Elon Musk - Walter Isaacson

Elon Musk

By Walter Isaacson

  • Release Date: 2023-09-12
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 1,436 Ratings


#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?


  • Excellent book

    By Hurricane Keith
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It certainly gave insight to who Elon Musk is, and how it has made him today. It shows certainly the good things that he has done, and also shows the bad. He certainly is an innovator and has his faults. I enjoyed this book and certainly suggest it to anyone who is interested.
  • Great read on an iconic forward thinker

    By dffyuytrc
    Elon needs no introduction. Gained a lot of insight into his persona and the way he thinks. This was excellent. Where will all this lead - only Elon knows for sure.
  • Well written and candid study of a fascinating man

    By AD-GJ
    Loved the in-depth insight. Shy of 5 stars because the conclusion felt trite and overly subjective in relation to the approach taken throughout the rest of the book.
  • Excellent read!

    By Ruben Hassell Jr.
  • Musk seems hard to comprehend, yet if anyone listens carefully, his Principles are clearly laid out.

    By |Bartacuss|
    This book is written by someone, from the wrong generation. All the amazement and disbelief about Musks behaviors and actions can be explained by a generational gap. Please let Ashlee Vance write another bio, that is fueled by the understanding of the generation, Gamers, New thinkers, the new Renaissance of those that know that an Optimistic Future of abundance is near. Those that see the old system needs to be overhauled, and that can do so by making superior products that become global bestsellers such as the Y-series. by Not understanding this gap, Walter does much more damage then good, by sketching a life that seems erratic and out of control. With this book, he misses the grand vision rolling out as we live, that transforms all Humanity through Musks vision.Listen more carefully, to the principles being laid out by Musk, and ignore the noise around it. There is a Power consortium trying to silence the new renaissance, one that will attempt to damage Tesla, and it is sad to see that this book is unintentionally contributing to that damage. Its a well researched book, but in my opinion does it paint a picture seen through the wrong lense. We are seeing a Rebel with a good cause. Why do we destroy our biggest Visionaries and leaders? The true biography, one that sets history books straight about Elon’s contributions, has yet to be written.
  • Highly recommended read of a complicated man

    By EricW2016
    A great read. I learned a lot about this complicated man. Walter Isaacson has crafted an amazing portrayal of Elon Musk, impressing on me that to understand another human you must, as the old phrase goes “walk a mile in his moccasins”. I feel that I’ve done that.
  • Isaacson has lost interest in writing. It's just typing at this point.

    By 2nd_responder
    Isaacson mailed this one in. Lots of words but no content. Absolutely nothing new. I think I'll go read something interesting.
  • Insightful

    By 07268482
    X-tra juicy 🧃🎢
  • Another gem from the world’s best biographer.

    By jdhdkdfd
    Very good. Up there with Steve Jobs book. Nice work!
  • Musk - I love me!

    By itsQuint
    He needs to get over himself and move on.