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Elon Musk

Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,804 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

South African-born Elon Musk is the renowned entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. Musk wants to save our planet; he wants to send citizens into space, to form a colony on Mars; he wants to make money while doing these things; and he wants us all to know about it.

He is the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films starring Robert Downey, Jr. The personal tale of Musk's life comes with all the trappings one associates with a great, drama-filled story. He was a freakishly bright kid who was bullied brutally at school and abused by his father. In the midst of these rough conditions and the violence of apartheid South Africa, Musk still thrived academically and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he paid his own way through school by turning his house into a club and throwing massive parties.

He started a pair of huge dot-com successes, including PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was forced out as CEO and so began his lost years, in which he decided to go it alone and baffled friends by investing his fortune in rockets and electric cars. Meanwhile Musk's marriage disintegrated as his technological obsessions took over his life...

Elon Musk is the Steve Jobs of the present and the future, and for the past 12 months he has been shadowed by tech reporter Ashlee Vance. Elon Musk is an important, exciting and intelligent account of the real-life Iron Man.

©2015 Ashlee Vance (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Michael
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 17-06-2016

An underwhelming narrative of a really cool guy

This book is a bit of a let-down. You will learn a bit about Elon and his companies, but it will sap 13 hours of your life away and you won't be a better person for it.

You'd think there's so much you can learn from Elon Musk, but this author didn't really make much effort to gather any nuggets of insightful information, just snippets of hearsay from sources that have worked around Elon. Listening to the book feels kind of perverted because it's written in a way where the author digs up lots of dirt on him the way a trash magazine reports on the secret lives of celebrities.

The Author even gloats mildly about his tenacity in pestering Musk until he agreed to let him write the book.

Don't bother listening to this one.

54 of 59 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating story of an exceptional man

Things I liked:

1. Elon Musk's story is nothing like you have ever heard, even if you have studied the greatest men and women to grace this planet.

2. His big picture thinking and pursuit of ideals, never backing down until those ideals are achieved is grandiose.

3. The idea that a man like this is alive at this present moment gives me the extra motivation to work hard on my purpose and perhaps come across Elon one day.

4. Both the writing by Ashlee Vance and reading by Fred Sanders is fantastic. The story flows very well and I will undoubtedly be listening to this again.

Things I disliked:

1. I wish there was more.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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A really good read (listen)

Really enjoyed musks story of obsession and his drive to make the world a better place. Highly recommended for those who believe in a bright future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

Great story well told, if slightly biased towards the end. He is an amazing and terrifying man.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • MKG
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 07-05-2016

Best Biography Ever!

Simply the most impressive and exciting true story about a person's life that I've ever known.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Changing force

Musk has ambitions that are so magnetic that it makes you want to change the world too.
He really is shaping the future, Ashlee Vance does an outstanding job presenting this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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such an amazing story.

Extreme management and perseverance to achieve what he does, inevitably burning people on the way. His arrogance and dictator style leadership means he achieves the impossible. Lucky he has an underlying altruistic vision of solutions for humananity which drives him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant book

An amazing story of a truly remarkable and resilient man. Vance captures Musk's personality, both good and bad points, and digs deep into his success and failures.

Very well narrated.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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this guy

awesome.... interesting... makes me feel like I have not achieved enough in my life. The public really don't get how smart this guy is

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A must read

Amazing, funny and a great insight into our future. Loved the narrator. On my list to read again.

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  • innovate risk
  • 26-10-2017

Fascinating insight

This is an excellent audio book onto the insights of Elon Musk. In particular the first half provides a brilliant view of his background, his leadership style and the type of personality that drives such an interesting person.

I did find the second half of the book a bit too much about the industry of space exploration, electric cars and solar power. This meant you were losing the insights into the person, and it became a more technical book on the industry.

Overall a great read but perhaps this should have been 2 books - one about the person and one about the industries.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison Cope
  • 13-08-2017

Fascinating

I found Elon's story really fascinating but I would have liked to hear more from Elon himself.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-06-2018

Excellent Book

Loved the book and the narrator was really good. Easy to listen to. Put the book on everyday while working.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Fabrice Kabongo
  • 12-06-2016

Very inspiring!

when you listen to this book, you know your dream of changing the world can be achieved

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason
  • 29-05-2019

“I would like to die on mars, but not on impact”

To say the very least Musk is unusual and incredible.
I would not recommend this as a business book because Musk’s way of doing business is highly irregular and risk prone, I certainly won’t be managing money or people the way he does.
I doubt anyone but himself would have been able to pull off some of the incredible business feats he’s pulled off due to his inhuman ability to withstand massive risks, immense pressure, and family drama all at once (he has lost a child, been divorced multiple times and been on the brink of bankruptcy with both Tesla and SpaceX).

