#1 New York Times bestseller
From the author of Steve Jobs and other bestselling biographies, this is the astonishingly intimate story of the most fascinating and controversial innovator of our era—a rule-breaking visionary who helped to lead the world into the era of electric vehicles, private space exploration, and artificial intelligence. Oh, and took over Twitter.
When Elon Musk was a kid in South Africa, he was regularly beaten by bullies. One day a group pushed him down some concrete steps and kicked him until his face was a swollen ball of flesh. He was in the hospital for a week. But the physical scars were minor compared to the emotional ones inflicted by his father, an engineer, rogue, and charismatic fantasist.
His father’s impact on his psyche would linger. He developed into a tough yet vulnerable man-child, prone to abrupt Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings, with an exceedingly high tolerance for risk, a craving for drama, an epic sense of mission, and a maniacal intensity that was callous and at times destructive.
At the beginning of 2022—after a year marked by SpaceX launching thirty-one rockets into orbit, Tesla selling a million cars, and him becoming the richest man on earth—Musk spoke ruefully about his compulsion to stir up dramas. “I need to shift my mindset away from being in crisis mode, which it has been for about fourteen years now, or arguably most of my life,” he said.
It was a wistful comment, not a New Year’s resolution. Even as he said it, he was secretly buying up shares of Twitter, the world’s ultimate playground. Over the years, whenever he was in a dark place, his mind went back to being bullied on the playground. Now he had the chance to own the playground.
For two years, Isaacson shadowed Musk, attended his meetings, walked his factories with him, and spent hours interviewing him, his family, friends, coworkers, and adversaries. The result is the revealing inside story, filled with amazing tales of triumphs and turmoil, that addresses the question: are the demons that drive Musk also what it takes to drive innovation and progress?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
As one of the richest people on the planet, Elon Musk has a unique place in history, and Walter Isaacson’s illuminating biography examines the polarizing figure. Isaacson, who was granted unfiltered access to Musk for two years, charts the tech billionaire’s meteoric rise, from his South African childhood, which was dominated by his emotionally abusive father, to his experiences in Silicon Valley with PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. The sections about Musk’s impulsive takeover of social media platform Twitter offer the most piercing insight into how the billionaire operates, for better or worse, and there are newsworthy reveals, too, like his satellite company’s role in the Russia-Ukraine war. Elon Musk is a fascinating read no matter your opinion of its subject.
Reckless ambition, ruthless drive, and psychic demons swaddle the soul of a wounded child in this sweeping biography of the celebrated industrialist. Biographer Isaacson (Steve Jobs) paints Musk as a tech visionary who wants to colonize Mars with his rocket company SpaceX, decarbonize transportation with his Tesla electric cars, and guarantee freedom of speech on the internet (as long as said speech doesn't personally offend him) by buying Twitter. He portrays Musk as an innovator who embraced risk-taking both for better (he replaced a standard, $3-million cooling system on his rockets with a commercial home air-conditioning system costing $6,000) and worse (his decision to leave out a part designed to keep fuel from sloshing caused a rocket to explode in mid-flight). Musk is a callous, volatile boss, raging at underlings and forcing them to work round-the-clock. ("You have ninety days to do it. If you can't make that work, your resignation is accepted" went a typical pep talk.) And he's a monumental head case—as a boy, a loner abused by his father and beaten bloody by bullies; as a man, a manic-depressive drawn to chaos in business, romance, and any number of ill-considered Tweets. Isaacson shadowed Musk for two years and conjures a richly detailed, evocative portrait that nails his impulsive personality. The result is an illuminating study that demonstrates why Musk is the most captivating of today's plutocrats.
One of a kind
Love him or hate him, you’ll always be entertained, informed, or annoyed by him. I find myself fascinated by him - and trying to figure out why he does all the things he does - so many successful businesses, and what is his ultimate purpose after everything is said and done - this book gives some hints, and maybe help you understand Elon a little better. The biographer has done another amazing job, just as he did with Jobs and Franklin. I recommend this book highly. It truly makes you think and isn’t that every book should do?
Another monumental masterpiece.
Musk will be the most significant living thing to have ever existed. Taking life to another planet, saving our ecosystem and defeating the woke mind virus. Absolute masterpiece showcasing his constant hard work and decades of sacrifices for others
3 days read
Plowed through, Finished the book this morning, fascinating read/listen. Perception was spot on and it makes complete sense but not the greatest company culture. Would hate to be the successor after him. I haven’t been able to get thru a book this thick ever; 688 pages/24 hours of listening time