Elon Musk; a Biography by Walter Isaacson

For two years, the accomplished biographer shadowed Elon Musk. He was invited to his many personal and business meetings. Isaacson had no restrictions with the access to the billionaire. No limits to the materials he wanted to see and review. Musk didn’t ask to see the manuscript before its publication.

His efforts produced an enormous work of 620 pages, plus another 50 of footnotes and bibliography. The book painted a stunning picture of the eccentric giant. It took me 5 days to read it. It was so riveting, I couldn’t go to sleep after the afternoons and evenings spent reading. After turning over the last page, I am awed by the personality and achievements of Elon Musk.

We all know the story.

PayPal, originally established by Levchin, Thiel and Nosek, eventually merged with Musk’s x.com financial company. After PayPal was sold to eBay, Musk’s share was $180 mil. He invested $100 million to start SpaceX, $70 million to found Tesla and $10 million in SolarCity.

All the profits were invested in the growth of his business. Not in flashy clothes, houses, lavish lifestyle. He brags he doesn’t own the house, but in truth he doesn’t need one. He’s glorifying the family life, but on his own terms. He divorced his first wife, married and divorced his second, twice. He has eleven children, all boys, although one of them transitioned to a girl. The last one, named X, is travelling with his father all over the world. All his children were conceived through IVF or by a surrogate. Musk often stresses the importance of having children.

His work habits are insane. He’s known for sleeping in the factory quarters during the time of strained productions, often forcing his managers to do the same. He claims the Red Bull adds him wings. If you see his signature projects, Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, The Boring Company, Solar City and Twitter-X, if you see them as candles, Musk is burning all of them from both ends. And all at the same time.

But there are many handsomely rich people in the world. For me, it’s fascinating how do they spend their riches. Here I see the crucial trait of Musk. He spends all his money, and effort, to benefit the humanity. To benefit the people of the world. Be it by providing the internet to the underrepresented areas in the world, or by supplying the solar energy rooftops for the people. He’s working on the transportation tunnels under the big cities. He wants his robots to help people with disabilities, or – which he’s worried about – to be able to replace them. His most current AI program is x.ai. The last one, as for now. And it’s a non-profit company. Of course, the choice of time and money investments is not random. All his enterprises are connected by the collection and use of the extraordinary body of digital data. And all projects complement each other.

The book describes a flawed genius. A man crazy enough who thinks he can change the world. It will take years, maybe generations, to find out his contribution to humanity.

That’s just a surface of the interests of this extraordinary man. I hope I got your attention.

Now it’s time to read the book.


  • What a tribute to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Elon Musk. It is now near the top of my “to read” list. Thank you.

  • I just ordered this book, and I’m looking forward to reading it.
    Thank you for the brief introduction.

  • I can see Elon’s genius in creating things that are cutting edge. I don’t question his ability to be a sperm donor but I do wonder how his many children will fare over the course of time when they have a father who is absent. He is well on his way to finding purpose for his life. His legacy will be tested over the course of time. It is his relationship with God and family that is unclear. What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mk 8:36


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