“Can you recommend a book for…? ”
“What are you reading right now? ”
“What are your favourite books? ”
I get asked those kinds of questions a lot and, being an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always pleased to oblige.
I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you understand; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.
On the flip side, I also think there’s little hope for people who aren’t perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the idle and ignorant.
Thus, if you’re a bookworm watching for great reads, or if you’d like to get into the habit of studying, this book club for you.
The idea here is simple: Every week, I’ll discuss a book I’ve particularly liked, why I liked it, and a number of my key takeaways from it.
I’ll also keep things short and sweet so that you can quickly decide whether the book is very likely to be up your alley or not.
If you’ve already read a book that I recommend or have a recommendation of your own to share, don’t be shy! Drop down a comment below and let meand the rest of us “book clubbers”–understand!
Lastly, if you want to get notified when new recommendations go live, jump on my email list and you’ll get each new installment delivered right to your inbox.
Alright. Let’s get to this week’s book: Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance.
If you like to read biographies to find ideas, models, systems, habits, etc. that extraordinary people have used to improve their lives and achieve great things, then you need to read this book.
If you’ve just arrived to Earth and spend most of your time in orbit, Elon Musk is one of the most adventurous entrepreneurs around these parts. He was one of the founders of Paypal, and he used the money he made there to create SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and Solar City, which can be space exploration, electric vehicle, and solar energy companies, respectively.
Elon’s genius, vision, work ethic, courage, and integrity has earned him billions of dollars and a cult of personality, and rightfully so, if you ask me. His narrative is a master lesson in the power of big think, hard work, and iron will, and we’re blessed to have people like him working for the betterment of humankind and not selling more knicknacks or creating new ways for us to waste time on our smartphones.
My 5 Key Takeaways from Elon Musk
The guiding principle at SpaceX is to adopt your work and get stuff done. Individuals who await guidance or detailed instructions languish. The same is true for workers who crave feedback.
The world is starved for people who have initiative — people that are ready to venture out into unknown lands and risk time, money, and effort on new and untried items that may ultimately come to nothing.
If you can develop this attribute in yourself, it’s certainly one of the simplest ways to increase your earning and career potential since there are, right now, an infinite number of problems that need solving, just waiting for someone to come along and find them out. Why not you?
And the absolute worst thing that someone can do is inform Musk what he’s asking is impossible. A worker could be telling Musk there’s no way to get the cost on something like that actuator down to where he wants it or there is simply insufficient time to construct part by Musk’s deadline. “Elon will say, ‘Fine. You’re off the job, and I am currently the CEO of this project. I will do your job and be CEO of two companies at the same time. I will deliver this,’” Brogan said. “What’s mad is that Elon actually does it. Every time he’s fired someone and taken their job, he’s delivered on whatever the job was. ”
A boss earns devotion by demonstrating devotion rather than asks his people to do something that he won’t do himself, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone more devoted to their vision and willing to shoulder any burden than Elon.
By way of instance, several years ago, when it looked like both SpaceX and Tesla were going to fold, Elon dwelt in his office. He worked 18 to 20 hour days and slept on a bean bag, 7 days per week, and slept on a bean bag in his office. Employees actually wondered if he was taking showers because they literally never saw him not in his office.
As he sees it, all the design and technology choices should be directed toward the goal of making a car as close to perfect as possible. To the extent that rival automakers haven’t, that’s what Musk is judging. It’s nearly a binary encounter for him. Either you’re trying to make something spectacular with no compromises or you’re . And if you’re not, Musk believes you a failure.
Perfectionism can be paralyzing — at some stage you have to stop tinkering and just ship it — but also many people think about a lot of things apart from just making the best product. They don’t understand that the number one best way to grow a business is to create products and services so good that customers tell everyone about them.
“Even then, as basically a college kid with migraines, Elon had this drive this thing– whatever it was– had to get done and if he didn’t do it, he’d miss his shot,” Heilman said. “I believe ’s what the VCs saw– that he was willing to stake his presence on building out this stage. ” Musk actually said as much to one venture capitalist, informing him, “My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than neglect. ”
When you can make decisions, large or small, with this level of force — when you can say that you’re planning to do or not do something and that only death can change this — then you enter a whole new realm of existence.
Goethe said that boldness has genius, power, and magic in it, and I’m a believer. The moment you truly commit to an action, plan, or path, all sorts of things align to assist you that otherwise never happen. You can find countless examples of this in the lives of the great people of history, and can experience it for yourself just as easily.
“Elon came to the conclusion early in his career that life is short,” Straubel said. “If you really embrace this, it leaves you with the clear conclusion that you ought to be working as hard as you can. ”
We often say that when you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to be proud of how much you really worked. I disagree. If you spend your life in service of something larger than you and engaged in meaningful work, you’re going to be quite happy about it. Everything you’re not going to care about is how many video games you played, TV shows you watched, or debates you think you won on Twitter.
Have you read Elon Musk? What did you think? Have anything else to talk about? Let me know in the comments below!
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