Elon Musk Is a Genius. Let Me Tell You Why.
Elon Musk is todays combination of Rockerfeller, JP Morgan and Steve Jobs. His remarkable talent and ability to consume enormous amounts of knowledge, wrap it into an idea, transform it into a company, coat it with excellent benefits, and sell it to the mass with the main purpose to improve human life on Earth (and possibly Mars) is just extraordinary.
I first came to know about Elon a couple of years ago when Tesla started to put its foot on the ground on Dutch soil (yes, I’m from the Netherlands). Out here the electric car is a much seen object on the road and became the most favorable car for our taxi services.
I liked the Model S to an extend that I started to google Tesla and came across Elon. When I googled him I found out that he was one of the co-founders of PayPal. I was like, “Holy smokes, I’ve been using his service for such a long time.”
As the years went by and Tesla started to become more and more popular in the Netherlands and I began to watch interviews of Elon on YouTube. There was no question that this funny talking guy had caught my attention. So prior to my vacantion I went on Bol.com and bought his biography.
Let me just be blunt about this…
It’s fucking great!
The book starts with Ashlee Vance taking us back to where it all started, the history of the Musk family. For me this seemed like the right thing to do, as I’m always curious to where prodigies like Elon get their wisdom from. It was not a surprise that the history of the Musks can be discribed as adventurous — to say the least.
His grandparents ended up in South Africa after flying across the world in a plane they had built themselves. Elon grew up in Pretoria. His childhood was far from pleasant. His father could be mentally abussive to both him and his brother. And at school things weren’t any better. He got bullied a lot. By bullying I mean seriously getting his ass kicked every few weeks or so. One time the beating was so bad that he ended up in a hospital.
His harsh upcomming would shape his personality. Ironically it grew to be a strong weapon to harness himself in the tough business world. But it would also influence his relationships, especially with his employees.
From an early age his parents noticed a difference between Elon and their other children. He would stare and zone out for minutes. At times this was very awkward. They had a hard time understanding his behaviour, but doctors said that they should’t worry.
He could also burn trough books like wildfire. Sometimes three to four books a day. Consuming every word he read Elon could recall everything with pin-point precision. At age fourteen he sold a video game he had programmed for $500. At the same age he also formulated what would become his life’s mission. “The only thing that makes sense to do is strive for greater collective enlightenment,” he said.
South Africa was not the right place form him to pursue his goal. To really make an impact on the world, America was the place to be. So in his twenties he maneuvered himself in a position to flee via Canada off to the stars and stripes.
With his arrival in the United States the rollercoaster really started. I don’t want this review to be a summary as I urge you to read this book yourself.
All I want to say is that Elon has achieved unparalleled successes in each endeavor he ever took on. His first company Zip2 was sold for 30 million dollars to Compaq, while PayPal was aquired for 1,5 billion dollars by eBay after that. SpaceX is the first, and only, private space company that has supplied ISS (International Space Station) with equipment and is awarded with multi-billion dollar contracts by NASA. Tesla shook up an age old industry whereas the naysayers said that it couldn’t happen in a hundred years. And SolarCity is soon becoming the largest energy provider in the United States…
Not bad huh, for some immigrant?
Within two decades he founded, leads and continues to grow three multi-billion dollar companies. And he is likely to be the first to carry supplies and people to Mars.
This all couldn’t happen without his strong desire to ensure mankinds survival and his Tupac-like (get as much done as soon as possible, because life is short) work ethics. Elon takes on huge risks. Makes no comprimises. Set high targets and demands their completion. There is always solution, impossible simply does not exist.
Ashlee Vance walks you trough the successes and the most stressful years of his business and personal life. Trough interviews and stories of (ex)employees, close friends and family members you get an in-depth peek of how Elon operates.
Luckily this biography is not all written in a ‘he say, she say’ format. Elon offered to help a hand by taking on monthly meetings with Ashlee. Giving him grand tours in his facilities and behind the scene excess in his headquarters. It’s filled with great quotes and shows you the unorthodox life approaches that captures Elon’s personality and way of thinking.
After reading this book I could only have much more respect for Elon Musk. Some refer to him as the equivalent of Iron Man’s Tony Stark. His businesses, his persona and even his name, definitely has a super-hero feel to it.
But instead of spending our time comparing him to action figures. I think it’s more important to keep him focused by supporting his cause. He feels a huge responsibility to help mankind become multi-planetary species, while improving life on Earth at the same time…
I think it’s hard not to respect that.
Thank you for reading all the way through to this part. If you have read Elon Musk please share your thoughts on this review. If you haven’t read it you can buy it here. Feel free to share this among your friends or recommend it below. Thanks.
Tesla’s new SUV. The Model X will have Falcon Wing rear doors. It will easily carry eight persons and is expected to be released in early 2016. The doors looks pretty slick, check them out here.