2022.07.05 インタビュー

ラダーシリーズ執筆者 トム・クリスティアン氏インタビュー

ラダーシリーズ著者インタビュー|トム・クリスティアン-Tom Christian-









もう一つ楽しい点は、その人物に関するバランスの取れた全体像を描くことです。テクノロジー企業の起業家をヒーローとして賞賛する傾向があるので、より批判的な視点から書かれた人物紹介を探す必要があります。例えば、経験豊富な自動車ジャーナリストであるEdwardNiedermeyer氏の著書『Ludicrous:The Unvarnished Story of TeslaMotors』は、マスク氏に関する他の本などと比べると、マスク氏自身、そしてテスラ社の車の性能に関するマスク氏の大げさな主張に、より批判的な目を向けています。










The Business of Writing Ladder Books

Tokyo-based Englishman Tom Christian has written several books in IBC’s Ladder Series. The most recent is The Elon Musk Story, which came out in February 2022. What are the challenges and rewards of writing readers about modern- day business titans?

Which books in the Ladder Series have you written?

I’ve done five in total. Four of them are about the biggest names in Silicon Valley: Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X. The fifth was about John Lennon.

Does writing about the tech industry have any special challenges?

The biggest issue is the sheer speed of change. For instance, I finished The Elon Musk Story in December 2021. At that point, the Tesla stock price was at well over one thousand dollars, the company itself was worth more than a trillion dollars and the Tesla factory in Shanghai was producing thousands of cars. Now, just six months later, the Tesla stock price has halved, the Shanghai factory is shut because of Covid and Musk is trying to buy Twitter! There have been all sorts of big developments in a very short time. Elon Musk’s story is still very much a work in progress!

What’s the most enjoyable aspect of writing about Silicon Valley?

One thing that’s fun is the way so much information is available online. Elon Musk, in particular, has lived his whole life on the Internet. You can find the videos of all his Tesla product launches, the CNN clip of him taking delivery of a McClaren after selling his first company in the late 1990s, and all his silly and provocative tweets. The primary sources are there for everyone to see. This is less true with the older generation of tech entrepreneurs. When Steve Jobs launched Apple in the mid-1970s, the Internet wasn’t around yet, so there’s much less information—press releases, product launches, interviews, podcasts—easily available.

The other thing that’s fun is trying to paint a balanced picture of the person. There is an awful lot of hero-worshipping of tech entrepreneurs, so you need to hunt down biographies that are more critical of their subject. For example, Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors, a book written by Edward Niedermeyer, a very experienced auto journalist, is much more critical of Musk and some of his exaggerated claims about what his cars can do than most other sources.

Do you have any background in business yourself?

Yes, I work in PR and advertising for plenty of Japanese companies from watch makers to trading companies. Recently, I’ve been writing quite a lot of articles for their websites as they try to humanize themselves through corporate storytelling.

What about language education?

I studied Latin and Greek at university then, after graduating, I started learning Japanese in Tokyo while teaching English in the afternoons. I’ve written several quite successful books for learning Japanese, one of which is used at universities in the United States. Reading texts about news and current affairs is always a practical and enjoyable way to learn a language. In that respect, I think the Ladder Series is a fantastic way to learn English.

How would you like to see the Ladder Series used?

I’d like to see the series being used more at schools and universities and inside companies in particular. These stories about real-world entrepreneurs are a good way to get a grasp of business English. Over the next few months, we are hoping to create listening and comprehension tests based around the books which we will put up on IBC’s website as a free learning resource.

Have you got any more books in the pipeline for the series?

I just completed a Q&A about London, my native city, for IBC. It will be published as a bilingual book. In the Ladder Series, I have been asked to write a book on the life of Agatha Christie, the mystery novelist, but I have not started it yet.

Interviewed June 20, 2022



[第2弾]ラダーシリーズ執筆者 トム・クリスティアン氏インタビュー

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2022.09.15 インタビュー