Friendship, Kindle, and Elon Musk

Here goes the story of a friendship, how I got introduced to a book, how and for what I use my Kindle, and why you may want to own one.


The story begins by a message in Telegram1 from Amir, one of my closest friends. It was just a single link with no description. The actual conversation in its entirety is as follows:

Amir, [05.03.16 18:36]

Mohsen, [05.03.16 21:32]
[In reply to Amir]
added to pocket. will read on kindle. thanks.

This kind of telegraphic conversations is one of the reasons I cherish my friendship with Amir. We can skip formalities. In part it’s because I trust his opinion and taste so much so that I’m sure the content of the link is of quality. He doesn’t have to explain why I should check it out.


The link, like other long reads, went strait to Pocket and waited for Calibre to retrieve my Pocket articles using Pocket+ plugin. Calibre then makes a nice ‘issue’2 out of those; and finally emails the issue to the Kindle. One of the conveniences of a Kindle is that you can email a document to it and it’ll show up in your Kindle.3 The issue waited till I turned on the wi-fi.

With the issue downloaded, all I had to do next was to open the Issue, and read the post. 13 days after the initial introduction to the article; I finally started reading it.

The illustrations of the article are really funny. The article is Part 1 of a four-part series on Elon Musk’s companies. To be honest I skipped the other three. What I did instead was to mark the biography book mentioned in the article, ‘Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future’ by Ashlee Vance, as ‘to-read’ in Goodreads and downloaded it on my Kindle after that. At the time I was (and still am) halfway through ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde —recommend by another friend. I have to admit while the characters are well developed and the writing is rock solid and I kinda enjoy reading it, classics are not for me; as it seems to take me forever to finish them. But they are usually in public domain and free, therefore economical choices for reading.4

It took me a long time to finish this review of the book and that would have been impossible to do without the highlight feature. It can be a real timesaver to have all of your notes and highlights of a book in a list.

I'm writing the following segment months after finishing the book and I couldn't do this without reviewing my highlights. Reviewing highlights of a book can freshen the whole experience therefore a good habit to get into for someone forgetful like me .

…Elon Musk

It took me more than two months to finally open the book and start reading it. The irrational guilt associated with starting a book while I haven’t finished the last one yet was to blame. All the same, a month after that the 400-page book was finished.

Getting to the end of the book, I wished it never ended. I couldn’t get enough of the fascinating (true) story I was reading. Lucky for me —and all of us, really— he is alive and well and in his golden years. Hardly any day passes without him or one of his companies making headlines. Following the news around him is somehow reading the book after the (metaphorical) back cover.

More than anything, for me, the book was a huge motive to work hard. Musk and employees’ superhuman work ethic is the ever prominent topic in the book. As one SpaceX intern puts it, “You can work whatever 80 hours a week you want”.5 This way of work was in dire contrast with the chill atmosphere portrayed in the book I read right before this —How Google Works. And all that hard work actually sounded so fulfilling and rewarding. For a few glorious days I was working harder than I ever did before.

There are also dark sides to this hardworking startup genius, and the book does not seem to shy away from those at all. Musk’s impatience on what appears to a normal human being as trivial; and disrespect for his employees opinions; and his (dare I say deserved) huge ego cost his businesses a lot of top talents.

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  1. A popular messaging service as of writing. 

  2. Documents in a Kindle are either books, or issues. Each issue can have several ‘sections’ and ‘articles’. 

  3. Send to Kindle by E-mail 

  4. There are thousands of public domain books in Project Gutenberg. You can also find a whole lot of public domain stuff from books and audiobooks to paintings and photographies in The Internet Archive

  5. The exciting and grueling life of a SpaceX intern, where you meet Elon Musk and ‘work whatever 80 hours a week you want’ article on Business Insider