Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Ecco: HarperCollins. May 2015. 416p. notes. ISBN 9780062301239. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062301260. SCI
OrangeReviewStarKnown for the companies he has founded or developed including PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, Elon Musk has had a huge impact on multiple industries and is poised to have a major impact on how the world consumes energy. This timely biography, built on interviews with colleagues, past and present employees, and Musk himself, begins with the story of the businessman's adventurous ancestors, his unconventional childhood, and how an aptitude for programming fueled early successes. The story combines celebrity, science, business, and ambition in a new take on the American dream in which start-ups change the world and the rugged individualist succeeds by building teams. Vance, a tech writer for the New York Times and Bloomberg Business, does an admirable job of balancing the highs and lows of Musk's outsized personality. He writes a thought-provoking chronicle that doesn't suffer for being only a first act, as Musk is still leading the field in innovation.
VERDICT Vance's study cuts across genres and will inform even those who follow the tech world closely.
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