Walter Isaacson, whose bombshell biography Elon Musk was released today, said the billionaire is prone to “demon-like” outbursts and has “multiple personalities”. Speaking to MSNBC, the biographer talks about Mr Musk’s chaotic and impulse-driven takeover of Twitter (now renamed X) and his relationship with father Errol. Hours before its release on Amazon, advance orders had made the book titled ‘Elon Musk‘ the site’s best-selling book in the United States. Some US media outlets got early access to the more than 600-page book ahead of its official global release, and several excerpts were published in recent days.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asked Mr Isaacson about the different sides of the 52-year-old entrepreneur, saying his book paints “two, three, four types of Elon”.
“You know, that’s a great question because he has so many personalities, almost like multiple personalities, and a bit like his father, whom he doesn’t speak to now – but his father is a Jekyll and Hyde and sometimes goes very dark,” the biographer replied.
“And it happened to Elon too. He’ll go from being very giddy or being in engineering mode, where he can figure out the valve of a raptor engine, and suddenly the clouds come,” Mr Isaacson added.
“And the amazing thing is, after he’s gone dark and been demon-like and really tough on people, he’ll snap out of it. And then I’ll ask him, ‘What was that about?’ and he hardly remembers it,” he said.
The biographer spent three years chasing Elon Musk to complete his biography. Talking about the journey, Mr Isaacson told the outlet that he was impressed by all the technological stuff Mr Musk talked about – electric vehicles, sending manned missions to space etc.
“And then on the way, about a year into my reporting, he’s secretly buying up Twitter and then going to Hawaii in a two- or three-night binge and deciding to take it over. So it became a hell of a lot more of a roller coaster ride then,” a former editor in chief of Time magazine added.
Many of the account’s unknown nuggets come from a more recent period, when Isaacson shadowed his subject with fly-on-the-wall access into his everyday life.
A widely reported passage recounts how Musk personally scuttled a plan by the Ukrainian military to carry out a major operation in Crimea by denying Starlink internet access, drawing a furious response from Kyiv.
But Isaacson was forced to walk back his description of the episode after Musk tweeted that the Starlink access was not yet up and running in Crimea at the time of his decision.
Musk’s chaotic and impulse-driven takeover of Twitter (now renamed X) also gets a lot of attention, with the billionaire seen as struggling to recognise that technology and sheer will power will not create miracles.