Elon Musk

Walter Isaacson

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. more

BiographyNonfictionBusinessTechnologyAudiobookHistoryBiography MemoirMemoirScienceLeadership

688 pages, Hardcover
First published Simon & Schuster

4.42

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30826

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2996

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Walter Isaacson

100 books 18378 followers

Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of 'Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu and on Twitter at @WalterIsaacson

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Emily May
2036 reviews
309894 followers
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Walter Isaacson really is a fantastic biographer. It also helps that the material he is working with here is fascinating. there's no denying that Elon Musk has had a very interesting life and is himself quite unlike any other human. Though often not in a good way. We start this book in his childhood in South Africa and follow him through his difficulties with his father, his move to the United States, and several tumultuous businesses and relationships. more


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Marquise
1791 reviews
857 followers
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For a biography, this read like a series of vignettes written for Popular Mechanics and Vanity Fair at the same time, and submitted whilst the editor was taking a nap. Isaacson’s reputation as a biographer preceded him, I had seen an interview he gave where he talked about this book extolling how much he worked to present a fair and balanced narrative about the life of controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk, saying he’d followed him for two years and set up a hard condition that he’d have access to everything so he could tell all the good, the bad, and the ugly without Musk having a say in the final published product. It seemed refreshingly honest, conveying an image of a spunky writer looking for the truth and willing to get down and dirty to show the life of a world-changing billionaire as is, no sugarcoating and no punches pulled. We’d finally see the true Musk without the mask of public performance on, as he truly is in private. Who could resist that promise of unvarnished honesty. more


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Coulson Liu
1 reviews
48 followers
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I am the translator of the Chinese edition of this book, and it is expected to be published simultaneously with the English edition. I am fortunate to have finished reading this work before 99. 9999% of readers worldwide. I must say that this book is very thorough in its investigation, follow-up interviews, and information comparison, regarding a contemporary technology entrepreneur. Its depth of interviews is unparalleled in most successful entrepreneur biographies. more


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John
6 reviews
7 followers
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I haven't read the book yet, and I am not a fan of Musk. But I find it strange that there are several 1-star ratings for a book which hasn't been published yet. A book by Walter Isaacson for goodness sakes. . more


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Erin
1340 reviews
1326 followers
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Oh My God. I'm finally done. I don't like Elon Musk. I don't think that's a surprise, I'm Black, a Leftist and a woman so the feeling is mutual. I had never even heard of Elon Musk before he appeared on The Simpsons. more


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Liong
178 reviews
177 followers
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Walter Isaacson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, spent two years shadowing Elon Musk and conducted interviews with hundreds of people who know Musk, including family members, friends, employees, and competitors. Elon Musk was a bookworm as a child. He read a lot of science fiction books. He likes to play strategy games such as Civilization, Warcraft, Humans, and Polytopia. I like to play Civilization too. more


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Jos
531 reviews
73 followers
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My hatred for Elon Musk is great, but not greater than my love for gossip. more


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Ian
811 reviews
63 followers
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Originally I thought I would start this review by saying I wasn’t a huge fan of Elon Musk - not that he’ll lose any sleep over that of course - but that I was interested in reading a biography of one of the most influential people in the world. I was about a third of the way through the book when Musk publicly endorsed a tweet promoting a horrible antisemitic conspiracy theory. He later apologised and said that it was “the dumbest thing he ever posted”. The incident was however typical of Musk’s tendency to blurt out whatever thoughts happen to cross his mind at a particular moment. One of my reasons for choosing this book was that I had read the author’s biography of Steve Jobs, and had been hugely impressed. more


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Mark Donovan
332 reviews
13 followers
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As someone who immensely enjoyed Walter Isaacson's biographies on Leonardo da Vinci, Jennifer Doudna, Jobs, Kissinger, Franklin, I was eager to dive into his latest work on Elon Musk. Isaacson's capability to produce such in-depth accounts back-to-back, especially in the wake of a global pandemic, is truly commendable. This biography isn't just another account of a tech mogul's journey; it provides an intimate, unfiltered look into the mind of one of the most polarizing figures of our time, even for readers like me who aren't ardent Elon Musk fans. Isaacson's storytelling prowess shines through as he logically structures the narrative into two distinct yet intertwined facets: an updated account of Musk's life and a close-up look into his daily activities and decision-making processes. The first 60% of the book provides an updated account of Musk's life and accomplishments, seamlessly picking up where Ashlee Vance's book left off. more


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Malia
883 reviews
610 followers
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I am torn how to rate this book. It's a four star read for writing and research and decidedly less for how much I connected with the subject matter. Musk is an interesting guy, no doubt, in many aspects, he is likely a genius, who has the potential to change the world in profound ways. Yet he has not grasped that with power comes responsibility and that is where the problems arise. I won't go into too much detail, but I will say, that while his impact may be substantial, it is his motivation I found a little frustrating. more


