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  • Elon Musk

  • By: Ashlee Vance
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (7,010 ratings)

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Elon Musk cover art

Elon Musk

By: Ashlee Vance
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

A remarkable man in possession of limitless curiosity and intellect, Elon Musk makes a fascinating subject. 

Tech reporter Ashlee Vance has shadowed him for a year to bring us an engaging and deeply personal account of the man who wants to send us into outer space.

South African-born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it.

He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey, Jr. The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story. He was a freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school and abused by his father. In the midst of these rough conditions and the violence of apartheid South Africa, Musk still thrived academically and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he paid his own way through school by turning his house into a club and throwing massive parties.

He started a pair of huge dot-com successes, including PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was forced out as CEO and so began his lost years, in which he decided to go it alone and baffled friends by investing his fortune in rockets and electric cars. Meanwhile Musk's marriage disintegrated as his technological obsessions took over his life.... 

Elon Musk is the Steve Jobs of the present and the future and for the past 12 months he has been shadowed by tech reporter Ashlee Vance. Elon Musk is an important, exciting and intelligent account of the real-life Iron Man.

©2015 Ashlee Vance (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Elon Musk

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating insight but a little repetitive

Well written book with a good relatively independent view of the history of Musks companies. Issue is repetitive nature of second half of the book- lots of the same principles come up time and again without really developing much further insight into the direction or the individual.

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16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An eye opening insight into the future.

A recommended biography of a person that sounds like a slave driver, but driven by passion for a better future and humanity.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ashlee Vance is unable to write balanced accounts

Written by a fanboy for fanboys. While there was massive merit to it, Vances input was highly unnecessary and he could have at least feigned objectivity and balance but didn't, this became quite grating.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The power of personality

If you could sum up Elon Musk in three words, what would they be?

insightful, enjoyable, entertaining

What did you like best about this story?

Musk is just a balls out force of will.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

He is a solid performer and made the autobiography experience enjoyable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too much rambling

There are very good parts in this book about Elon Musk's career but there is a lot of filler by talking about how his companies do better than the competition by doing this or other design choices. Most of them are subjective opinions of the author or the people interviewed and are not measurable facts. Also all of his childhood living with his father is missing yet they keep alluding to it later on as a key point in his life. I feel I learned something from Elon as an entrepeneur in spite of the filler of this book though so not all was lost.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Building the impossible

From terraforming to car sales

I have been following Elon Musk and some of his projects for a few years, Spacex is one that I follow with most interest because of the implications for space travel and that renewed sense of the excitement we had when we were going to the moon. I am of a generation that read science fiction and wanted that technology, that utopian belief that we were here to improve the world, to do amazing things but little by little, a revolution here a war there, a wall of bureaucracy here and several dreams squashed my generation and me became the old generation the passers of a poisoned chalice to the new generation or so we are made to believe by the cynics and the conspiracy theorist that want the world to be as low as the lowest common denominator.

Yes we are in trouble, but mostly because a lot of those futuristic dreams came true and we being human did not foresee the knock on effect of their success. Now the next part will be counter intuitive to many but give me a minute; we are living in the golden age of humanity more people have food than ever before, more people are educated than ever before, more workin medicines exist and are used than ever before and here is the one that many will dispute we live in the most peaceful time in history (this is looking at the world after the Second World War) and because of all this positive things we have overpopulation and ecological problems that are hard to fix.

Here walks in Elon Musk with dreams that are the continuation of that dream of a better world except he wants it to be several better worlds, a spacefaring humanity and ecological mature culture that strive towards solving the problems of fossil fuels by utilizing and creating infrastructures to use nature's power for the world and our benefit as a species.

If you are interested in any of that, this book will invigorate you with the sheer arrogance and vision of this one man and the things he has achieved are absolutely herculean in scope while risking it all for a belief in humanity.

Most innovators and smart people in this world are not building the future but betting on sales skims that do not create anything or just expanding on entertainment for sale. Only a few are pushing for true innovation, visionary dreams that only children dare to have and creating a new future that is not just about money but a vision that believes we could do better; we could be gardeners instead of a plague on our world.

A fast paced and interesting view of the technology business world, with a very american cheerleader histrionics and to many awesomes for my taste and phrases like “The optics of the situation “ are used instead of one word, but all this I can forgive because the bulk of the book is very well presented and explains a lot of what is going on in industries that are for the most part very secretive.
Is it a bit to positive? Yes, but don't you need a bit of positivity and hope in your life?
Is it impartial? I doubt it, but it gives a fairly vast picture of what this man is about, after all perhaps he has a few more year to go and I hope he continues to develop his dream, just because he has one.
A book that invigorated me and I enjoyed cover to cover; plus ultra, plus ultra.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well-rounded great book

Really deserves all 5 stars. Most importantly is the fact that a lot of lessons can be distilled from this book, which is much more important than "performance" or "story". Highly recommended.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Hard work

Quite sycophantic & laborious. Not delivered with much emotion or deep personal insight. Elon Musk is an interesting character but this biography doesn't really convey it well. I appreciate readers are generally supposed to give the impression of the person reading it themselves but it was dryly delivered & was a real struggle to finish. Lack of deep personal information also lacking.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal read from start to finish.

Ashlee Vance did an AMAZING job writing this book. Fred Sanders narrates it extremely well. It's so inspirational, everyone should listen to Elon's amazing story. I cannot wait to see what other extraordinary inventions he comes up with in the years to come.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Extremely interesting and eye opening biography!

Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Gets really deep into what makes Musk and his companies what they are now. More than just a way to learn more about Musk, it shows some of what's necessary to accomplish such successes.

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6 people found this helpful