Elon Musk: Risking it All Audiobook by Michael Vlismas

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Elon Musk Risking it All Audiobook by Michael Vlismas
Elon Musk Risking it All Audiobook by Michael Vlismas

In 2022 Elon Musk – one of the richest and best-known people on earth – made headlines worldwide with his bid to buy Twitter, and he is often in the news for his entrepreneurial exploits and his controversial tweets. Who is this boundary-pushing billionaire with grand plans of inhabiting Mars, and what lies at the heart of his vision? Why is he so utterly unafraid of risk?

As an awkward Pretoria schoolboy who loved comics and science fiction, Musk’s early years and singular family background were crucial in forming his stellar ambitions. Journalist and author Michael Vlismas, who attended the same high school as Musk, knows well the environment that shaped him and offers new insights into Musk’s development, including his troubled relationship with his father.

Tracing his remarkable life, from his South African childhood to his move to Canada at 17 and then to the US – where Musk made millions out of PayPal and built Tesla and SpaceX into two of the world’s most famous companies – this is the revealing new story of a man driven to preserve the optimism he sees in humanity and find a future for humans ‘out there among the stars’.


There are several Elon Musk audiobooks on the market, but Elon Musk: Risking it All Audiobook mp3 is the first by a fellow South African. I felt this would add previously untold layers to the story, and it did. The first half of the book, which details his South African roots, is rich in detail and offers a fresh perspective.

I was very interested in Michael Vlismas’s perspective, having attended the same high school as Musk, and theoretically having the same roots as a child in South Africa (and being a child in South Africa myself, I was drawn to this fresh insight). However, at the end of those early chapters, the only connection Musk seems to have with the country of his birth, is that he wanted nothing more than to escape it and never return. Sure, those early experiences played a part in who he is today, but it doesn’t seem that he holds any love or affection for the place or the people.

The rest of the narrative traces Elon’s trajectory to ultimately becoming the richest man on the planet (and perhaps on Mars one day) in a well-written & easy to follow manner.

Many myths are put to bed and Vlismas does a fine job of explaining how Musk’s personality was formed amid both a tangled (and fascinating) personal background and a country at war with itself.

His anecdotes and contextualization of Musk’s place within an environment largely at odds with his perspective are often extraordinary. He was clearly brilliant from a young age and to understand how he made his way from the tip of Africa to the heart of tech in the US is a journey Vlismas carefully, and astutely, takes the reader on.

Even knowing the broad dimensions of Musk’s story, I could hardly put the audiobook down. Highly recommended!

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