This 363 pages long biography by Ashlee Vance describes the life and vision of 44 year old Elon Musk who has achieved remarkable success in the fields of electric cars , space exploration and solar energy.I must confess that I had not heard about Elon Musk till I read this book . I had also not heard about SpaceX , Tesla or even the SolarCity .But this book is worth reading and very inspiring .
Elon Musk was born on June 28,1971 to Maye Musk and Errol Musk in
He had a troubled childhood and was subjected to emotional abuse by his father and physical
abuse by his classmates. In June 1988, when he was 17 years old , Elon left for
Montreal in Canada , where he did odd jobs like
wood cutting and cleaning the boilers. After spending two years at Queen
university, Musk transferred to the on a
In 1995, Elon and his brother Kimbal went to
where they formed their first startup, Global Link
Information Network , that was eventually
named Zip2. It created a searchable directory of businesses and was tied into maps so as to tell their location. In
early 1996 , the venture capital firm Mohr Davidow Ventures decided to invest 3
million dollars into Zip2(Zip here to
Zip there). In February 1999,Zip2 was
sold to Compaq and Elon became a multi millionaire at the age of twenty seven
.And in March 1999 , Elon incorporated a finance start-up called X.com. Musk
was replaced as CEO of X.com by Thiel , who rebranded X.com as PayPal.Elon Musk
got more money out of his stake in PayPal.
In June 2002, Musk set up Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) near
Los Angeles. SpaceX engineers worked more than one hundred hours per week to make
the actual rocket. On March 24,2006 , the Falcon 1 stood on its square
launchpad and ignited. But it ended up falling directly down onto the launch
After three abortive launches , the fourth launch for SpaceX took place on September 28,2008.The Falcon 1 reached orbit , making it first privately built machine to accomplish such a feat.The launch was successful. There are only a handful of countries on earth that have done this. People inside NASA had backed SpaceX to become supplier for the ISS(International Space Station).The company received 1.6 billion dollars as payment for twelve flights to the space station. Space X sends rocket up about once a month, carrying satellites for companies and nations and supplies on the International Space station .Its $ 60 million per launch is much less than what Europe and
Japan charge. A
number of countries pay to send up their
own spy , communication and weather
satellites. Companies then turn to space for
television , Internet , radio , weather, navigation , and imaging
services. SpaceX expects to cut its price to at least one-tenth that of its
rivals. Space X has been profitable and is estimated to be worth $ 12 billion
.Elon Musk wants to lower the cost of launches to the point that it becomes
economical and practical to fly
thousands upon thousands of supply
trips to Mars and start a colony. Creating
the technology needed to establish life on Mars
is and always has been the
fundamental goal of SpaceX.
Musk was married to Justine in January , 2000.Through IVF , she gave birth to twin boys in 2004, followed by triplets in 2006.She was a writer of fantasy fiction novels and kept a blog detailing the couple’s family life. Her blog soon turned into one of Musk’s worst nightmares.He worked seven days a week and quite often split his time between
Angeles and san Francisco.
Musk filed for a divorce in June ,2008 , and it came through.
Another groundbreaking project of Musk is related to Tesla electric car. Nikola Tesla had built an electric motor about a century earlier. Musk invested 6.5 million dollars in Tesla (founded by Eberhard and Tarpenning)He became the largest shareholder of Tesla and the Chairman of the company. By the middle of 2007,Tesla had produced the fastest , most beautiful electric car the world would have ever seen . The Model S , Tesla got the highest car rating in history (99 out of 100) from Consumer Reports.The car price starts around $ 109000.”Mass market electric cars have been my goal from the beginning of Tesla. ” Musk wrote in an email to the customers. Tesla intends to build a global charging network that would let Model S owners making long drives pull off the highway and recharge very quickly. The electric car design eliminates needs of oil and transmission fluid changes required in a traditional vehicle. Tesla’s focus has now been on bringing the ModelX to market and to sell 100.000 cars per year.
Elon also invested in an alternative energy project known as SolarCity. By the end of 2015 ,SolarCity expects to have installed 2 gigawatts’ worth of solar panels , producing 2.8 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, making them one of the largest suppliers of electricity in the
Hyperloop project would be solar-powered and aims at linking cities less than a thousand miles apart. Musk also has plans to build a space-based Internet in which satellites will be close enough to the planet to beam down bandwidth at high speeds.
He’s willing to suffer some personal cost, and I think that makes his odds actually pretty good.
Musk’s ultimate goal remains turning humans into an inter-planetary species.” Eventually , you’d need to heat Mars up if you want it to be an earthlike planet, and I don’t have a plan for that.” Musk’s unmatched ability to raise funds has enabled him to create thousands of white- and blue- collar clean-tech jobs.
Vance describes Musk as an ambitious, passionate and even obsessive. In his pursuit of his vision , he has often put at stake his health and personal relationships .But there is no doubt that his vision is bound to change the world and his dedication to his vision is unparalleled. His motto has always been do or die but never give up.
I recommend you to read this very informative and inspiring biography.