With exceptionally strong leadership skills, brilliant ideas, and the audacity to pursue them, Elon Musk personifies innovation. The famed entrepreneur has taken on electric sports cars, solar power, and space travel all at once--a risk well taken judging by the success of all his businesses. Below, check out five quotes by Musk on key topics surrounding his never-ending quest for the next great advancement.

1. On risk:

"When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' That was a huge bet he made, and it worked." --April 22, 2003, speaking to The Los Angeles Times

2. On branding:

"Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product." --Dec. 24, 2010, The Silicon Valley Business Journal

3. On growth:

"I only own 30 percent of the company. They can fire me if they want. I've got nothing against profit, I don't think it's an evil word. But if we have a choice between short-term profit and scaling the business, the latter makes much more sense." --November 25, 2014, GQ

4. On learning:

"It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree--make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details, or there is nothing for them to hang on to." --March 5, 2015, in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything"

5. On humanity:

"It's funny. Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth's surface. They say things like, 'Nature is so wonderful; things are always better in the countryside where there are no people around.' They imply that humanity and civilization are less good than their absence. But I'm not in that school. I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future." --September 30, 2014, Aeon magazine

Published on: Mar 20, 2015