How to think like Elon Musk

December 17, 2013

Elon Musk is a technology genius. The South African born, now American business magnate, is currently the CEO & CTO of SpaceX and CEO & Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors. Musk studied commerce at the Queen’s School of Business for two years, and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. He founded SpaceX and led Tesla Motors and PayPal.

Elon Musk recommends coming up with new ideas with the “first principles” method. Here’s how he defines “first principles”:

I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.

During this interview with Kevin Rose, Musk describes his background as well as his way of thinking.  It’s a great video not only on thinking but about the life of one of a great contemporary innovator.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

W. David Phillips © 2018
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