A lot of great information about Elon’s life, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, and how amazing Elon Musk is. I thoroughly enjoyed this biography!!
The book began with the story of Elon’s life growing up in South Africa and later his college years in Canada and the United States. Growing up he was seen as very intellectual and unusual amongst his peers. This is discussed near the end of the book, as Elon shows signs of very high intelligence which is often isolating as a child and even an adult if others in your life don’t understand you. I loved learning about Elon’s family history. His maternal grandfather was an adventurer as well as one of the first chiropractors in Canada, who later moved his family to South Africa. There was a scene in the book where his grandfather and kids (Elon’s Mom and aunt/uncles) were lost in the wilderness when their vehicle broke down. His grandfather spent three days fixing the vehicle himself. The same “do-it-yourself” mentality and mechanical skills were passed down through the generations to Elon, whose companies (Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City) make a majority of their own products- whether it’s the actual rockets for SpaceX or the lithium ion batteries for Tesla.
The next chapters in the book focused on how Elon started his first companies and made millions. They also highlighted his struggles and why he wrestles to keep control of his companies as long as he can until it’s the right moment to go public.
In addition to his grandfathers “fix it” and “do it yourself” attitude, another of Elon’s many quirks is that he doesn’t want to be told “no.” If an employee is going to tell him something won’t work, he needs to know “what is the physics of it?” and if he thinks it can be done himself- he will do it. And it will get done. Although Elon can seem like a tough employer, there were moments when he did really beneficial things for his employees that were rather touching. There were also interviews in the book with his second wife, who mentioned his cheeky and funny attitude and devotion to his kids. At one point in the book Elon mentions that he knows his kids will not struggle the way he struggled growing up, and that his struggles made him who he is. Instead, his kids jet set all over the world with him and aren’t made fun of for being weird, like he was in school.
It’s crazy to realize that there is a man like this out there who is so intelligent, dedicated, and hopeful for the future. What Elon is doing for humanity- Space exploration/Mars colonization, electric cars/eliminating gas combustion engines, and Solar Power/reducing dependence on coal or the traditional electric grid- is unsurpassed by the other great minds working today.
I really wish there was as much intelligence and curiosity in our government, within public policy, and among our constituency to validate how important these ventures are for our world.