Elon Musk: the history of successes and failures of the genius of our time

Elon Musk: the history of successes and failures of the genius of our time


It would seem that there are no people left on Earth who would not have heard who Elon Musk is. There are jokes that even aliens know about him. The net worth of the dollar billionaire in 2019 was $ 19.2 billion.

Elon Musk

But for those who are still not in the know, this most futuristic-minded person on earth is:

  • Canadian-American engineer and inventor,
  • entrepreneur, billionaire and investor;
  • the founder of the banking company PayPal ;
  • founder, co-owner, CEO and chief engineer of the rocket company SpaceX ;
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, CEO of Tesla , an electric vehicle company ;
  • member of the board of directors of the energy company SolarCity.
Elon Musk

But the most important thing is that the main goal of this brilliant dreamer and talented engineer is not “to earn all the money in the world”, but “to improve the life of our planet as much as possible.” He has created fantastic projects that are already changing our world.

Was his success predetermined and was a guy born and raised in a wealthy family? How did this genius of our time begin his journey and how he set himself goals:

  • provide ubiquitous internet banking;
  • stop global warming;
  • turn humans into a multiplanetary species and relocate them to Mars?
Elon Musk in childhood

Childhood and adolescence, family

Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, the son of Canadian model May Haldeman and electrical engineer Errol Musk. The boy was named after his great-grandfather, and besides him, the family also had his younger sister Tosca and brother Kimbal.

Musk’s childhood was difficult: at school, the know-it-all was bullied, his peers beat him, and once even threw him down the stairs, as a result of which the boy was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, including a broken nose. And then the parents also divorced: although the children remained to live with their father, this moment did not make their existence easier (the parent had very strict rules of upbringing).

Elon Musk in childhood

Withdrawing into himself, 10-year-old Ilon read a lot – 10 hours a day, and after reading all the books in the library, he began to study “Britannica” – an encyclopedia, in which, for a minute (!) 32 640 pages.

At the age of 12, the guy began to “kill time” at the computer: having learned how to program on a home PC Commodore VIC-20, he first developed a space arcade – the video game Blastar . Later, for its sale, Elon received the first $ 500, which he invested in the shares of a pharmaceutical company. In addition, the boy, along with his sister and brother, had to work hard to help his father.

Elon's father mask Errol Musk

The decision that his main mission is the salvation of mankind came to the future genius at the age of 14: thanks to his mother, he receives Canadian citizenship and is waiting for an early move.

Elon's mother mask May Musk


The long-awaited move to Canada fell on the 17-year-old Ilona. He lives with his mother’s relatives and earns his living by dragging land into the boiler room for $ 18 a day.

elon musk student

But nevertheless, he understood that this would not work and that he needed to learn, therefore:

  • In 1989 (age 18), Musk enters Ontario College, and during his studies he meets with entrepreneurs at lunches.
  • After an unsuccessful internship at the bank, offered by one of his new acquaintances, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania.
  • In 1994, he received degrees in economics and physics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • However, having entered graduate school at Stanford, the guy drops out on the second day.
Elon Musk


Elon Musk develops and launches his first startup Zip2 together with his brother Kimbel in 1995, using his father’s money in the amount of 28 thousand dollars. After 4 years, he sells the company and receives $ 22 million.

In 1999, Musk created X.com, an online bank, competing for customers with another banking system, Confinity. In 2000, these banks merged and PayPal , a company specializing in wire transfers, was founded .

For its sale to the online auction eBay in 2002, the founder received $ 180 million.

Elon Musk

In May 2002, the entrepreneur founds his third company Space X , which is a private launch vehicle developer and operator of space systems, and in 2004 invests in Tesla:

  • The launch of the first rocket in 2006 ends with an explosion, but despite this, Elon receives contracts from NASA for the delivery of cargo to the ISS and the development of Falcon 9.
  • In 2007, the launch of the rocket is still unsuccessful, and in 2008, even 4 NASA satellites are destroyed .
  • Meanwhile, the production and sale of the first electric vehicles Tesla Roadster takes place, and in 2009 Musk presents the first Tesla Model S to the world.

Then Space X and Tesla run out of money at the same time, but:

  • thanks to the 4th, finally successful, rocket launch, the entrepreneur signs a contract with NASA for 12 flights;
  • a few hours before the bankruptcy Tesla also receives funding.
Elon Musk

Today, Musk is launching rockets into space one by one, and people are preparing to move to Mars. In addition, the billionaire proved that electric cars have the right to a real existence, although until recently no one believed in such a thing.

Fantasy Mask is directed not only into space, but also deep into earthly matter: it is not in vain that he started building an underground high-speed train that will cover 700 miles per hour.

Personal life

In 2000, Elon Musk marries his college girlfriend, Justin Wilson, but during his honeymoon, he will face a lot of trouble:

  • removal from the post of chief executive officer at PayPal ;
  • defeat by malaria, as a result of which he miraculously remains alive.
Elon Musk with his wife

In 2002, the firstborn was born in a young family – Nevada Alexander, who soon (at the 10th week of his life) dies of sudden infant death syndrome. In 2004, thanks to IVF, the Musk couple gave birth to twin sons Griffin and Xavier. After 2 years, the family is replenished with triplet boys Damian, Saxon and Kay.

But in 2008, Elon Musk divorced his wife and began dating British actress Tatula Riley.

Elon Musk Tatula Riley

The history of their relationship, from 2010 to 2016, is very fickle: the couple managed to get married 2 times and divorced 2 times. The billionaire has no joint children with Tatula Riley. Well, this is one of those people who are said to be “married to his job.”

Elon Musk

Why is Elon Musk called the Iron Man of our time?

Jon Favreau himself, the director of the Iron Man franchise, once said that the image of the millionaire superhero Tony Stark is entirely based on Musk’s personality. He was invited to play himself in some episodes of the second part of the movie, and a few moments were filmed at the headquarters of the company Space the X .

The fact that Elon Musk is a fan of science fiction films is also evidenced by the name of the Space X Falcon rocket. The same name was used by the spaceship from “Star Wars”.

Also in 2013, the entrepreneur bought the Wet Nellie submarine for $ 1 million: the audience could see the same submarine in the movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Musk is now planning to rebuild the boat using Tesla Motors technology.

Elon Musk

Despite how thorny the path of the successful Elon Musk today turned out to be, what trials and difficulties he did not have to overcome, his main advantage is that he did not give up.

You are sincerely inspired by the way the genius of our time proved to his parents, peers who mocked him at school, and most importantly, to himself, what he is in essence capable of. The story of Elon Musk shows that the human mind and possibilities are endless and no circumstances will break a person until he himself desires it.

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