Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

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It’s been two weeks since I finished reading this book. The book takes you through a wild ride in Musk land and I wanted to let the dust settle before writing about it. The book was inspiring, deeply humbling and sometimes humiliating – I felt like it was asking me what the heck are YOU doing with your life?

This guy, born in South Africa, who is twice divorced and has five kids, is running multiple companies, doing everything from making electric cars to launching rockets. And he is doing it better than hundred year old car companies and even NASA. And he is doing it in style!. He also wants to colonize Mars and stop “the Terminator” scenario from ever happening and I believe he’ll do it (only because I believe that if Steve Jobs and Tony Stark had a baby, it would be Elon Musk).

This book beautifully covers everything from what his grandparents and parents were like to his relationship with his father, wife, children and employees. Instead of putting Elon on a pedestal, Ashlee Vance has given due credit to all the co-founders and other key people who have made PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX possible. She has also perfectly captured his character, work ethic and flaws.

The book is a fairly easy read. But it gets a little bit geeky-technical at some parts where the problems faced by SpaceX or Tesla are described. But that’s to be expected – after all, it’s literally rocket-science.

I give it 8.5/10.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”

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Courtesy: sealionbooks @ deviantart

Finally read this book. Now I know why this book is featured in almost all lists about inspirational or motivational books. Its the warm fuzzies. Reading the book kind of makes you feel young again and that everything is possible. The story follows the journey of a young shepherd on his way to Egypt, after he dreams about finding a treasure at the pyramids.

What I like about this book is how relatable it is. Some of the lines in the book and some exchanges between the characters are quite interesting – especially the ones about fear of losing what we have, fear of failure and about living in the present.

The writing feels a little bit weird and magical at the same time. I guess it would be much more beautiful if read in Portuguese, the original language it was written in. The book is a little bit overrated – there is no awe inspiring descriptions or detailed characters. But it is a book that talks about god, destiny, lots of philosophy and some psychology. It leaves you with positive thoughts and the world needs more books like this. I know that I do.

I give it 7/10.