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Elon Musk

Written by: Ashlee Vance
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (823 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A remarkable man in possession of limitless curiosity and intellect, Elon Musk makes a fascinating subject. Tech reporter Ashlee Vance has shadowed him for a year to bring us an engaging and deeply personal account of the man who wants to send us into outer space.

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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bit biased but awesome read

Loved his view of life. Here is what I got - Strongly opinionated, unconventional and encouraging. Follow your heart, keep yourself informed. Read as much as possible on topics of your interest.

15 people found this helpful

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Brilliant writing!

The book had an amazing flow describing everything in perfect detail, right from Elon's beginning to what he is now. Amazing listen!

3 people found this helpful

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Inspiring and mind blowing

This book describes how dedicated and committed Elon musk is to achieve his goals. You will get an insight to how he started in South Africa, came to USA and became the Celebrity Entrepreneur he is today. There are chapters dedicated to each phase in his life.
The narration was very interesting. Fred Sander changes his tone every time someone speaks.
Overall the book and the narration both deserve a 5 star.

16 people found this helpful

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Getting upclose with my idol

Getting glimpse of the man i admire and idolise is the greatest treat. aspiring and inspiring tale of a man who defies all the rules to make the world little better than before.

1 person found this helpful

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Umda jivni hai I inspired a lot and wanted to be

Umda jivni hai I inspired a lot and wanted to be like him. Very inspiring.

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Excillarating to hear

To know the story of the greatest entrepreneur of all time in the years to come inspires and at the same time tells about the sacrifices and commitment essential to succeed in this rapidly changing world of technology.

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Honest and interesting

Good coverage of good and not so good things about Elon Musk's fascinating world view and vision. A great read for people to understand what pure will to do something can get you to. Very nicely written and read.

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Fantastic

Gives you a amazing insight into Elon's life. His ups and downs and what you can learn... Amazing

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Awe-inspiring

Loved it, very inspiring. Narration was also very soothing. Though keeping the three appendices in end was little awkward.

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most recommended title

i am just stuck to this one due to amazing book content and narration done.
Also i am greatly influenced by Musk Story and look after him as idol now on.

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  • innovate risk
  • 26-10-17

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Alison Cope
  • 13-08-17

Fascinating

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

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-20

Proudly South African

Great story and very inspiring. Elon has a brilliant mind and makes me proud to be a South African.

Would highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-06-18

Excellent Book

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fabrice Kabongo
  • 12-06-16

Very inspiring!

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-05-20

Probably the best biography I ever read

A must read for all aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers, technologists and dreamers. Very inspiring and motivating.

Very nicely written and beautifully narrated.

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  • Author Matthew Robert Payne
  • 11-05-20

Elon seems like a really gifted man

It seems that Elon is a bit like the apple creator and CEO Steve Jobs, very good at big ideas but shocking to staff and people that work for him. I could not listen to the end when I heard what happened to his secretary and hardest worker around the 12 hour mark. I wish Elon great success, but I am not sure I could handle being his staff.

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  • Jp
  • 24-01-20

Elon Musk is fascinating

This was a very interesting and compelling read. I honestly think that out of all of the inspirational leaders, he is someone you can really look up to. He has his flaws, his own demons. He is a jackass.. but he is also an incredibly high output individual. A very brilliant inventor and an innovator to know about.

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  • Raymond Loh
  • 02-01-20

This is the best book I read by far.

My work obligates me to discipline myself to read vastly; to harness wisdom and courage from those who have made great contributions to mankind or entrepreneurs who changed the world or ppl who have gone thru life changing experiences.

These are some of the books that I read in 2019

1) Shonda Rhimes ( Producer of Grey's Anatomy)
2) 3 different books about 马云 ( Alibaba)
3) Steve Jobs (Apple )
4) Steve Jobs ( Pixar)
5) When breath Becomes Air
6) The Last Lecture
7) The Monk who sold his Ferrari
8) 2 different books about Jim Roger
9) Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
10) 蔡康永 ( Art of Speaking)
11) 李嘉诚 ( Philosophy of life )
12) Lee Kwan Yew ( 新加坡国父)

I recently finished a book about Elon Musk and I must say, this is the greatest book I read so far.

Many of us associated Elon Musk with Tesla. Some of us may know he has another company, SpaceX, which aims to colonize MARs. Not many of us know that he created Paypal and ZIP2.
Now, he started another company, SolarCity, to provide alternative energy.

How many things can one accomplish in one lifetime?

The persecution and tribulation that he went thru is unthinkable. This book clearly depict how close he came to closing down SpaceX and Tesla if not of his courage and determination.

I learned so much from this book and it motivated me to kickstart a project that I have been procrastinating for some time.

Thank you for this wonderful experience and adventure.

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  • Dr. Muddassir Ahmed
  • 17-12-19

Written by Elon Musk Fan

Edit by Elon Musk! Very one sided 🤔. Would be good if they write about how Elon Musk goes about his business

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  • Andrew
  • 15-01-17

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Arvin Seeva
  • 26-12-16

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 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 20-12-16

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 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 13-12-16

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 people found this helpful

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  • Beshr
  • 03-12-16

Well-rounded great book

Really deserves all 5 stars. Most importantly is the fact that a lot of lessons can be distilled from this book, which is much more important than "performance" or "story". Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MJK
  • 01-10-16

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 people found this helpful

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  • dragos sucea
  • 10-09-16

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 people found this helpful

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  • J. Tyler
  • 17-01-17

Very good

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ahmed K
  • 17-01-17

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 people found this helpful

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  • Ed R
  • 05-01-17

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 people found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 17-06-16

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.

64 people found this helpful

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  • Mikhail
  • 17-06-16

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.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Rufus Keown
  • 31-05-17

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 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 21-05-16

Loved it

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • MKG
  • 07-05-16

Best Biography Ever!

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

7 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 05-08-19

Great book

Couldn’t put this book down, Elon is a super interesting bloke. Made my top 15 list

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-07-17

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 person found this helpful

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  • benedict
  • 20-05-16

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 person found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 11-07-16

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 people found this helpful

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  • Sameer Gurung
  • 30-05-20

Great insight of Musk's Journey

Anyone who thinks Elon Musk got success overnight must listen to this audiobook. People only appreciate you when you have succeeded, but it's the journey that you need to get insights from and know that hard work is the base of any success.