Soberly titled Elon Musk, Walter Isaacson's biography devoted to the powerful American tycoon risks spilling a little more ink on the name of the Tesla boss. Published on September 12 in the United States and then the next day in France, the book paints a cold portrait of a man with many dark sides, as reported in Le Monde. Thus, the reader can learn that Musk managed to prevent a major offensive by the Ukrainian army against the Russian fleet by cutting off access to its Starlink service in Crimea. Starlink is used by kyiv for its drones.
For two years, Isaacson followed the businessman, attending such important events as the launch of the Starship rocket or the takeover of Twitter but also more intimate moments such as the birth of several of the billionaire's children. Musk did not prevent the writing of a book that he never reread, offering the author the opportunity to question many of the members of his entourage. For good reason, Isaacson's work is quite recognized since he produced a similar biography for Steve Jobs in 2011.
The biography does not reveal much about Musk or his activities, and prefers to focus on the character. If the engineer appears voluntary, reckless and particularly focused on innovations, the human part seems much more questionable. In the six hundred pages of the story, the author recounts the violent outbursts of anger of the native of Pretoria (South Africa), who never hesitated to violently dismiss his employees.
This dark side even applies to his own family. When the Kimbal restaurant chain, owned by his brother, came dangerously close to bankruptcy in 2018, the billionaire said: “I asked the guy who manages my finances to take a look, and your restaurants are in trouble . I think they should die. »
Walter Isaacson dug into the deep psyche of the entrepreneur to understand how such a tough personality could be built. And the sources are multiple. As a child abused by a violent and manipulative father, but also by his school friends in South Africa, Musk kept within him the scars of a difficult start to life. Suffering – according to him – from Asperger's syndrome, the boss of X (ex-Twitter) is also bipolar, according to those around him.
In around twenty years, Elon Musk has compiled a list of enemies, whether among his colleagues, his friends, his family or his romantic conquests. But like the biographer, who describes the engineer as an immensely talented entrepreneur, his rivals do not see in him a totally deceitful and diabolical being.
Yoel Roth, former head of security at space, renewable energy, freedom of expression… An ethical and moral universe has been built which has the sole aim of achieving these great objectives. This makes it harder to see him as a big bad. » Even a biography of 600 pages will not have succeeded in disseminating the parts of a man with a personality as rich as his bank account.