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The Space Barons

Written by: Christian Davenport
Narrated by: Will Collyer
Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The historic quest to rekindle the human exploration and colonization of space led by two rivals and their vast fortunes, egos, and visions of space as the next entrepreneurial frontier

The Space Barons is the story of a group of billionaire entrepreneurs who are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program. Nearly a half century after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, these Space Barons - most notably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen - are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel and send humans even further than NASA has gone. These entrepreneurs have founded some of the biggest brands in the world - Amazon, Microsoft, Virgin, Tesla, PayPal - and upended industry after industry. Now they are pursuing the biggest disruption of all: space.

Based on years of reporting and exclusive interviews with all four billionaires, this authoritative account is a dramatic tale of risk and high adventure, the birth of a new Space Age, fueled by some of the world's richest men as they struggle to end governments' monopoly on the cosmos. The Space Barons is also a story of rivalry - hard-charging startups warring with established contractors, and the personal clashes of the leaders of this new space movement, particularly Musk and Bezos, as they aim for the moon and Mars and beyond. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio. 

©2018 Christian Davenport (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"A must-read. A compelling account of how today's self-made tycoons are driven to change our world and our relationship with outer space. This is distinctly an American story, nowhere but America could these Space Barons rise, thrive, and succeed. Follow their journey into the future." (Dr. Mark Albrecht, executive secretary of the National Space Council under President George H. W. Bush and author of Falling Back to Earth: A First Hand Account of the Great Space Race and the End of the Cold War)

"Readers will thrill at this lucid, detailed, and admiring account of wealthy space buffs who are spending their own money, making headlines, producing genuine technical advances, and resurrecting the yearning to explore the cosmos." (Kirkus)

"Starting with a blank canvas, Christian Davenport has painted a comprehensive portrait of some of the most influential leaders in commercial space, and indeed of the industry itself. Well-researched and entertaining, The Space Barons gives both a rich texture to the beginnings and a tantalizing outline of the future of commercial human space travel." (Michael Lopez-Alegria, former NASA astronaut, past president of the Commercial Space Flight Federation, and principal, MLA Space, LLC)

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What listeners say about The Space Barons

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Fascinating insight

A fantastic look inside the privatization of space and the “barons” leading the charge. Well worth the read/listen and the narrator did a great job. Highly recommend for anyone interested at all in the future of mankind in the cosmos.

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Excellent Book, Excellent Performance

Great summary of the events to date of the new Space Race. Great performance as well!

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  • Greg Autry
  • 2018-04-06

An Incredible Modern Story Well Told

The book we've all been waiting for. I've been deeply engaged in this industry since the start of the incredible story that Davenport tells and I can say that this is the most comprehensive and professional treatment of the commercial spaceflight revolution to date. The author is a professional reporter and a fine wordsmith who understands his context and characters. He weaves a tale of adventure, excess and excitement on the final frontier that will keep even non-space cadets enthralled. This is a character based study and is not particularly distracted by the technologies or the data. You won't find the seconds of ISP rating on the latest SpaceX second stage engine configuration or the coefficient of drag on Virgin's VSS Unity. What Davenport does in nail the big personalities and unusual motivations that drive this generations boldest entrepreneurs to go where none have gone before.

The narration is also excellent. Collyer conveys the tension and enthusiasm of the story without distraction. He gets the names and technical pronunciations correct as well (a thing that always bugs me in tech books).

"Space Barrons" is a great summer read for anyone but it is a must-listen for any aspiring Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson or Elon Musk. I hope they all download it and are motivated to do impossibly great things someday, themselves.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 2018-09-17

Boring Book on Exciting Topic

This book was 2-3 times longer than it needed to be, which means too much filler and an overall boring experience. Bummer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Ruff
  • 2020-08-28

A background on modern space ventures

Interesting text on the space ventures of Musk, Besos, and Branson. A bit repetitive though.

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  • Moi
  • 2020-05-28

Great

Well-document content with a good reader making the whole a captivating audiobook! Highly recommended.

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  • Bill S
  • 2020-05-07

Great book, well written, good narator

This is a great book on the trials and tribulations the private sector has faced building rockets. Mostly about Musk, Bezos, Branson and some others.

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  • Dave Stewart
  • 2020-05-07

Loved it

A great history of the private space business sector. I definitely recommend. Have it read at 1.35x

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  • AR
  • 2020-03-29

Book has good summary but lacks more in depth research

Book provides a good brief summary of space companies and challenges it faced. This book lacks more research, work into future. Most of events mentioned in the book would be known to someone who followed space news or social media. Nonetheless a great book for someone to understand about emergence of private industries. It would be exciting to see what lies ahead in space entrepreneurship where only national governments have been a player so far.

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  • Jessica Altman -Pollack
  • 2020-03-09

Very informative and educational in a fun way!

Very cool book. It was extremely insightful on where #spacetravel is and where it is going. The wonderful thing is, that private sector dreamers like (Bezos, Branson and Musk) are reigniting the possibilities of going to space. Making it affordable, reusable and fun! Breaking through the heavily regulated and controlling government monopoly and cost waste. These folks are building, engineering, and doing. Fabulous Disruption! They use any failures as a key ingredient to learning, by building it better. You want that continuous experimentation and deployment. We are are SO far behind in this area, it’s great to see it being pursued so passionately. #julesverne and #hgwells I think would be happy about this.

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  • Dan
  • 2020-01-11

what a great book

loved it the book had great detail in background from many of the pioneers. It kept my attention the whole way through.

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  • Kelley Nelsen
  • 2019-09-09

Groundbreaking & Riveting!!

If you love space history you'll love this book! It's unquestionably, an amazing story of personalities entrepreneurship,and battling for positive change in the modern day race to space! I like the way the author juxtaposed the major players, Jeff Bezos, Charles Branson, and Elon Musk in a highly charged struggle for 1st place in the privitazation of space travel and launch operations. Each man had different goals, and styles of leadership, but what a drama! I thoroughly enjoyed this book! One item I found unnecessary was the few, but occasional use of expletives and so I would not let my young sons listen to it. (The author could have used abbreviations here. WTF, etc. ) That being said, the reader does a phenomenal job of voicing the unfolding drama and is easy to listen to even sounding as much like Charles Branson as if the man were talking to you himself! Great stuff!