Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
By: Ashlee Vance
Ecco; Reprint edition (May 19, 2015
I am not sure what to say about Elon Musk that has not been said. The man is a force of nature in a way that is hard to put your finger on. His ability to focus and appetite for risk is incomprehensible to most. And he seems to mesmerize the media in a way similar to Donald Trump. I think this book illustrates that the line between smart and driven, and crazy, can sometimes look like a thin one.
Two of my favorite quotes:
He jumped right into dot-com mania in 1995, when, fresh out of college, he founded a company called Zip2—a primitive Google Maps meets Yelp. That first venture ended up a big, quick hit. Compaq bought Zip2 in 1999 for $307 million. Musk made $ 22 million from the deal and poured almost all of it into his next venture, a start-up that would morph into PayPal. As the largest shareholder in PayPal, Musk became fantastically well-to-do when eBay acquired the company for $ 1.5 billion in 2002.
The most striking part of Elon’s character as a young boy was his compulsion to read. From a very young age, he seemed to have a book in his hands at all times. “It was not unusual for him to read ten hours a day,” said Kimbal. “If it was the weekend, he could go through two books in a day.” The family went on numerous shopping excursions in which they realized mid-trip that Elon had gone missing. Maye or Kimbal would pop into the nearest bookstore and find Elon somewhere near the back sitting on the floor and reading in one of his trancelike states.