Like Einstein, Picasso and Muhammad Ali, Elon Musk is a great aphorist. His pithy sayings are continually quoted in contexts ranging far beyond the techie press. In fact, whole web sites (shitelonsays.com) have been devoted to the utterances of the Californic oracle.
Not all those who do great things are good at explaining how they do them (Bob Dylan comes to mind), but Musk has the talent for both words and deeds. Like Ronald Reagan, his speaking style is unpolished, but he has a gift for addressing his listeners in their own language, making him seem somehow eloquent and folksy at the same time.
Musk’s optimism, energy and can-do spirit, his faith in human progress, are much-needed tonics in an era of cynicism, disillusionment and fear of the future.
Now Jessica Easto has collected some of Musk’s finest flights of oratory in one volume: Rocket Man – Elon Musk In His Own Words, from Agate Publishing. The book is part of a series that includes such other tech and media luminaries as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey.
The book contains hundreds of quotes on EVs, clean energy, innovation, engineering, entrepreneurship and life lessons, culled from interviews, public talks, tweets and blogs. They are organized into ten topics.
A few gems from the Tesla chapter:
“I have made it a principle within Tesla that we should never attempt to make servicing a profit center. It does not seem right to me that companies try to make a profit off customers when their product breaks.”
“The best way to experience service is, of course, not to experience service.”
“The Tesla mission is to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. I would say it’s incredibly important that we do that. It matters to the world, it matters if it happens sooner or later, it matters if it happens at scale. And that’s what the Gigafactory is about. It’s about being able to make enough electric cars, enough stationary battery packs, that it actually moves the needle from a global carbon production perspective – so that it actually does really change the world. It has to be big because the world is big.”
Rocket Man – Elon Musk In His Own Words
Edited by Jessica Easto
Agate Publishing, 2017
Available in paperback (192 pages) and Kindle editions
Image: Jurvetson (flickr)