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Lorna
784 reviews
589 followers
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Where do I begin to add some thoughts about the latest book, Elon Musk, by one of our most renowned biographers, Walter Isaacson, but with his words in the Acknowledgements of his book as follows: "Elon Musk allowed me to shadow him for two years, invited me to sit in on his meetings, indulged scores of interviews and late-night conversations, provided emails and texts, and encouraged his friends, colleagues, family members, adversaries and ex-wives to talk to me. He did not ask, nor did he, read this book before it was published, and he exercised no control over it. " Having written interesting and riveting biographies of Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Henry Kissinger, Steve Jobs and Jennifer Doudna to name a few, perhaps Walter Isaacson was the perfect person to attempt to write the compelling story of one of our most brilliant innovators and engineers that has transformed the world, particularly in the realm of space exploration, mass production of electric cars designed to combat adverse changes in our earth caused by climate change, and in the field of artificial intelligence. This brilliant man-child, prone to mood changes which would immediatelychange the characterization of moment, and described as his demon-mode eruptions that left rubble in its wake. But then Walter Isaacson asks in the last page of this book whether a restrained Musk could accomplish as much as a Musk unbound. more


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Sebastian Gebski
1026 reviews
985 followers
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There were many reasons NOT to read this book:1. it's a biography (I don't like biographies)2. it's not the closed story - Elon is alive & kickin'3. I've already read one book about him, the one by Ashlee VanceSo why did I bother. The answer is short: Walter Isaacson, 'nuf said. more


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Amber Lea
736 reviews
125 followers
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This book presents Musk as a difficult genius, basically as a bear who's really a bit of a teddy bear. A lot of his worst moments publicly either aren't mentioned (hyperloop, Haraldur Thorleifsson) or are glossed over super quickly without the worst aspects being addressed. As a result this feels like a really surface level account of Musk's affairs. I don't really feel like I learned a ton. I wish there was way more detail, even if it's the less spicy stuff. more


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Rick Wilson
788 reviews
303 followers
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It’s pretty good. I really like Isaacson as a writer, he does a good job of keeping this reasonable. I think the limits of this book are due to the nature of the subject, and the sort of shifting sand on which it was written. If you cringe at the thought of musk and his hype factory of drama, give it a miss. Seriously don’t put yourself through that. more


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Steve
336 reviews
1109 followers
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https://wp. me/p4dW55-1jR"Elon Musk" is Walter Isaacson's long-anticipated biography of the mercurial entrepreneur behind SpaceX, Tesla and, most recently, the website formerly known as Twitter.   Isaacson is an author, journalist and professor at Tulane University who has written popular biographies of Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci. Despite my bias against biographies of people whose lives are still unfolding, Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk's life proved irresistibly tempting. I was lured by my experience with two of his previous books, the prospect of gaining insight into Musk's entrepreneurial magic and by the possibility of understanding what makes this volatile visionary tick. more


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James Scholz
88 reviews
3021 followers
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amazing biography. i wouldnt consider myself a fan of elon, but this biography was way better than the ashlee vance one. more


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Sharon L.
155 reviews
16 followers
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2 stars. The tedious story of a unchecked egomaniac. Upon completion of this 688-page biography, I am utterly baffled as to how this guy is permitted to be a government contractor—given the highly erratic behavior described within. Biographer Walter Isaacson worships at the alter of “innovation. ” His earlier book on Steve Jobs was far too easy on the mercurial tech giant, and the same tendency is repeated here. more


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C
6 reviews
0 followers
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Extremely tedious in my opinion: reads like an overview of the desk calendar of a borderline sociopath. It’s puzzling to me that society gives a pass to a rich man who self-diagnoses himself with Aspergers as a cover for abusive and controlling behavior towards everyone in his orbit. After learning of the deliberate cruelty against the monkeys tortured for Neuralink to test its implants, it’s clear to me that there’s a subset of the population who doesn’t care at all about the ramifications of their self-aggrandizement. Unfortunately too many of them are powerful enough and wealthy enough (or have enough employees to browbeat into utterly appalling behavior. Too bad there’s not a person with massive wealth and political influence who cares about REALLY improving the planet’s health instead of this Mars bull$hit. more


