Posted in Reviews

Review: The Engineer: Follow Elon Musk on a journey from South Africa to Mars by Erik Nordeus


Title: The Engineer: Follow Elon Musk on a journey from South Africa to Mars

Author: Erik Nordeus

Genre: Biography

This is a book about the beginning of a journey. Elon Musk is the main person in the journey through a roller-coaster life. His journey includes everything from Winston Churchill’s adventures in British colonies to demolished sports cars. From failed marriages to German scientists escaping from the Red Army. From the oil industry to the Burning Man festival.

Elon has been described as the Steve Jobs of heavy industry, as a modern version of the scientist Nikola Tesla, and as the Henry Ford of rockets. There’s a high probability that the British Secret Intelligence Service has a file on him. As the files of other James Bond villains, it describes secret rocket launches in the Pacific Ocean. But Elon doesn’t own a white cat – he’s more of a dog person. Maybe the most comparable persons are the great explorers who voyaged across the globe. They had an entrepreneurial spirit, were a little crazy, tried what no one else had tried, and thought what no one else had thought.

Rating: 4/5

Last year I read Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future and became a huge fan of Elon Musk. So when I found out another biography of him exists, of course I had to read it.

The most important difference between the two biographies is that Elon Musk had no involvement at all in this one. The author has used over 450 sources to write this book, but when you’re writing a book about a living person, your best possible source is that person. This book is self-published, which is sometimes quite obvious because of grammatical errors and awkward sentences. Regardless of the faults, I still really enjoyed reading it.

Elon Musk is a fascinating person. He went from having nothing to being a billionaire and he achieved that with companies that not many people expected to succeed. It would be difficult to write a book about him that’s not interesting to read. This book describes his life up to year 2012 (it would be great if there were yearly updates, but oh well) and there are three very handy timelines at the end, one for Elon’s life, one for Tesla Motors and one for SpaceX. Most of the book is focused on his companies, but there are also chapters about his early life and, later on, his personal life.

Most of the information was already familiar to me, but there were some anecdotes and details I didn’t know before. For an unofficial biography, this is a really good book.


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