Title: Elon Musk: Inventing the Future
Author: Ashlee Vance
Year: Published: 03/03/2015
Length: 392 pages
Genre: Biography, Business, Science
Get a copy: 1) Search in local bookstores to support small business 2) Amazon
Short Description: Unique chance to get into the life of one of the most interesting guys of the 21st century – Elon Musk. The guy behind PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors. Only before a couple of years, Musk’s name didn’t ring any bells, now, he is one of the most interesting, admirable, adventures entrepreneurs of our generation. See why in this book.
As you can imagine, the book describes the life of Elon Musk – South African-born Canadian American business magnate, investor, entrepreneur, engineer, visioner. Ashlee Vance presents Musk’s life starting from his childhood, going through the days of search, of what to do, and finally presenting his true genius by raising the curtain so we can see how the current most interesting companies in the world were formed – SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity.
Beware, Elon Musk is not an ordinary business owner. His, out of the world ambition, focus and rocket fueling determination will leave you breathless. His life is dedicated to making the world a much better place of living. You can feel it going through the pages.
The modern Tony Stark. If you like the movie, you are in for some threat.
A lot of times during the book you may feel like you’ve done nothing, comparing to this guy, Elon Musk. But that shouldn’t bring us down, rather should inspire us to become better people and strive for more. Musk is proving to the world that there aren’t impossible things, there is only limiting thinking.
At first, I thought that I will be blown from the mission, vision, and complexity of Tesla. I still was, but from Musk’s other company – SpaceX. What he has achieved with this company, and continues to do, is beyond imaginable. It’s amazing someone’s dream to become reality. Especially if this dream is building rockets that will one day conquer other planes – Mars to be more precise.
Apart from what the companies are doing, you get to see how this guy operates, how he interviews new recruits, works and executes stuff. He’s like a machine and he expects the same from the people around him. It’s a pleasure to see him in action and walk into the office of the two most modern companies of our times: SpaceX and Tesla. You can get a really good grasp of what’s happening inside the office, as well in the mind of this spaceman, called Elon Musk.
It’s a must-read for everyone thinking of starting a new business. It won’t only give you ideas about how to run a business, what to focus, no, it will also fuse your inspiration and open the doors to things that previously sounded impossible.
Here are some of the most insightful things, for me, I would really like to remember from this book:
Figure out what question to ask
Figuring out what question to ask ourselves is harder than we think.
Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy. I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to understand what question to ask.” Elon Musk
Or in other words, the search for purpose.
А lack that I believe is passed on to us and our children. We should be able to find our purpose and pass on the inspiration to our generation. The current population is wandering around not knowing what to do. This should be changed.
Musk’s determination is admirable and it’s something that spreads across the people around him. Something we should all try to add into our lives. Here I am not talking about finding a good stable job, no, I mean something greater than that. Working, pursuing something that will one day help humanity advance. Something lasting, meaningful. Being rich is has no value if your job doesn’t align with your values.
It sounds like a cliche and a really dumb thing to say, but hell, why not. We shouldn’t we aim high. Higher than we could reach. Way better than constantly feeding our bodies with junk food, spend our time on social media and our minds occupied dreaming of false icons.
You create your own opportunities
Musk was clearly an opportunist and he started crafting his future from a young age. After abounding South Africa, and reuniting with his cousins in Canada, one of his daily activities was cold calling people who he was interested in meeting. The people, he and his brother harassed, were people in top-level positions in local firms. Something that really builds the character. You can’t undersee it, he was determined from a really young age.
You alone, craft your own future. On a lot of occasions, this means finding, seizing opportunities all by yourself. Don’t wait for your boss, mom or spouse tell you what to do, you should be able to determine these things on your own. Complaining won’t get you anywhere. It’s just verbal expression of your own failures. When you share them with others, you look weak in their eyes. If you really want to achieve greatness, try looking things in different perspective. Don’t say, “I failed because my boss is a prick”, rather try thinking in ways that aspire further action, “I didn’t get the promotion. I should try harder and focus my efforts in a different direction”.
Some of us grew up thinking that after graduating we will immediately get to a management position. No. It’s all up to us. We don’t necessarily need to graduate college to reach the level of achievement we wish. It’s all up to what we are willing to give and what we are willing to sacrifice.
Vacations will kill you
You don’t need to read the book to know that Elon Musk is a hard working motherf***. Louching X.com, the ancestor of PayPal, took longer than expected and in December 2000, decides that he needs to spend some time with his wife. They first visit Brazil and after that South Africa. Unfortunately, while in Africa, Musk contracts the most virulent version of malaria.
“Vacations will kill you”, he says. After spending more than 10 days fighting to save his life. Again, he is insanely right. Taking too much time off, laying around, doing nothing, won’t do you any good. Long vacations are for people with no clear vision, ideas, goals, people who don’t know what to do with their lives, that’s why they waste it traveling and thinking that’s the most important thing in the world.
I will use an empty glass to describe it more clearly. Let’s say you’re a glass. If you pour water for every single thing you do and feel, you will have a half-full glass of water. “What about the rest?”, you will say. The rest is what you do with your spare. Do you make plans for the future, build something greater or you just do what others do: travel and jump from one job to another?
Value of Time
Elon Musk is known for his aggressive delivery dates. Being too optimistic about when a particular product will launch has earned him a name of a guy that doesn’t deliver. But the world doesn’t mind that much. How could we, we are talking about colonizing Mars? The reason behind this rush is his scheduling. After calculating how much time something will take, he puts a date thinking that everybody will work hard as fuck till it’s done. Well, it’s really optimistic but exceptionally hard thing to do. One of the things that really got me thinking is: Musk asks his employees to schedule their time at work in really small details. That includes scheduling the time for going to the bathroom. He’s right to expect all his employees to work as hard as possible. They are inventing the future, right?
Setting goals and executing at your full potential it’s a must these days. We are surrounded by competitors. The slightest lag in your daily routines and product updates will move your pawn to the bottom of the leaderboard.
One of the greatest superiorities that Musk has over the other companies that build missiles is his knowledge of the rocket building process itself. He doesn’t only hire some of the most talented people in the world, he absorbs what they know. Musk surrounds himself with great minds and instead of making them feel stupid, like most of the executives do, he learns from them.
Pain and Suffering
While reading Elon Musk biography, you can’t unsee the years of struggle. Setbacks, failures, lack of money – these are only a few of the things Elon Musk and all of the people involved in the companies he is running had to live with. Making, creating something meaningful, people will want to buy, takes time and involves a lot of pain.
Build quick and learn quickly.” Elon Musk
As we all see, at the end it was worth it. However, this wasn’t so obvious in the early years of SpaceX. I took a couple of long years till the Falcon 1 made a successful launch into the orbit. This accomplishment actually kept the company from bankrupting.
The long hours, the pressure to run a million dollar company is enormous. Multiply this by two and you will probably look for a rope to hang yourself. That’s not the case with Elon. He’s ultra-involved in everything he does and won’t take no for an answer. I won’t spoil the whole story about how he was able to reach the top after several failures. You should really get the book.
Looking at Elon Musk’s life makes you reevaluate yours. What do I want to accomplish? Can it be something that will change humanity? Will I resist the tension and the pressure?
We shouldn’t be afraid of thinking big. Exactly our life task is what shapes us as persons. And the bigger the goal, the bigger the person.
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