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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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  • Overall
    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.

15 people found this helpful

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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.

11 people found this helpful

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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

9 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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Great insight into Musk's worldview

Really enjoyed this background on the vision and drive of Elon Musk. Puts a lot of things in perspective and tells an amazing story. Well worth a listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Very good book, highly recommended. It shows what it really takes to be successful if you translate it to whatever it is you would like to do

4 people found this helpful

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Very good

Good narrator, great insight into Elon Musk and overall a very good book. Incredibly interesting!!!

3 people found this helpful

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Inspirational story

Being an engineer myself I found learning about Musk's approach and achievements fascinating and inspiring. Would highly recommend for anyone interested in technology or business.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • innovate risk
  • 26-10-17

Fascinating insight

This is an excellent audio book onto the insights of Elon Musk. In particular the first half provides a brilliant view of his background, his leadership style and the type of personality that drives such an interesting person.

I did find the second half of the book a bit too much about the industry of space exploration, electric cars and solar power. This meant you were losing the insights into the person, and it became a more technical book on the industry.

Overall a great read but perhaps this should have been 2 books - one about the person and one about the industries.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Alison Cope
  • 13-08-17

Fascinating

I found Elon's story really fascinating but I would have liked to hear more from Elon himself.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-20

Proudly South African

Great story and very inspiring. Elon has a brilliant mind and makes me proud to be a South African.

Would highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-06-18

Excellent Book

Loved the book and the narrator was really good. Easy to listen to. Put the book on everyday while working.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Arpit Prakash
  • 17-02-18

It's Average

Just want to mention this : This is the story of how , why, when Elon's companies went up down left right. This is not a Biography. This is log book of Elon's life. If you want to read a real biography, read Steve Jobs by Walter Issacsson. Where you can see what Steve was thinking, what was his mindset for all what was going on.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fabrice Kabongo
  • 12-06-16

Very inspiring!

when you listen to this book, you know your dream of changing the world can be achieved

2 people found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 23-02-21

Phenomenal man; Great book; Must read

This book has taught me a lot about how mega successful business people operate. Huge parallels to Steve Jobs and ironically, Musk is more impressive (to me, and not that they need to be compared). I have changed my patterns of behavior thanks to lessons from Elon. Successful people are not perfect, they are not easy, and they don’t live some kind of blissful life. They work extremely hard, risk everything (including their reputations), suffer a lot and are never satisfied. What they have in common is 1. Specific passion 2. Clear goals linked to passion 3. A plan to achieve the goals 4. A relentless energy and desire to push through with extraordinary effort until the goals are achieved.
When they hit those goals you can be sure they’ve worked for them and there are some losses and casualties left in their wake.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-02-21

interesting

the book was well written and read. Inspired by Elon's life and determination. great book

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-01-21

Biography or autobiography? Hmm

I think Musk wrote most of this book. Otherwise it would be a lot shorter.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-01-21

Fantastic summary

A very well detailed story of the life of Elon Musk, including all his trials and tribulations. Hope to work for him soon