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Henk
912 reviews
0 followers
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Real analysis is sparse in this book, and we get more and more familiair, almost template like outburst and behavior described without really understanding more who Elon Musk really isMore thoughts to follow, with Elon Musk himself as a subject and serial entrepreneur being fascinating enough, but I just feel that the book goes into much too much description compared at least attempts to help the reader understand the main subject. You understand the formula (or algorithm in Musk speak) and apparently acceleration always needs to be coupled to insane deadlines and testosterone fueled “feats” which are remarkable but not well thought through. There is a constant search for drama and definitely a troubled childhood and self proclaimed Asperger but I felt, even though reading 700 pages that Isaacson could have given more true insight. Full review will come. more


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Theo Davies
4 reviews
0 followers
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Though it is interesting to learn more about Musk's life and details of how he runs his companies, Isaacson's own input becomes tiring throughout the book. He constantly brings every little event back to his opinion that Musk is a battle commander or addicted to drama. Though it is in part true, it becomes incredibly repetitive by the end of the book and feels fundamentally shallow form of analysis. Disappointing, considering how highly rated his other biographies are. more


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Marcus Aurelius
2 reviews
0 followers
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This should be good. Looking forward to it. Update: it was good. more


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JanB
1194 reviews
3371 followers
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RTC. more


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Edward Champion
953 reviews
46 followers
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This is a deliciously snarky and highly revealing biography of one of the most sinister tyrants presently disrupting our world. I'm left with the sense of why so many are willing to put up with volatile idealism (even Yoel Roth. see his revealing quote on Page 544). Because it is clear from this book that Elon Musk is a highly dangerous man -- on the level of Trump in the madness he has unleashed, far from a genius, and arguably kept in his perch by his fawning acolytes and the money men who keep him annointed there. I've made a four minute TikTok review outlining more:https://www. more


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Phil
565 reviews
8 followers
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Feels like someone trying to sell their abusive partner as " passionate but troubled". All the "leaks" and assorted PR cover over a writer who is looking for his next subject. Makes you think how much different the Jobs book would have been if he was still alive at release/ not dying during the editing period. The financialization that's central to Musk is ignored for the Tony Stark mythology of an engineer transcendent genius, which is childish nonsense to anyone who understands the level of complexity and specialisation required in these areas. more


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Marko Suomi
633 reviews
202 followers
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Luin tämän korvilla maatessani kipeänä, alunperin sillä idealla että vihakuuntelen kun en voi sietää muskia ja hänen palvontaansa. Ja kimmokkeen sain tähän kirjaan ylipäätään kollegan vinkistä, kiitos. Kirjana ihan todella vetävästi kirjoitettu, ei silotella tämän megalomaanisen mieslapsen oikkuja tai vaarallisia puolia, vaan ollaan mukana tosi kiehtovissa internet/ai/sähköauto/avaruusmatkailu -lähihistorian käänteissä. Tämä kirja tuo hyvin esiin sen, että miksi sanotaan että absoluuttinen valta turmelee absoluuttisesti, eikä todennäköisyyttä siihen vähennä lapsena kohdattu väkivalta, kamala vanhemmuus ja oman neurologian haasteet. Silti, kyseessä on yksi maailman vaikutusvaltaisimmista ihmisistä, ja oli todella irvokasta nähdä hänen juuri tänään twitterissä jakavan venäjän propagandaa, jossa pilkataan Ukrainaa. more


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Ray Faure
196 reviews
2 followers
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On behalf of South Africa I personally apologise for Elon Musk to the world at large. falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. more


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Maukan
81 reviews
34 followers
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"When things are calm he seeks out storms"This is an incredibly hard book to review. Partly because Musk (Through his own doing) has become a polarizing figure in a country that is increasingly becoming more tribal, more divided and more vicious when disagreements arise. Nothing about Musk fits into neat categories where you can effectively understand and process. He is unpredictable, enthusiastic, impulsive, explosive, contradictory, charismatic and demonic. Musk is quite literally a category 5 hurricane. more


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Anita Pomerantz
683 reviews
162 followers
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I know some people rated this book poorly because they don't like Elon Musk, but I thought the book was extremely well done. It was an interesting portrait of a man who is brilliant, mercurial, mean, and an inveterate risk taker. His strengths and weaknesses are so inextricable. He runs 6 companies, is wealthy beyond all measure, but not really driven by money. His goals are huge, but in his pursuit of them, he is completely unforgiving when it comes to his employees. more


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Caroline
84 reviews
58 followers
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Such an interesting read & my 2nd of Walter Isaacson’s. I have a bunch of notes I’ll post later but overall, the most interesting biography I’ve read. Of course, Elon is a polarizing figure & many don’t agree with him; he is honest & fascinating. I enjoyed reading and listening to this one. more


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JS
419 reviews
7 followers
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I am no Musk fanboy, but wow. I can’t say this book made me like him more, but I think I understand him better now. And maybe it did make me like him more. I liked that he’s not opulent, that he cares about children, that he works hard. He’s an asshole. more


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