1. Elon Musk: Introduction
  2. Elon Musk: Early Life and Education
  3. Elon Musk: Success Story
  4. Elon Musk: Net Worth
  5. Elon Musk: Famous or Infamous
  6. Elon Musk: Most Influential Quotes

Elon Musk has shared many words of wisdom. Here is a list of some of his most memorable and insightful utterances.

Musk on Taking Big Risks

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” Musk on the attitude that underlies his big-thinking, risk-taking approach to business.

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” Musk on the early stages of decision making.

"When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' That was a huge bet he made, and it worked." Musk on how innovation is typically viewed at the time versus how it is viewed by history.

“I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.” Musk on the changes that will drive a future for humanity that’s anything other than nightmarish.

"Any product that needs a manual to work is broken." Musk on the intuitive interface customers now expect from technology.

"I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact." Musk on the promise and the challenges of outer-space colonization.

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” Musk on the freedom and risk necessary for experimentation. 

Musk on the Rules

“We have essentially no patents in SpaceX. Our primary long-term competition is in China. If we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.” Musk on his company’s eschewing of the traditional patent process.

"(My biggest mistake is probably) weighing too much on someone's talent and not someone's personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart." Musk on the source of some of the misjudgments in his career.

"Going from PayPal, I thought: 'Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?' Not from the perspective, 'What's the best way to make money?'" Musk on how he evaluates investments and his own career choices.

"I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better." Musk on the process of designing and improving a product.

Musk on What's Important in Life

"There have only been about a half dozen genuinely important events in the four-billion-year saga of life on Earth: single-celled life, multi-celled life, differentiation into plants and animals, movement of animals from water to land, and the advent of mammals and consciousness." Musk on the planet Earth's milestone events.

"If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic – being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago." Musk on the wonders of the technology we take for granted today.

"The reality is gas prices should be much more expensive than they are because we're not incorporating the true damage to the environment and the hidden costs of mining oil and transporting it to the U.S. Whenever you have an unpriced externality, you have a bit of a market failure, to the degree that externality remains unpriced." Musk on how market forces neglect the costs that certain technologies inflict on the environment.

"If anyone thinks they'd rather be in a different part of history, they're probably not a very good student of history. Life sucked in the old days. People knew very little, and you were likely to die at a young age of some horrible disease. You'd probably have no teeth by now. It would be particularly awful if you were a woman." Musk on the gifts that technology has bestowed upon mankind.


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