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

Jose Casanova
Oct 11, 2015 · 9 min read

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

Rating: 5/5

TL;DR: Highly recommended biography of Elon Musk. Dream big, follow your mission and execute. Money will come when you don’t chase it.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a massively popular bestseller that offers an insight into the life of the extraordinary Silicon Valley Tycoon Elon Musk. The book shares the entrepreneur’s rags to riches story and how he became a giant business magnate.

The author wrote this inspiring book after multiple interviews (40+ hours worth) with Musk and almost three hundred other people. The author describes how he started companies (Tesla Motors, PayPal and Solar City) and sparked innovation wherever he went. Through this book w come to understand how he changed the face of the American industry and defied the odds along the way.

The author addresses the modern day question and tries to find an answer through Musk. Vance asks him, in this age of cut-throat competition, is there a chance of a competition between the investors and the creators? The author deems Musk equivalent to legendary icons such as Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. He believes that Musk is a modern day perfect combination of legendary investors and industrialists. The author salutes Musk for dedicating his energy and fortune to build a future that only visionaries can see. Musk, according to Vance, is a futurist of the prime age of science fiction fantasy.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a must-have for anyone interested in technology and entrepreneurship. The author carves out a beautiful image and unique personality of Musk. This book is loaded with quotations and anecdotes that describes who Musk really is.

The light and smart writing style of the author makes this book simply un-put-down-able. Vance gives Musk his due credit and at the end of the book, the reader will not feel the need to compare him to any of the legendary icons as he is truly in his own league.

The author writes this book brilliantly by updating us on green energy and space launches. Vance also paints an inspiring portrait of Musk, enabling us to clearly distinguish between his friends and enemies. The story is narrated simply, making it very easy for the reader to relate with the subject.

Vance explains that Musk traveled to the United States in 1992, with big dreams and no money in his pocket. Musk’s life has been tumultuous since his first day in the US. He faced disappointments and embraced successes, but most importantly he learned and used his experiences wisely and creatively.

Musk had to deal with a life-threatening case of Malaria and the death of his beloved son. If this was not enough, he was simultaneously pushed out of PayPal. Musk bid farewell to Silicon Valley after this incident and shifted to Los Angeles, where he recklessly spent his fortune on rocket ships and electric cars.

However, as of 2012 Musk has a net worth of more than $5 billion and has founded some of the biggest names in the industry such as Tesla and Space X. The author defines that the reason behind his success is that Musk believes in taking bold decisions, especially at a time when American businessman are stuck chasing money. Vance emphasizes that Musk actually stimulated the revolution of chasing ambition instead of money that helped America become the economic powerhouse it is today.

Elon Musk’s career is a shining example for the technology industry and helps those within it examine and analyze what the future can hold. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future teaches you to think big and work incessantly because success is undoubtedly the fruit of working hard and non-stop.

Vance is a wonderful author. The way in which he presents an elaborate picture of Musk as a visionary and his goals, which have been accomplished by no other human in history, is most commendable. The author provides a clear insight into the world surrounding Musk that comprises of the companies he has worked for, and his relationships with other organizations and government bodies. Very few biographies provide such an up close and personal insight.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future provides you with a clear and transparent understanding of the events that went wrong in Musk’s life and how he managed to cope with both failure and success. Since the author elucidates Musk’s childhood events, you get a clear perception of exactly why he is the way he is, what his behavioral patterns are and how he deals with his relationships.

The elaboration of the green industry and space exploration is the most educational aspect of this book. It seems like the book is forcing you to shake your creative juices and telling you that you can reinvent and contribute to society. It is a book that can be gifted, so more people can reap the many benefits from this amazing read.

Many biographies hide emotionally-charged moments in the life of the subject, but Vance gives a clear account of all the sensational happenings in Musk’s life. The honesty and transparency of this book makes it inspirational as it teaches readers that even extraordinary people, like Musk, face ups and downs in life.

Space X receives massive coverage in this book, along with Tesla Motors. However, a quick overview of Solar City is given too. Musk’s 2008 personal meltdown is another gripping feature of the book. This book discusses Musk’s every move in the past 20+ years in a detailed and entertaining way.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is for serious readers as it provides a window into the life of a brilliant and extraordinarily intelligent human being. While most people dream about the future, Musk is one of the few visionaries that are helping to create it. This book is for you if you are interested in how modern day and off-the-hook technologies can benefit mankind. The neutral and non-judgmental tone of the author allows the author to form his own opinions and pass his own judgments.

Musk works 100+ hours a week. He also has five sons. He is extremely passionate about his work and most of his time is spent working. For the majority of people, multitasking to this extent can take a toll on their health. But for Musk, the desire to reach Mars keeps him motivated. I’ve highlighted some of the important lessons contained within this knowledgeable biography that every entrepreneur and individual who wants success should learn.

High Goals Are Accomplishable

Vance creatively highlights Musk’s track record. The picture Vance paints shows how Musk was the genius behind every start-up he was involved in. He cheerfully shares that Musk’s goal may look weird in that particular moment, but when given time, these goals not only materialize but set such high standards that no one can meet them. Musk dreams of achieving the impossible and then makes it possible with his sheer hard work and exceptional acumen.

The important lesson to be learned is that if we set our focus on something, work extremely hard and eat, breathe, and sleep our ideas, no one can stop us from accomplishing our goals. Musk’s brain power may not be ordinary, but it’s still an inspiration for even the weakest of brains. His growth mindset saw him teach himself about rocket science without any formal background. He also teaches us to dream and dream big, as seeing a dream is useless unless it’s powerful enough to consume us.

Some of Musk’s current ideas, which are disparaged for being overly ambitious, are:

  • He plans to sell 500,000 vehicles at Tesla Motors every year.
  • He wants to send a man to Mars in 10 years at Space X.
  • He wants to bring about a global transition in which sustainable energy is the new working way of the world.

How to Reach a New Level of Innovation

Vance writes that entrepreneurs are responsible for pushing the innovation in Silicon Valley. He states that there was a dull phase between 2002 and 2007. Facebook and Twitter were venturing out and Apple was launching the iPhone, but other companies were involved in chasing easy money and did not achieve anything groundbreaking. All these companies were doing was churning out mediocre products and pumping advertisements. It was Musk’s boldness and bravery that changed the face of Silicon Valley and set a new precedent.

The author illustrates that Musk is the prime example for him on reinventing. He taught companies not to chase IPOs and instead concentrate on releasing incremental products that will serve the people and are inventive. Musk taught people how to do things differently, and is exercising all his efforts to build a future of astonishing science and machines. They may look like science fiction today, but he is using his skills to pave the way to massive achievements.

The author encourages readers to think innovatively and out of the box. The ideas every entrepreneur comes up with should be new, groundbreaking and serve people in a way that becomes indispensable for every individual. The beauty of Musk’s principles is that they can be applied to any facet of life. You just need to understand them and once you do, there is no stopping you.

How to Rally Goals and Make Things Happen

Vance describes that Musk’s role as the cofounder of PayPal cannot be underestimated. PayPal is a shining example of Musk’s brilliance that has changed and revolutionized the payment industry. PayPal also is one of the greatest groupings of talent in Silicon Valley and all credit purely goes to Elon Musk.

The group of the brightest PayPal employees is known as the PayPal Mafia and without a doubt, Musk is the shining star of this club. Musk’s supernatural ability to build organizations and take them sky-high reached a new level after the success of PayPal.


Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is for readers who believe in the impossible. It is for people who believe in factories and hotels in the orbit and for people who believe in flying cars. A beautiful aspect of this book is that Musk teaches us to serve and work for humanity. Success comes through teamwork and in working for a purpose that serves people. If you read this book, you will figure out that all of Musk’s efforts go towards easing the life of others and this is where his strength comes from.

Musk teaches us how to find our own education as he says “It is remarkable how many things you can explode. I’m lucky I have all my fingers.” He also emphasizes the importance of talent and shares that “Talent is extremely important. It’s like a sports team, the team that has the best individual player will often win, but then there’s a multiplier from how those players work together and the strategy they employ.” These inspirational quotes help us see success and talent from a new perspective altogether.

Vance shows the beautiful side of this ambitious individual. Musk, instead of chasing dollars, works super-hard at inventing technology that can help his fellow beings. Few entrepreneurs in today’s world take this approach. Other self-help and biographies may teach you ways and techniques to make more money, but few actually train your mind and build your perception. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future helps you build your mind about success from the core, and money will soon follow. It is not a materialistic book. In fact, this biography is the story of a man with values and principles.

Vance helps readers understand that when we usually think of launching a business idea, all we think about is money, fame and how to lure consumers in. Few of us actually think about easing the life of others, and Musk is one those who do. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a must-read for entrepreneurs and visionaries. We highly recommend you grab a copy and get to know about the super-genius figure of our century “Elon Musk”.

Grab a copy of “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” on Amazon.

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Originally published at Jose Casanova’s Thoughts.

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