6 episodes

Elon Musk's visions of the future all stem from the same place: the science-fiction he grew up on. To understand where Musk wants to take the rest of us - with his electric cars, his rockets to Mars, his meme stocks, and tunnels deep beneath the earth — Harvard professor and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore looks at those science fiction stories and helps us understand what Musk missed about them.
The Evening Rocket explores Musk's strange new kind of extravagant, extreme capitalism — call it Muskism — where stock prices are driven by earnings, and also by fantasies. Follow along on Twitter @ElonMuskPodcast.
From Pushkin Industries and BBC Radio 4. Pushkin Industries may use this feed in the future to debut new podcasts from our catalog. If you'd like to hear more from Jill Lepore, check out her podcast The Last Archive.

Elon Musk: The Evening Rocket Pushkin Industries and BBC Radio 4

    • Business
    • 4.0 • 75 Ratings

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Elon Musk's visions of the future all stem from the same place: the science-fiction he grew up on. To understand where Musk wants to take the rest of us - with his electric cars, his rockets to Mars, his meme stocks, and tunnels deep beneath the earth — Harvard professor and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore looks at those science fiction stories and helps us understand what Musk missed about them.
The Evening Rocket explores Musk's strange new kind of extravagant, extreme capitalism — call it Muskism — where stock prices are driven by earnings, and also by fantasies. Follow along on Twitter @ElonMuskPodcast.
From Pushkin Industries and BBC Radio 4. Pushkin Industries may use this feed in the future to debut new podcasts from our catalog. If you'd like to hear more from Jill Lepore, check out her podcast The Last Archive.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    The Evening Rocket: Robin Hood

    The Evening Rocket: Robin Hood

    At the start of 2021, Elon Musk briefly became the richest man in the world. The global pandemic was a boom time for American billionaires, many of whom saw their wealth rise even as much of the world was locked down. As Musk, Bezos, Gates and others jockeyed for first place in the world’s richest-man contest, the rise of cryptocurrencies was generating headlines about the fictive quality of money. “All forms of currency are acts of imagination”, says Jill Lepore: they require communal belief in their value - what economists sometimes call the Tinkerbell Effect. Musk started tweeting about Dogecoin - a cryptocurrency started as a joke, based on a meme about a dog - even dubbing himself 'The Dogefather'. Although Musk’s tweets looked ironic, jokey, irreverent, they seemed to be having a very real and destabilizing effect on financial markets.
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    • 29 min
    The Evening Rocket: Baby X

    The Evening Rocket: Baby X

    The science fiction that Silicon Valley techno-billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel adore often concerns gleaming futures in which fantastically powerful and often immensely rich men colonize other planets. In this episode, Jill Lepore takes a look at the science fiction that’s usually left out of this vision. New Wave, feminist, post-colonial science fiction. Including the story of Baby X, a story from the 1970s about a child - like Musk’s youngest son - named X.
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    • 29 min
    The Evening Rocket: Iron Man

    The Evening Rocket: Iron Man

    How Silicon Valley capitalism is as much about narrative as the bottom line. In 2008 when Tesla Motors launched their first car, the completely electric Roadster, Tesla was a great story. Something genuinely new. An engineering marvel. Elon Musk as CEO was an even better story. He had already disrupted banking and aerospace. Now the automobile industry. That same year, the superhero film Iron Man was released. Its creators turned to Musk to help shape this version of the character of Tony Stark, a billionaire arms dealer who believes everything is achievable through technology, and private enterprise. Musk was on the cover of countless magazines, under headlines like “Elon Musk AKA Tony Stark, Wants to Save the World.” He was becoming a celebrity, on a superhero scale.
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    • 29 min
    The Evening Rocket: Planet B

    The Evening Rocket: Planet B

    Why does Elon Musk believe he can save the world by colonizing Mars? When PayPal was bought for $1.5 billion, Elon Musk and other company founders made huge personal fortunes. Musk used his to start the rocket company, SpaceX. He also began talking about very big plans for the future of humanity. He wanted humans to become ‘a multi-planetary species’ and said he was accumulating resources to 'extend the light of consciousness to the stars’. Soon he was talking about humans moving permanently to Mars. Future-of-humanity questions used to belong to religion and philosophy. Under ‘Muskism’ they belong more to engineering and entrepreneurship. Jill Lepore traces the history of Silicon Valley's fascination with existential catastrophism. In the second of five programs, strap in to head to Mars.
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    • 29 min
    The Evening Rocket: Dimension X

    The Evening Rocket: Dimension X

    Jill Lepore untangles the strange sci-fi roots of Silicon Valley's extreme capitalism - with its extravagant, existential and extra-terrestrial plans to save humanity. In this world, stock prices can be driven partly by fantasies found in blockbuster superhero movies, but that come from science fiction, some of it a century old. If anyone personifies this phenomenon, it's Elon Musk, the richest or second-richest person in the world on any given day. "The bare facts of Musk’s life, the way they’re usually told, make him sound like a fictional character, a comic-book superhero," says Lepore. He says he hopes to colonize Mars, create brain-hacking implants and avert an AI apocalypse. He even has a baby named X. In this first of five episodes Lepore looks at the early origins of ‘Muskism’, and explores how the science fiction stories that today’s techno-billionaires grew up on have shaped Silicon Valley’s vision of the future.
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    • 31 min
    Introducing Elon Musk: The Evening Rocket

    Introducing Elon Musk: The Evening Rocket

    Coming November 1 from Pushkin Industries and the BBC
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    • 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
75 Ratings

75 Ratings

HVAC CXer ,

Fair and somewhat balanced

Ms Lepore generally covers the brand that is Musk. She covers the good briefly and the bad more extensively. She makes some tenuous ties to science fiction which is interesting but not necessarily truthful. I found some of the statements rather strained. Generally good though as it brings up things that Musk has said and done that are less optimal. Musks vision does seem to be limited by mot including the poor and marginalized. Hopefully he will broaden his vision to include the entire human race not just those that can afford to go to Mars.

Mujtaba Syed ,

Incredibly well researched

This podcast is very well researched and produced. It compellingly links the inspiration of rocketeer tech billionaires like Musk and Bezos to 1950s-era science fiction and pokes holes in their myopic vision of the future (occupy Mars, live in the Metaverse, AI for automation).

parishilton42069 ,

Really interesting!

Ignore the reviews from sad musk fanboys lol. This podcast isn’t even really about him as a person, it’s about the cultural figure.

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