Summary of Elon Musk

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Business writer Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk proves fascinating because Musk is fascinating. He’s done amazing things. He’s also highly controversial. Vance tries to include multiple perspectives. He discusses both how Musk’s career evolved – through his youth, Paypal, Zip2, Tesla and SpaceX – and how public perceptions of Musk’s actions have shifted over time. Vance’s hypnotic descriptions of Musk make it easy to understand how Musk would disrupt any industry he chose – and most social contexts as well. With a caveat that those who don’t think the F-word belongs in business biographies should skip this one, getAbstract recommends Vance’s compelling history of a startling career to those interested in genius, start-ups, technology, innovation or, of course, Elon Musk.

About the Author

Ashlee Vance is one of the most prominent writers on technology today. After spending several years reporting on Silicon Valley and technology for The New York Times, Vance went to Bloomberg Businessweek, where he has written dozens of cover and feature stories on topics ranging from cyber espionage to DNA sequencing and space exploration.



Family Roots

Elon Musk’s family provided a clear precedent for his life of taking risks. His maternal grandfather Joshua Norman Haldeman thought Canada’s character was declining so he relocated his family and chiropractic practice from Canada to South Africa.

Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971. From a young age, he was brilliant and different, with a tremendous ability to visualize and a photographic memory. He read compulsively, going through every book in his local and school libraries, as well as two sets of encyclopedias. Around the time Musk was 9 or 10, his parents’ marriage fell apart. After their divorce, Musk lived with his mother, Maye, for two years, and then he chose to live with his father, Errol. Musk’s father was generous, taking young Elon and his brother Kimbal on trips and giving them books and computers. An engineer, he showed them how to do plumbing, wiring and brickwork. Emotionally cold and controlling, he made the lives of the boys and their sister Tosca miserable.

Young Musk

Reserved, intellectual and geeky, Elon Musk was an outsider in a South African culture that celebrated masculine toughness. In high school, a group of boys...

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    M. F. 1 year ago
    Elon Musk and Nikola Tesla would be great friends.
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    T. L. 3 years ago
    WOW, Talk about the power of "Focus". Sometimes, being politically correct can hold back great ideas and advancements.