A new biography of Elon Musk portrays the billionaire entrepreneur as a complex, tortured man whose genius as a humanitarian often clashed with those around him – his wives, his children and those he relied on for help. Hides because of the inability to join the level. Space exploration and electric car businesses made him the richest man on Earth.
new biography of Elon Musk
Mr. Musk’s life so far — his difficult childhood in South Africa, his stormy romantic relationships, his success as the visionary who built SpaceX and Tesla, and his quick decision to buy Twitter — through numerous interviews with his family, friends is wider than business partners and Mr. Musk himself.
The book, which will be released on Tuesday, is written by journalist Walter Isaacson, whose previous works have chronicled the lives of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin.
It begins with a quote from Apple co-founder Mr. Jobs, who once said, “Only people crazy enough to think they can change the world do.”
The New York Times purchased copies of the book from a retail store that was selling it before its official release.
Twitter, now known as X – biography of Elon Musk
mr musk bought twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, following a surprise bid for the company and then reluctance to complete the deal.
Days after Twitter’s board approved the deal, Mr Musk told his four teenage sons that he had bought the social network to influence the next US presidential election. “Otherwise how are we going to get Trump elected in 2024?” He said. (It was a joke, Mr. Isaacson writes, but Mr. Musk’s sons still don’t understand his reasoning for buying Twitter, an app he rarely used.)
After acquiring Twitter, Mr. Isaacson writes, Mr. Musk and his colleagues scrutinized its employees’ internal communications and social media posts, looking for signs of betrayal. The “Musketeers,” as Musk loyalists were known inside Twitter, searched Twitter’s Slack archives for keywords including “Elon,” and fired dozens of employees who had made disparaging comments about Mr. Musk.
There was a sudden raid on a Twitter data facility in Sacramento, California, last winter shortly after Mr Musk acquired the company. Mr Musk had decided to move servers housed at the facility to another Twitter data center to cut costs, but Twitter infrastructure leaders warned him it would take months to safely move the expensive equipment. Can Furious, Mr Musk made the decision to move the servers himself, and enlisted a small team and a swarm of moving vans to haul them away on Christmas Eve. (He later said he regretted his decision, which caused the service to be disrupted.)
Mr. Isaacson writes Mr. Musk’s sprawling family has been a source of comfort amid the constant turmoil of his industry-wide business interests. But his relationship with his father Errol is a source of trauma that remains with him.
Mr Musk’s father has been described as emotionally and physically abusive and has been quoted as saying derogatory things about black people. When Mr. Musk agreed to meet his father, from whom he had been largely estranged, in 2016, a friend recalled Mr. Isaacson saying, “It was the only time I saw Elon’s hands move.” ” Mr. Isaacson writes, “There are some who occupy a monster corner of Musk’s head space. They inflame him, blacken him, and arouse cold anger. His father is number one.”
While musician Grimes, also known as Claire Boucher, was giving birth to their son X in May 2020, Mr Musk took a photo of the delivery and shared it with his friends and family, including his father and Brother was also involved. “Grimes was naturally horrified and upset to have it removed. “He had no idea why I would be upset,” she told Mr. Isaacson.
politics and trump
Mr. Musk’s politics defy simple categorization. Despite his attacks on liberal critics, his ravings against “woke” Democrats, and his promotion of occasional far-right conspiracy theories, he has been portrayed as more disillusioned with the leftist leanings of the Democratic Party than an admirer of Republicans. Has gone.
Mr. Musk has repeatedly criticized former President Donald J. Claims not to be a Trump fan, tells his biographer, “I am not a Trump fan. He is disruptive.” Mr. Isaacson writes that Mr. Musk holds a “deep disdain” for the former president “whom he considered a swindler” and seemed, Mr. Musk says, “kind of crazy.”
But neither is he a Biden supporter, although he tells Mr Isaacson that if he had voted, he would have voted for Mr Biden in 2020. (He chose not to vote because he was registered in California and considered it a waste because the state was not competitive in the presidential election.) Mr. Musk described an encounter with Mr. Biden several years ago in which he was impressed Had come. “When he was vice president, I went to lunch with him in San Francisco, where he flew a drone for an hour and it was insanely boring, like one of those dolls where you pull the string and it just Speaks the same mindless phrase over and over.”
Mr Musk has long been concerned about artificial intelligence, which he views as a potential existential threat. He was a co-founder of OpenAI before parting ways with the organization in 2018, and recently announced that Formation of a rival AI company, X.AI,
Mr. Musk called Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, to a meeting at Twitter’s headquarters in February 2023, shortly after ChatGPT was released. Mr. Musk angrily asked Mr. Altman to “explain how he can legally turn a non-profit funded by donations into a profit that can make millions.” Mr. Isaacson writes that Mr. Altman was “saddened” by the encounter.
