The Space Barons

Narrated by: Will Collyer
Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (725 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

Critic Reviews

"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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    5 out of 5 stars

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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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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Great

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

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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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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
  • 03-29-20

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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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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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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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!

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a great intro to the modern space race

I loved learning about the commercialization of space, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

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  • 801_freddy
  • 02-19-20

The billionaire’s space race

A little repetitive in parts but generally a good overview of the private space sector and battle between Musk, Bezos and Branson for the colonisation of celestial bodies (yet not taking into account any UNOOSA policies).

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  • Matt
  • 03-06-19

Excellent

I’m a huge space fan and found this an interesting listen.

If you’ve been following the space barons for a while non of the material will be new to you, however it’s still worth a listen. It gave more background on Bezos than I knew, so it was worth the purchase purely for that.

Bring on the BFR and New Armstrong!

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  • Sunil Lalvani
  • 09-12-18

Outstanding and inspiring

A well written book about 2 outstanding characters of our time and their drive and vision to take humanity into space.
Well written and well narrated makes this an easy listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-17-18

great book, really interesting.

very interesting to learn how the rocket billionaires started out and come to start in rocketry overcoming all obstacles put in their way.

well read and kept me interested.

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  • MR N H O'BRIEN
  • 08-03-18

Excellent book

This book is interesting all the way through and a fascinating insight into the new space race.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-18

inspiring

well worth the read (or listen) , very good narration in audiobook.
truly inspiring story of man's quest to venture in space.

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  • R. Mathieson
  • 04-21-18

Incredible story

My first ever Audio book and I couldn’t stop listening. This is truly and adventure that everyone can feel part of, even if it led by billionaires. What has been achieved in such a period of time is amazing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-23-18

Capturing the essence of modern space race

Lots of detailed content that many don't have access to. The whole tone of the book greatly captures the exciting space race of the modern times. The book itself skillfully jumps between the few space barons in their initial years and converge into one single narrative. Absolute gem!

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  • Jack mulligan
  • 04-09-18

good chronological article

a chronology of everything you can see on youtube. worth the read if you have nothing else to do

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-23-18

Looking out

Head down and plough through the line.
Good times ahead for the hard work. .