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Fascinating new book on Tesla and Musk

I highly recommend Tim Higgins new book, "Power Play," on the history of Tesla, and Elon Musk's role in that history. Musk doesn't like the Wall Street Reporter's recounting of Tesla's first 18 years, for obvious reasons when you read it. The book also isn't adulatory enough for fanboys or apocalyptic enough for short sellers. But for any Tesla owner familiar with the strength and weaknesses of the car and the company, this is a hard-hitting but fair portrayal. While Elon dominates Tesla news, "Power Play" explains the critical role dozens of other leaders had in getting the carmaker through a literal Perils of Pauline existence - many of whom later either quit or were fired. Musk comes across as a rare visionary and an indefatigable driver who can be inspiring at one moment and uncontrolled and thoughtless the next. He relies on the engineering of other people, contrary to his genius legend. But to his credit while he sometimes gets many things wrong, he gets the big picture right. It makes sense that he confessed he has Asperger's Syndrome (the book doesn't mention this, but his behavior fits the condition.) He's also one of those rare people, like Henry Ford, who really changed the world.

So many hurdles were overcome that I came away more impressed with what Elon has achieved than I was before, even while wincing at his behavior and unnecessary mistakes. And proud to have bought one of his EVs, even while being frustrated by the company's poor customer relations.

If you don't read the book and are new to Tesla, here are a few practical takeaways that I (not the author) came away with:

1. New Tesla vehicles rarely meet their target deadline for production (the Y is the first exception) and the cars first off the production line have ALWAYS had quality problems. Always. Be patient, and wait until they work out the kinks.
2. It's unlikely Tesla is going to solve its sales, service, and public relation problems anytime soon. These are not Elon's priorities.
3. Tesla would be one hell of a company to work for, in the very best and very worst way.



Power Play.jpg
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Mar 6, 2013
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San Diego
The excerpt I read in the WSJ turned me off the book. The author basically implied something that was completely untrue. He implied that Elon had personally fired a hard working sales person within a year of his hiring because he didn't measure up. The reality is that Tesla underwent a company wide re-organization and the great sales person was let go along with hundreds of others. The author could have reported it straight, but couldn't pass up the chance to stick the knife in.

Also, you should realize that the author had zero access to Tesla and Elon. Unlike Eric Berger of Ars, who had Elon's complete blessing to talk to anyone and everyone for his SpaceX book, Higgins here couldn't talk to anyone who liked Elon since none of them wanted to talk to Higgins. Just that fact alone is enough to realize this is going to be a very biased book.

So, yeah, count me out.
 
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Nice write up on the book. I am very tempted to read it. I assumed however that the author had access to Tesla employees. If he didn't I have to wonder how we can get a complete picture. I already knew well of items 1, 2, and 3. May wait a while to see how the credibility factor of the book pans out.
 
The excerpt I read in the WSJ turned me off the book. The author basically implied something that was completely untrue. He implied that Elon had personally fired a hard working sales person within a year of his hiring because he didn't measure up. The reality is that Tesla underwent a company wide re-organization and the great sales person was let go along with hundreds of others. The author could have reported it straight, but couldn't pass up the chance to stick the knife in.

Also, you should realize that the author had zero access to Tesla and Elon. Unlike Eric Berger of Ars, who had Elon's complete blessing to talk to anyone and everyone for his SpaceX book, Higgins here couldn't talk to anyone who liked Elon since none of them wanted to talk to Higgins. Just that fact alone is enough to realize this is going to be a very biased book.

So, yeah, count me out.
Just curious, do you happen to for a fact that Elon didn't personally fire the guy? Otherwise it is possible he did, as all the other restructuring was taking place.
 

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