How reading fantasy books helped Elon Musk to strive for the stars.


It is often said that fantasy in children’s’ books offers a safe place to rehearse for the great big adventure of adult life

South African born inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk, who founded Paypal, and is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, was recently asked how he learned to build rockets. The questioner wanted to know how Musk, Stanford University’s most famous dropout, had made it into to the entrepreneurial stratosphere.

Musk’s answer?  Three words, ‘I read books.’

And guess what his favorite genre is? Fantasy. Bullied as a child Musk, would retreat into the world of hobbits, elven kings and precious gold rings. You guessed it, the fantasy world created by J.R.R Tolkien was his means of escape.

Tolkien’s fantastical world, and those of others writers—he cites Isaac Asimov as another favorite–was where Musk learned about heroes and came to understand the hero’s journey. He references this discovery as crucial to leaning rocket science in the lead-up to the launch of SpaceX.

Fantasy fiction was where Musk learned about heroes who strove selflessly to save their worlds. Their adventures inspired him.

The paradox of fantasy literature is that it can be a great escape and also offer alternatives to ‘how to be’ in the world of the here and now. This latter benefit is arguably a greater one because it allows the child-reader to imagine different ways of looking at their world; they will often identify with the protagonist who will become a sort of ‘model’ for them; offering different ways of solving problems.

Fantasy is also a safe place from where to explore the world and its wider realities.

We know that imagination is crucial to problem-solving. By using them, we can make connections between disparate things and events. Metaphor is used widely in fantasy literature to allude to what can be difficult real-world situations; this allows for ‘joining of the dots’ or ‘filling in the gaps’ between knowledge and experience. Pretending is fun but it can also be a great way to rehearse for the big adventure that is adult life.

If you are looking for a great fantasy read for your children, you won’t want to overlook The Legend of the Lost Rose: An Interactive Fairy Tale for Teens ages 9-12+: A Premiere Fantasy (The Legend of Series) by Daniel L Rappaport (Author), Patricia Gresham (Illustrator).

The Legend of the Lost Rose centers on main character, Spark who just happens to be a frog. Spark’s reaction to his dying world is to withdraw into his art and he paints a different reality. His beautiful creations come alive, literally—this is an interactive fantasy after all. Unfortunately, the reality of the dying world crashes into his fantasy world as the natural environment becomes more and more degraded. Food becomes scarce and the malevolent dragon-like creature Apovil turns his evil-eye on Spark.

Spark seeks solace from the wise fairy Iris Buttergrow. This is where Spark’s hero’s journey begins. Iris gives him the task of saving a beautiful rose who has escaped to a hilltop in a vain effort to avoid destruction. On his way, Spark must face the reality of what is happening to his world—the degraded and abused land is bare and bleak. He resolves to find a way to restore life, beauty and meaning to the world. His weapons are his intelligence, resourcefulness, commitment, creative imagination, and, of course, the rare and wonderful blue pixie dust!

This is a beautifully written fable that speaks to the challenges our planet, and us, face today. Like Spark, it is our children who will bear the brunt of greed and the failure to avoid destruction of the very eco-system which sustains us. This is the hero’s journey for the twenty-first century.

Rappaport has crafted a fine story that takes our hero out of his small world to confront the challenges that we all must confront. Gresham has created beautiful images that bring both the devastation and the beauty alive. There is an option to purchase the beautiful artwork that is incorporated into the story, and a song right at the beginning is a delightful touch that really sets the scene.

Praise for The Legend of the Rose

“Wow! What a fantastic magical world I discovered in this amazing story by Daniel Rappaport. I loved the description of all the worlds and Spark was such a lovable character. What an exciting story with themes of love and cooperation. I definitely recommend this story that is soon to be a classic.” Wade Hawkins, Amazon Reviewer

“It’s nice to read a fantasy story that’s a little more for the modern ages but still keeps the magic that our child-like selves hold onto. The Legend of the Lost Rose is fun and cute but doesn’t play down some of the more layered elements of acceptance and inner strength. Definitely an enjoyable read for anyone who’s a fan of fantasy and the imagination.” Michelle Morgan, Amazon Reviewer

“I would recommend The Legend of the Lost Rose because it is an easy read. The book is filled with surprises. It hits every creative angle possible. The interactive pictures were an awesome feature. As an adult I loved the option to be able to purchase the artwork shown throughout the book. The song was a nice surprise and it gives you an option to set the scene before you begin reading. If you have creative children it would give them an option to tell the story in their eyes before reading to see what happens. All in all, it was a magical experience.” Anesha, Amazon Reviewer

To read a free preview on Amazon click The Legend of the Lost Rose

The Legend of the Lost Rose is also available on iTunes and you can find out more about Spark the Flying Frog and The Legend of the Lost Rose at

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