of the combination of the two to change the course of human events is extraordinary.
 Unlike so many others that achieve great wealth, Musk is not content to simply bask in the glory and enjoy it. He is constantly pouring the money back into new projects and grandiose ideas for spectacular advances in technology and how humans do things. He is a difficult person to work with and for, yet as the histories of other tech titans indicates, that is probably a precondition for his level of success. Therefore, this story of his life and achievements needs to be ended with the simple phrase “So far.”
 This book is an excellent biography of an extraordinary man, loaded with more vision and talents than he will be able to express and realize in his lifetime. Yet, unlike nearly all other people, if he achieves even a fraction of that, he will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest drivers of new technology.

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