Mr. Musk’s decision to launch X.AI came partly because of concerns about underpopulation. (He is the father of 10 children.) “The amount of human intelligence, he said, was decreasing because people were not having enough children. Meanwhile, the amount of computer intelligence was increasing rapidly,” writes Mr. Isaacson. Mr. Musk believed that “at some point, biological brainpower will be dwarfed by digital brainpower.”
Mr. Musk gave X.AI’s early employees three goals: to create an AI chatbot capable of writing code, an AI chatbot trained to be politically neutral, and an artificial intelligence that could reason and pursue the truth. “You should be able to give it big tasks, like ‘build a better rocket engine,'” Mr Musk told Mr Isaacson.
Elon and Media
Mr. Musk’s relationship with the media, which was already tense before he bought Twitter, reached new levels of tension after the deal was announced.
“Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David encountered Elon Musk at the 2022 wedding of Ari Emanuel, chief executive of Hollywood talent agency Endeavor, who seated him at the same table. “Do you just want to murder kids in schools?” Mr David asked Mr Musk about his support of Republican candidates in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students dead. According to Mr. Isaacson, Mr. Musk replied, “No, no.” “I am against the killing of children.” Mr. Emanuel also seated MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, another Musk critic, at the same table. “It ended up being a microcosm of Twitter,” Mr. Isaacson wrote.
As Mr. Musk’s erratic tweets damaged Twitter’s relationship with advertisers, he sought advice from bold names in the media industry on how to fix the rift. One was David Zaslav, chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studios and CNN. They talked for more than an hour. “Zaslav told him he was doing self-destructive things that made it harder to attract brands that were ambitious. They should focus on improving the product by adding longer video offerings and making ads more effective.
For years, Tesla has been the highest-profile business in Mr Musk’s portfolio of companies, serving as a constant source of pride and tension.
The company’s early struggles contributed to a long, difficult period for Mr. Musk that took a toll physically and mentally, he told Mr. Isaacson in a 2021 interview. “You can’t be in a constant struggle for survival, you can’t always be in adrenaline mode, and it won’t hurt you,” Mr Musk said. But he also admitted that he found purpose under pressure: “It’s not so easy to be motivated every day when you’re not in a live-or-die situation.”
Even though the company found success, it attracted critics in the form of short-sellers who bet against Tesla’s stock. that practice reached a fever pitch in 2018 As Tesla struggled to meet production targets, that angered Mr Musk, who called short-sellers “leeches on the neck of the business”. But he acknowledged that some of those traders had gathered an impressively accurate picture of the company from insiders and even from drones flying over Tesla’s factory. “The amount of inside information they had was insane,” he said.
The production pace and struggles at Tesla and the space exploration company SpaceX also sharpened Mr Musk’s philosophy, which he transformed into a five-step approach he called an “algorithm” and which he repeatedly applied to employees. This includes, in order: questioning requirements, removing parts or processes, simplification and optimization, accelerating processes, and finally, automating. “I became a broken record on the algorithm,” Mr. Musk told Mr. Isakson.
Mr Musk created SpaceX to help humanity become a multi-planetary species. The company’s success so far can be attributed to their willingness to accept risks, sometimes successfully and sometimes not.
During the countdown to an important launch in 2015, an unknown liquid began dripping from the Falcon 9 rocket, scaring Mark Jankossa, a top SpaceX executive. Mr Musk deliberated briefly before deciding to proceed, resulting in a successful launch. At the time, Mr Juncosa assumed Mr Musk had based that decision on a complex risk assessment, but after reviewing the footage years later he realized he was wrong. “I thought he did some complicated quick calculations to decide what to do, but really he just shrugged his shoulders and gave the order,” Mr. Juncos said of Mr. Musk. “He had an intuition for what physics was all about.”
To achieve interplanetary flight in the future, SpaceX needed to find a way to make money in the present. So in 2015, Mr. Musk announced Starlink, which wanted to enter the lucrative market of providing Internet service, in this case through a constellation of low-orbit satellites. This service has become a vital lifeline for people in war zones helped the Ukrainian army Protection from Russian invasion. But Mr Musk has also been criticized Not allowing Ukraine to use the service Last year there were fears launching a drone attack on a Russian naval base could provoke a major escalation of the war. “We didn’t want to be a part of this,” Mr. Musk said.
In 2021, SpaceX successfully sent a crew into orbit for the first time without a professional astronaut, Next, Mr. Musk reflected on the role he and his company have played in advancing space exploration. “Mass-market electric cars were inevitable,” he said. “It would have happened without me. But becoming a space-faring civilization is not inevitable. He added, “This flight was a great example of how progress requires human agency.”