Elon Musk and Tesla: ISBN 978-1-60152-870-4 / eBook: 978-1-60152-871-1
Jeff Bezos and Amazon: ISBN 978-1-60152-872-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-873-5
Reed Hastings and Netflix: ISBN 978-1-60152-878-0 / eBook: 978-1-60152-879-7
VOYA, August 1, 2016
These three volumes would each be a strong addition to a biography, science, or business collection. Each focuses on a successful technology entrepreneur and provides a well-researched biography. The Elon Musk volume takes a largely thematic approach, addressing his interests in the Internet, clean energy, and space (and their resulting companies) separately. The Jeff Bezos and Reed Hastings volumes are more linear, treating their childhoods and earlier companies as prequels to the founding of Amazon and Netflix, respectively. Yet, even in these volumes, the distinct differences between the subjects is found in the volumes' organization, as the story of Hastings and Netflix includes more background on his co-founders and his work with education, and Bezos’s story focuses almost exclusively on the man and Amazon.
All three volumes are heavily researched, with citations for quotes, bibliographies, and quick-reference timelines at the back. Their small size and spacious layout prevent them from scaring off less intense readers. All emphasize the theme that these are intelligent, driven entrepreneurs who believe in themselves and are not willing to stop when they succeed, but continue to try to do better; and who drive those around them to work just as hard. The biographies are full of facts with very few extraneous photos, sidebars, or notes. The stories all tie back to the subjects, who may well be impressed by the amount of detail in these short volumes. One difference in the volumes is that Elon Musk and Tesla focuses less on Tesla, and more on Musk's many endeavors, with only the last chapter devoted to Tesla.
Gr 7–10 Tackling big names in the field of technology, these volumes are text-heavy and clearly aimed at stronger readers, though the writing throughout is clear and concise. Adequate use is made of stock images to complement news and publicity photos. Sidebars featuring quotations and testimonials add context. While the tone is almost uniformly positive, some authors do call attention to subjects’ reputations for having difficult personalities. All provide significant historical context and detail the importance of these innovations, particularly Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk frequently looks forward to potential for future impact. VERDICT First-rate research sources, and highly enjoyable reads.