Posted on September 01, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Early on, I decided to research everything I could get my hands relative to the iconic Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. In short, I thought I understood the "Elon Musk story" from the countless interviews, videos, and articles I read about him. Boy, was I wrong. A new biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, was full of surprises.
“I do think of him as the Terminator. He locks his gaze on to something and says, ‘It shall be mine.’ Bit by bit, he won me over.” said Justine Musk, Elon Musk’s ex-wife in the book. While dancing with Justine on their wedding day, Musk told her, “I am the alpha in this relationship.”
Julie Ankenbrandt who worked with Musk at the start-up X.com, which became Paypal, in one of the book's interviews reveals, “we all worked 20 hours a day, and he worked 23 hours." Sure, it's common knowledge Musk works incredibly hard but... did you know how Musk celebrated a recent birthday? He rented a castle, had his guests wear elaborate costumes, and he fought a sumo wrestler.
Ashlee Vance, a veteran tech journalist for the New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek, spoke with hundreds of Musk's friends, contemporaries, classmates, and employees, all the while trying to get Musk to agree to participate in his own biography. Finally, after 18 months of relentless hounding, Musk agreed to help with the book. Because of Musk's participation, Vance was able to speak to some higher-level executives (at both SpaceX and Tesla Motors) along with a tight-knit circle of Musk's friends and family. And Vance interviewed Musk for roughly 40 hours over the course of many months. Vance's careful, comprehensive reporting is the reason why this book serves up such a definitive history of Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk's audacious approach to business is striking. Vance explains in his book, “He’s the possessed genius on the grandest quest anyone has ever concocted. He’s less a C.E.O. chasing riches than a general marshaling troops to secure victory. Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to ... well ... save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.” If you're interested in learning more about Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, we strongly recommend you check out this fantastic book...