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Elon Musk

May 22, 2015


Silicon Valley insider Ashlee Vance makes the case that Elon Musk’s success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America great.

In the next ten years, Americans could wake up to the most modern highway in the world: a transit system run by thousands of solar-powered charging stations and transversed by electric cars. We may see launches of rocket ships daily, full of people and cargo, preparing for longer treks to Mars. A trip on the Hyperloop could take you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour. And it may all be thanks to South African-born Elon Musk, who is on track to become America's most innovative industrialist and outlandish thinker ever to set foot in Silicon Valley. Now, with unprecedented access to Musk, Bloomberg BusinessWeek writer Ashlee Vance has built an extraordinary account of this modern titan in his book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Ecco; $28.99, May 19, 2015).

From Musk's tumultuous upbringing in South Africa and subsequent flight to the United States, to the sale of PayPal for $1.5 billion to the genesis and pursuit of his dramatic technological innovations in three different industries, Elon Musk brings to life the renowned innovator behind SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Drawing upon hundreds of interviews with former colleagues and friends, as well as in-depth conversations with Musk himself, Vance argues that Musk stands as one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history—a modern-day industrialist such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, or Howard Hughes, and is a worthy successor to Steve Jobs

At a time when many American companies are more interested in chasing easy money than in taking bold risks on radical new technology Musk stands out as the only businessman with enough dynamism and vision to tackle—and even revolutionize—three industries at once. In droll, conversational prose, longtime Valley insider Ashlee Vance makes the case that Musk's success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America an economic and intellectual powerhouse.

Fascinating and insightful, Elon Musk brings to life a technology industry that is rapidly and dramatically changing by examining the life of one of its most powerful and influential titans.


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 for the magazine on topics ranging from cyber espionage and "the Singularity" to DNA sequencing and space exploration.

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