I've done a few book reviews in the past here, but I admit I've been slacking a bit. Not on the reading, though. I've actually been reading even more. I've been slacking a lot in writing about my thoughts and notes on each of the books. It's time to change that.
For those who are a bit out of the loop and doesn't know who Elon Musk is, he's the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla as well as a chairman of SolarCity. From those credentials alone you can definitely tell that this guy knows what he's doing! One thing I like to tell people when describing Elon Musk is that I do believe he's the biggest innovator of our generation. This book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, will definitely describe how that statement is true.
From the start you get a sense of Elon as he was as a young kid. The biggest thing to hit me was just how much he read at a young age. This is actually not very surprising as I've always heard that the best leaders and innovators are voracious readers. Of course, that's not the reason I like to read, but it is nice to know that you share this habit with people like Elon.
What is interesting is the story of Elon's earlier companies, Zip2 and X.Com. X.Com eventually did merge with PayPal and Elon was the largest shareholder in the company. These two companies gave Elon his first millions.
With the money from the previous companies, Elon started SpaceX. This was brought on by a life-long dream to go to Mars. The book details the innovations and early failures of the company that builds their own rockets right in the US.
The innovations being that all parts of the rocket were built in-house at the SpaceX factory which turns out to be much cheaper than buying them from other countries. They continue to innovate by building rockets that can be reused by coming back to earth and land by themselves.
They did have early failures when they tried to launch the first version of their Falcon rocket which almost brought the company into bankruptcy. Thankfully, they were able to get a successful launch and able to win a lot of bids from NASA to keep the company going.
Tesla is definitely a company I've been following for a while. Ever since I got to test drive a Model S in Houston a year ago, I've been interested in them.
A bit of a detail of Elon and Tesla is that he's a co-founder because he was the first investor into the company. If he didn't do this, then the company would have gone bankrupt long ago and due to that, I would consider him a co-founder. With that said, Elon probably did do a lot for the company as its CEO. He helped get the initial Roadster out and had a lot of input into the Model S.
I'm definitely looking forward to what this company will bring, especially with them making their gigafactory that should help bring down the cost of the batteries and, overall, the cost of the car.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this biography. I already thought Elon Musk is an interesting person and definitely someone I'd want to meet one day. This book gave a bit more insight into him as a CEO and innovator as well as the histories of SpaceX and Tesla.
I'm pretty sure there will be more to come from Elon and I'll be waiting anxiously for another book on the rest of Elon's innovative career.