Book Notes #023 - Elon Musk by Ashley Vance.

Rating 4.5/5 ⭐️ (Very Good)

Topic: Biography - Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology.

"The game he talked was so much bigger than anyone else's that reporters were comfortable giving Musk leeway."

- Ashley Vance.


  • Main Ideas - Good.

  • Examples and Stories - Great.

  • Engagement - High.


This book is not for everyone but is for anyone looking to learn about entrepreneurship, business and technology through the lenses of one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of our time since Steve Jobs.

There are a few industrialists in history who can match Elon Musk's relentless drive and ingenious vision such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs.

Musk is the real version of Tony Stark... in fact, he was the inspiration for the character.



We all have a reason for why we do what we do. There is always an origin story. When we think about Elon Musk today, and the achievements he has set in this world, one can not help but respect him.

On the other hand, to get to that level of achievement, one must go through equal or greater pain and suffering. The question becomes, why would someone be so driven to change the world?

For Musk it started when he was very young. He was bullied at school and took refuge in books…

“The most striking part of Elon’s character as a young boy was his compulsion to read... from a very young age, he seemed to have a book in his hands at all times. “It was not unusual for him to read ten hours a day,” said Kimbal.”

  • "Maybe I read too many comics as a kid… in the comic, it always seems like they are trying to save the world. It seems like one should try to make the world a better place because the inverse makes no sense." - Musk

"Musk came to see man’s fate in the universe as a personal obligation. If that meant pursuing cleaner energy technology or building spaceships to extend the human species’s reach, then so be it."

QUESTION: What is your origin story, what is something that shaped who you are today? What drives you? What is your personal obligation?


"Musk found in Silicon Valley a wealth of opportunity he’d been seeking and a place equal to his ambitions."

He wanted to pursue the development of a new technology back in the day called the internet.

He wanted to be part of that movement like many others during the dot-com era, instead of continuing studying and earning a Ph.D.

He viewed the internet, renewable energy, and space as the three areas that will undergo significant change in the years to come. He decided to start with the internet.

  • Back when the internet first started, people did not know the utility it could bring. His first business was ZIP2 would create a searchable directory of businesses and tie this into maps. Yelp meets Google maps. He had a decent idea, turned it into a real service, and came out of the dot-com tumult with cash in his pockets, which is better than what many of his compatriots could say.