But I’d recommend this book because I believe that one day our grandchildren will learn about Musk in history lessons, the impact of what he did on the world and humanity as a whole.
If he achieves what he is after, and based on his track record he just might do it, he will eclipse even the likes of Edison type figures in the history books.
I think he is worth reading up on and studying so that one day I’ll know that what he did, happened in my life time.
I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren about what life was like at the time Elon Musk [insert amazing giant leap for mankind here].

He has exceptionally high standards for himself, those around him, and the products they create. After you read this book you will never again be able to complain about your boss, being stressed or busy.

What I love most about Elon's story is how undeterred he is when dealing with any obstacle he comes across. Literally nothing could stop him. Not looming bankruptcy or bad press or any of the dozens of other issues that would have stopped most of us. I’m sure that if anyone can find within themselves a tiny glimpse of this man’s drive, they will do great things.
It’s mind boggling how many impossible things he has done in his life (so far).

I particularly enjoyed the interview with one of SpaceX’s head rocket scientists saying that he would not want to try and prove Musk wrong. Musk’s knowledge of absolutely everything in the rocket is beyond amazing, and if you tell him something can’t be done, he will fire you and prove you wrong by dong it himself.

This biography is very well written and researched. I hope the author releases many more biographies.

Some of the quotes I liked:

“He’s nicer than Jobs and more refined than Gates, I also think he’s achieved more.” - After hearing what an asshole he is to work for, the author quotes a SpaceX investor.

"Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation." – The author

From Elon Musk:

“No man is an island, unless he is large and buoyant”

“I would like to die on mars, but not on impact”

"That's my lesson from taking a vacation: vacations will kill you." - After almost dying from malaria whilst on holiday in Africa.

"The longer you wait to fire someone the longer it has been since you should have fired them."

"I will spend my last dollar on these companies. If we have to move into Justine's parents' basement, we'll do it."

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  • Paula Nilsson
  • 04-04-2019

Elon is the new Human 2.0

Many would say this story and "manual" to success is the most worthy of recognition. Elon Musk has DEDICATED his fate to our future - so that we have meaning and purpose to our continued existence in other planets, stars and one day maybe inorganic-unleashed intelligence. READ IT.

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  • APS
  • 25-03-2019

PHENOMENONAL

This auto biography is absolutely amazing. The author sheds some light on the Legend of a man Elon Musk , giving us all the details of inhuman hardwork hidden behind the shiny real life Tony Stark.

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  • L. Yau
  • 21-03-2019

Awesome 👍 Enlightened

Learned so much about him, his methods, thinking and how his companies come to being.

Every entrepreneur should listen to this.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-02-2019

change your approach in all for the better

What an amazing and inspirational book. This book will motivate anyone who is in amy way in a position to get better

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-2019

Brilliant insight into the man.<br />

Brilliant insight into the man. Well worth a listen. Thought provoking. Elon is a great man.

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  • Andrew
  • 15-01-2017

Fascinating insight but a little repetitive

Well written book with a good relatively independent view of the history of Musks companies. Issue is repetitive nature of second half of the book- lots of the same principles come up time and again without really developing much further insight into the direction or the individual.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Arvin Seeva
  • 26-12-2016

An eye opening insight into the future.

A recommended biography of a person that sounds like a slave driver, but driven by passion for a better future and humanity.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 20-12-2016

The power of personality

If you could sum up Elon Musk in three words, what would they be?

insightful, enjoyable, entertaining

What did you like best about this story?

Musk is just a balls out force of will.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

He is a solid performer and made the autobiography experience enjoyable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • 13-12-2016

Too much rambling

There are very good parts in this book about Elon Musk's career but there is a lot of filler by talking about how his companies do better than the competition by doing this or other design choices. Most of them are subjective opinions of the author or the people interviewed and are not measurable facts. Also all of his childhood living with his father is missing yet they keep alluding to it later on as a key point in his life. I feel I learned something from Elon as an entrepeneur in spite of the filler of this book though so not all was lost.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • MJK
  • 01-10-2016

Great insight into Musk's worldview

Really enjoyed this background on the vision and drive of Elon Musk. Puts a lot of things in perspective and tells an amazing story. Well worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • dragos sucea
  • 10-09-2016

Amazing

Very good book, highly recommended. It shows what it really takes to be successful if you translate it to whatever it is you would like to do

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Tyler
  • 17-01-2017

Very good

Good narrator, great insight into Elon Musk and overall a very good book. Incredibly interesting!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ahmed K
  • 17-01-2017

Extremely interesting and eye opening biography!

Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Gets really deep into what makes Musk and his companies what they are now. More than just a way to learn more about Musk, it shows some of what's necessary to accomplish such successes.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Ed R
  • 05-01-2017

Inspirational story

Being an engineer myself I found learning about Musk's approach and achievements fascinating and inspiring. Would highly recommend for anyone interested in technology or business.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony Sephton
  • 22-12-2016

Good

This story was an interesting listen. Musk is a real genius and the things he has achieved in business seems unreal.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful