Elon Musk has a reputation of being quite divisive. Regardless of your views, however, he's build some incredible companies and accomplished a lot, so I wanted to dive into his story and how it all happened.
The biographer, Ashlee Vance, was granted unprecedented access to Musk, so this book reveals a lot about how he built his companies and the challenges he had to overcome in doing so. I particularly enjoyed the part focused on SpaceX and his focus on reusable rockets.
One thing Musk holds in the highest regard is resolve, and he respects people who continue on after being told no.
Musk has always had a pretty negative view of social media and the online world, which is quite obvious now but comes through quite a few times in the book as well:
"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads," Jeff Hammerbacher, an early Facebook engineer, told me. "That sucks." Silicon Valley began to look an awful lot like Hollywood. Meanwhile, the consumers it served had turned inward, obsessed with their virtual lives.
"We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters."
One thing that really resonated with me is Elon Musk's focus on solutions to problems. His employees quickly learned to only come to him with a problem once they had a proposed solution. This is something I apply to my own decisions, and if I encounter a problem the first thing I do is find potential solutions before making it known.
What Musk would not tolerate were excuses or the lack of a clear plan of attack.