Sunday, July 12, 2015

How Elon Musk Works

One of the best business biographies that I have read is Ashlee Vance's Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.  The book is on par with the recent Steve Jobs biographies.  It helps an author when Musk himself is on par with Jobs.

How Elon Musk works - which sounds like the thinking of a engineer -

  • He diagnoses - he defines the problem.
  • He learns,  then figures out what to do.
  • He is intensely rational when things get out of control.
  • He is a great talent spotter and recruiter.
Important points from the book - 
  • Who you were definitely shapes who you are - a difficult childhood, and a lone read, became the stick-to-it learner/dreamer.
  • The over-riding purpose has to be great to accomplish things as great as SpaceX and Tesla.
  • Making it genuinely big, in a way that holds great promise to make a big difference, may require - really great risk.
  • You really can read and study your way to genuine solutions.  Not reading and studying can truly leave you behind.  But true learning is about making deep-dives.
  • The leader has to know enough to understand, be sharp enough and bold enough to decide, and then surround himself/herself with world-class talent.
  • And, the work ethic required is true, all-in, stick-to-it work ethic.
He is not consumed by the idea of getting rich.  He is much more the business leader with a master plan for humanity than the Trump-style business mogul.  He views the Internet, renewable energy, and space as the three areas that would undergo significant change in the years to come and as the markets where he could make a big impact.

Cover art

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