In short, a lot!
I have finished reading ‘Elon Musk – Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future’. It was actually the first autobiography I have ever read, so I was sceptical as to whether or not I’d enjoy it. However, I have definitely found a new passion, the book offered insights that will only be shown through such books.
So what did I learn from the book?
1 – It’s not all sunshine and rainbows!
Elon Musk’s life has been tough! You see the fame he has being associated with PayPal, Tesla etc. But did you realise he’s been ousted as CEO from a number of his own successful startups, and has had many legal battles to claim ownership of being a co-founder for many of his most successful ventures, including PayPal?
I spent a large amount of the book in shock, learning about what actually happened at these companies, how he actually reached his heights and what it has cost him. The tough times are never re-told once success has arrived. This presents an extremely dangerous image that he was always bound for success and his talent saw him sail to the top; that wasn’t the case for him and it won’t be the case for you!
2 – When you really know what you’re talking about, you’ll be respected.
Elon is known for his extreme requests, his tight deadlines and orders to cut costs. Many times his requests seemed impossible, but when people refused to do it, he would complete the action himself. This was extremely powerful, especially at SpaceX where his team literally had to invent new processes to reach expectations.
Elon was only able to set these expectations and pull them off himself if needed because he knew what he was talking about. He wasn’t a genius from birth, he just had a huge thirst for knowledge and a very impressive memory. SpaceX engineers recalled being quizzed by Elon; initially not because he was checking they knew their stuff, but because he wanted to know! Over time he became one of the most (if not the most) knowledgeable SpaceX and Tesla engineer, so when he set a target, he knew it could be reached.
This gave him the respect of many that worked for him as he couldn’t be seen as a clueless boss, instead perhaps he could be seen as an ingenious leader.
3 – Sometimes you’ve got to dream like a kid
Eliminate a country’s need for fossil fuels, and extend the existence of humanity. These are some of the dreams of Elon. Sound crazy don’t they, but he’s taking big steps towards achieving them.
Nothing is too big or scary to him and that is one of the most impressive qualities about him. He knows that he wants to change the world and he will do everything he can to make sure it happens.