Elon Musk has a known penchant for reading in general, but there at least 4 ways comic books may have helped shape his persona.
Co-founder and previous co-owner of PayPal and Zip2, current CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and Chairman of SolarCity, Elon Musk, at 45, is one of the most visionary entrepreneurs alive.
Musk, who, in the1990s attended a physics Ph.D. program at Stanford University and then left after only two days because it was irrelevant to himhas made his love for reading well-known. When you ask him how he managed to build and launch rockets, he reportedly says I read books.
Last year, Musks reading habits made headlines when he name-dropped and recommended an out-of-print history book,Twelve Against the Gods,which then sold out on Amazon within hours.
Beside fantasy and Sci-fi stories which he used to cope (J.R.R. Tolkien and Isaac Asimov), comic book themes, and especially super heroes, also had a big effect on Elon as a kid and the adult he would later become.
Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) are both men with a genius-level intellect whose super powers stem from a combination of wealth and love for science and technology.
We could learn from these two popular super heroes, as Elon the kid would have, that being smart can be a superpower that can be leveraged to the greater good. We can see some elements from the Caped Crusader and the Avengers member back stories in Musk, such as loving science, having a vision and a plan to serve humanity.
As far as Hollywood is concerned, this is perhaps the golden age of themultiverse, or shared universes, whatever you want to call it. But before Marvel and DC got into businessin mediums like Netflix Originals, the concept has been already in use in comics.
Interconnected plotlines that have a greater impact on a much bigger arc may have inspired Musk how to see the big picture, define priorities and have a plan as to where hes heading from the start.
And when we look at it, we see Musk as a macro thinker who plays with mini-plots to set the stage for some kind of a big denouement. Take Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity: while each has its own agenda, its clear theyre synergistically operating in Musks universe.
Being one of the most formulaic genres, comic book themes and narratives often rely on saving the world from an apocalyptic threat. But before getting to that in the third act, our heroes have to discover their powers, harness them and learn how to use them for the good of humanity.
In a similar way, Musk seems to be in the process of getting the tools (clean energy, space exploration) to save the world, not from supervillains, but from its own demons. After all, Musks has a Mars Plan and his ultimate goal is making humanity an interplanetary species.
Theres a nod to all Spider-Man fans.
But apart from being the most quotable line from the web-slingers story, its not exactly unique among comic book themes. Acquiring and using a super power, whether by technological or supernatural means, is often balanced by ethical questions that affect the heros journey.
In 2015, along with Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Noam Chomsky and hundreds of other AI and Robotic researchers, Musk endorsed an open-letter that warns against AI misuse.
Now, with his forward thinking and innovative projects, Musk is building the power slowly and steadily, but he seems to be already aware of the challenges that come with it.
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4 Comic Book Themes that Made Elon Musk a Futurist - Edgy Labs (blog)
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