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Publisher's Summary

A Wall Street Journal Business Best Seller

“A deeply reported and business-savvy chronicle of Tesla's wild ride.” (Walter Isaacson, New York Times Book Review)

Power Play is the riveting inside story of Elon Musk and Tesla's bid to build the world's greatest car - from award-winning Wall Street Journal tech and auto reporter Tim Higgins

Elon Musk is among the most controversial titans of Silicon Valley. To some he's a genius and a visionary; to others he's a mercurial huckster. Billions of dollars have been gained and lost on his tweets; his personal exploits are the stuff of tabloids. But for all his outrageous talk of mind-uploading and space travel, his most audacious vision is the one closest to the ground: the electric car.

When Tesla was founded in the 2000s, electric cars were novelties, trotted out and thrown on the scrap heap by carmakers for more than a century. But where most onlookers saw only failure, a small band of Silicon Valley engineers and entrepreneurs saw opportunity. The gas-guzzling car was in need of disruption. They pitted themselves against the biggest, fiercest business rivals in the world, setting out to make a car that was quicker, sexier, smoother, cleaner than the competition.

But as the saying goes, to make a small fortune in cars, start with a big fortune. Tesla would undergo a hellish 15 years, beset by rivals, pressured by investors, hobbled by whistleblowers, buoyed by its loyal supporters. Musk himself would often prove Tesla's worst enemy - his antics more than once took the company he had initially funded largely with his own money to the brink of collapse. Was he an underdog, an antihero, a conman, or some combination of the three?

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. A story of power, recklessness, struggle, and triumph, Power Play is an exhilarating look at how a team of eccentrics and innovators beat the odds - and changed the future.

©2021 Tim Higgins (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] sweeping history of the electric-car juggernaut.... I’ve covered Tesla as a reporter since 2016. When Higgins writes about facts and situations I’m familiar with, I can attest he’s right on the button, every time.” (Los Angeles Times

"Tim Higgins’ 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.... An exceptional work of business journalism." (Washington Post

“Tense, detailed and well-crafted...Power Play is a business thriller for real.... A clear, deeply reported and engaging account of how Musk launched a truly transformational car.” (Associated Press) 

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What listeners say about Power Play

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good, but you've heard these stories before

This book is worth reading if you are interested in Tesla and Musk, but the theme is relatively straight forward and something you probably already know. Musk is wild and unpredictable, yet genius and a visionary. this book recounts many familiar headlines and goes a bit beyond the surface. I did not find it especially groundbreaking, and I don't find Musk to be all that interesting. Certainly not as interesting as Steve Jobs and his journey leading Apple. Perhaps Walter Isaacson will fill in the gaps in his personal life and deliver a more balanced autobiography one day. Until then, this serves as a fairly good start in the chronicling of Tesla.

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Great insight into the growth of the organization

This page turner reads like a novel with perspective from several characters.

Very informative in how business growth works in the real world. Messy and dangerous, but worth it all in the end

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Detailed story of Tesla’s development, but not all that interesting

I don’t really feel I learned a whole lot that I didn’t know. Let’s just say I’m glad I listened at 1.5x speed.

1 person found this helpful

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Great History Lesson

Well written and well narrated history of Tesla with the year to year behavior of Elon Musk saturating the majority of the documentary.

Worth the read and time.

Warning....it's a long one

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Exectional

Over highly recommended for the other people who are interested in the story of Tesla!

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Excellent book

Excellent, well written and read book of yet another American narcissist megalomaniac who believes his achievements, great though they are, are down to him and him alone. How company owners can get away with such rampant abuses of workers in the greatest, most advanced industrial nation the world has ever seen befuddles me. Perhaps that’s how and why America is in this position. This book made me pity the many workers and their families going through the stress and insecurity of working for Elon Musk. There will be redemption one day.

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A good if hard (4 a fan) listen

In my opinion much of this is factual or based on fact. The story of Tesla, like the story of SpaceX is not easily separated from the myth around Elon Musk. As an investor, company fan and a believer that Tesla will achieve amazing things on the 2020’s, I think it’s good to remember how close they have come to not existing at all.

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Insightful

Love him or hate him Musk is a doer. Higgins does a good job explaining the challenges of creating my the Tesla - new technology and a tyrant genius.

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examples of a biased author.

it is extremely easy to hear the bias in the authors explanations ever happen. I thought the author was very Petty. the true greatness what just happened is not represented in this book.

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The best true insight of how tesla was built!!

Reading this book was a complete joy. I read the entire text in three days straight and could not get my eyes off the pages. It reads like a simple movie. Close your eyes, and you can envision every story and every interaction that occurs. Indeed remarkable writing, and I still can’t believe all of it is based on the reality that we’re envisioning right now.