Elon Musk is among the most controversial titans of Silicon Valley. Wall Street Journal tech and auto reporter Tim Higgins had a front-row seat for the drama: the pileups, wrestling for control, meltdowns, and the unlikeliest outcome of all, success.
Tim Higgins’s compelling and deeply reported history of Tesla addresses the essential question of how this upstart automaker came from nowhere to become one of the most valuable companies on Earth ... Power Play allows us to see how Musk aligned Tesla with his personal vision...and how he in essence became indistinguishable from the brand ... One of the more enlightening aspects of Power Play is the paradox Higgins presents: Tesla couldn’t have possibly succeeded without Musk, whose money, ideas and unwavering push for excellence forced the young firm to meet seemingly impossible goals as it became increasingly adept at building electric cars. Yet Musk was Tesla’s biggest liability, too ... Higgins...is unafraid to chronicle the chief executive’s behavior in telling detail ... One shortcoming of Power Play is that it lacks a rigorous look at Tesla’s environmental impact ... I would have liked to get a better understanding of the ecological value of Tesla and how much a world running on its cars could help us out of our current predicament ... Even so, Higgins’s book amounts to an exceptional work of business journalism.
Higgins...has done an outstanding job. He's performed a deep dive into the nuts and volts of Tesla. His book is extensively researched ... While the book is long, there's no sense that it is bloated. The only question Higgins doesn't answer is if the ends justified Musk's means. Ultimately, the climate might say yes. But as for the people he tossed aside, well, not so much
Higgins doesn’t break much news or gossip—but [he] also nicely encapsulates this sweeping history of the electric-car juggernaut, a company that often seems to innovate and thrive in spite of its founder rather than as a result of his vaunted genius. To the inevitable disappointment of some and the relief of others, this is a book about Tesla, not about its founder ... When Higgins writes about facts and situations I’m familiar with, I can attest he’s right on the button, every time. If there’s any nonsense in Power Play, Higgins isn’t the source of it.