For many who have been taking note of Elon Musk for not less than the previous couple years, Walter Isaacson’s biography of the tech billionaire doesn’t really feel that stunning.
Isaacson’s biography “Elon Musk” does a superb job hammering residence the portrayal of the SpaceX founder and now proprietor of X — previously Twitter — as a visionary however mercurial determine who’s given to temper swings and self-destructive conduct.
It’s a well-known descriptor for Musk’s followers and detractors, however Isaacson’s biography nonetheless presents loads of revealing particulars concerning the tech mogul.
Within the opening pages of the e-book on Musk’s childhood, he’s described as somebody “not hardwired to have empathy,” a attribute that comes into play all through his work endeavors and private life.
What Isaacson doesn’t conclude is whether or not these traits are propelling Musk’s success or undoing it.
The Musk biography is a becoming addition to Isaacson’s works chronicling the lives of main figures in science and expertise, together with Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Jennifer Doudna and Steve Jobs.
As with these books, Isaacson deftly handles sophisticated issues like the event of electrical autos, rockets and synthetic intelligence whereas additionally deeply exploring Musk’s background and household.
By shadowing the billionaire over two years and thru interviews with Musk’s household and colleagues, Isaacson can be capable of present how Musk’s risk-taking may fit nicely in designing electrical automobiles and rockets however hasn’t match nicely with operating a social media platform.
Isaacson gives perception into how badly Musk misjudged his means to run Twitter and the implications of his missteps. He additionally presents his personal theories on why the billionaire needed to take over the social media platform. Partly, Isaacson writes, it was an opportunity for somebody who was overwhelmed up on the playground as a child to now personal “the final word playground.”
The e-book has already made headlines, together with Isaacson walking back his preliminary reporting within the e-book on Musk not permitting Ukraine to make use of Starlink web companies to launch a shock assault on Russian forces in Crimea. Isaacson’s e-book initially reported that Musk secretly informed his engineers to show off protection inside 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast as Ukraine was launching the assault. Isaacson has since posted on X the protection hadn’t been activated over Crimea.
The e-book has additionally gained consideration for beforehand undisclosed particulars about Musk’s household life. The information generated by Isaacson’s e-book underscores simply how a lot Musk’s legacy stays in flux and the problem any biographer faces in assessing it.
However essentially the most fascinating elements are early on, as Isaacson delves into Musk’s upbringing, notably his father. Musk’s father is portrayed within the e-book as a conspiracy-minded, verbally abusive Jekyll-and-Hyde determine. Musk’s concern that, as his mom places it, “he would possibly develop into his father,” is recognized early on as a specter and probably a driver of his success.