Electric Car Start-Up Star: Elon Musk
Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. At a young age, Musk taught himself to program computers. He even invented a video game called Blastar at just 12 years old. Musk showed early entrepreneurial skills by selling the game’s code to the computer magazine PC and Office Technology! He went on to study at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University in California. During his Ph.D. studies at Stanford, he decided to leave to start his own business.
Although science is the setting of each of these books, they are actually about the people who work hard to learn something in a new field and then start a company in that field. There are five main examples in each book along with several other cases either in the text or pictures with brief captions. The entrepreneurs chosen cover a wide variety of individuals and include some very well-known figures that readers will have heard of already. Other examples come from around the world in a wide variety of technology areas important to that locality. The applications in each book do pull together under the topic though there are some that are mentioned in more than one book.
The first section of each book is “You can be an Entrepreneur!” This includes a definition of a start-up and an entrepreneur along with some history or an inspiring story. This is followed by five main sections of four pages introducing an application of the type of technology and an example of a start-up company. The last section consists of two parts; the first is “Entrepreneurs Changing the World” (except for Space Entrepreneurs) and “Your Start-Up Story”. These are both inspirational with further brief examples, suggestions for studying science and math, both necessary to make inventions, and a challenge to try out.
Each book is a good mix of text in small neat sections, pictures to illustrate the concept(s) being presented and lots of pictures of the people involved in the area discussed with captions explaining why they are important or some background. The table of contents highlights the examples by giving them an orange background. Each book has a glossary, index and both books and websites where more information can be found. There is an approximately equal mix of the science and the people making progress with a focus on how any of us can accomplish firsts, find solutions and start a business to bring our invention to the public.
In Industry Entrepreneurs, industry is used to combine both manufacturing and design. The topics include the electric car, 3-D printing as a way to design and make items in your own home, and nanotechnology with a startling application. Then there are sections of using power creation on a very small scale, making it possible to use it anywhere in the world. Another section deals with how computers can be used to improve the performance of robots. The applications in this book are the widest of any book in the series. The concluding section is also stimulating, containing great ideas and a challenge to do an energy audit, a very practical and interesting activity.
This series is aimed at both technology and business students. For those interested in engineering, they can see that there are ways to apply this knowledge to start a company and get products out to the world. For those who want to go into business, the series suggests that ideas can come from many areas of technology and that entrepreneurs can find a niche where they can provide something that no one else has yet discovered. In both ways, these are inspirational books, encouraging a crossover between subjects that can only help the student and our society in finding ways to help people here and around the world.
The books in the series work well together and would make a wonderful addition to a school library. Even personal libraries would benefit from two or more books on the topics most in line with the interests of the child.
Willow Moonbeam is a cataloguing librarian with many hobbies who enjoys learning new things. Living in Toronto allows consumption of many and varied interests.