Home Entertainment Eight attention-grabbing particulars from Walter Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography

Eight attention-grabbing particulars from Walter Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography


Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Elon Musk has made headlines for its now-disputed account of how Musk supposedly scuttled a Ukrainian drone assault by pulling the plug on the Starlink satellite tv for pc web service guiding the drones. Each Musk and Isaacson now say the service was already restricted in a means that prevented the assault.

However the 688-page tome, for which Isaacson spent two years shadowing Musk, additionally fills in another particulars about Musk’s life and profession which have garnered much less consideration. Listed below are among the questions concerning the billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO that the guide solutions, or at the very least sheds gentle on — and which Musk has not disputed, at the very least up to now.

Did Musk’s father personal an emerald mine?

Musk’s picture as a self-made innovator who bootstrapped his option to Silicon Valley riches has been challenged at occasions by stories that his father, Errol Musk, was the rich proprietor of an emerald mine in South Africa.

Musk has repeatedly denied the declare. However Isaacson stories that Errol Musk did as soon as swap a small non-public airplane for a share of the emeralds from three “small” black-market mines in Zambia. Errol Musk offered the emeralds to jewelers, raking in some $210,000, however the mines went bankrupt within the 1980s and little of the cash ever made its option to Elon or his siblings. Elon Musk’s mother and father did make investments some cash in his first start-ups, although not a decisive quantity.

E book evaluate: Elon Musk has his demons. Walter Isaacson does his finest to dissect them.

Why did Musk have Tesla purchase Photo voltaic Metropolis?

In 2016, Tesla shareholders had been queasy about Musk’s plan to accumulate SolarCity, a debt-laden solar-panel firm run by his cousins, through which Musk had a big private stake. Musk floated the thought of a futuristic “photo voltaic roof” to assist justify shopping for the corporate.

Whereas Musk might have believed within the thought at first, the corporate struggled to execute his imaginative and prescient. That turned an issue for Musk in 2021, when Tesla shareholders sued him over the SolarCity acquisition. Isaacson stories that Musk made the photo voltaic roof his prime precedence — till he received the lawsuit, after which “his fervor to resolve the issue receded.”

Is Musk constructing a “glass home” in Texas?

Musk has denied stories within the Wall Avenue Journal that he’s constructing a glass home in Texas and that Tesla was presumably going to pay for it. However Isaacson stories what could be a nugget of reality to the allegation: Musk purchased a horse farm throughout the river from Tesla’s Giga Texas manufacturing facility and commenced working with architect Lord Norman Foster, who designed Apple’s futuristic headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., on plans to construct a home there. At one level Musk steered that it ought to resemble a “shard of glass” popping out of the water, accessible from the shore by a tunnel. However Isaacson says Musk later described it as “extra an artwork challenge than a home” and opted to “postpone constructing it.” The guide doesn’t handle allegations that Musk or another person at Tesla might have misused firm funds to accumulate the glass for the construction.

What number of offspring does Elon Musk have, and with whom?

Isaacson’s guide reveals that Musk and his typically girlfriend Grimes secretly had a 3rd little one in June 2022, named Techno Mechanicus Musk, or Tau for brief. Tau is Musk’s third little one with Grimes and brings the tally of Musk’s recognized youngsters to 11. Two of these are the twins he fathered with considered one of his staff, Neuralink government Shivon Zilis, as Insider first reported final 12 months — and which the pair stored from Grimes, who thought of Zilis a good friend. Isaacson stories Zilis’ being pregnant was by way of in vitro fertilization, with Musk because the sperm donor. “As a result of Neuralink is a privately owned firm,” he writes, “it’s unclear how the evolving guidelines surrounding office relationships utilized.”

Musk has justified his giant brood by warning of an “underpopulation disaster” as educated girls have fewer youngsters. Zilis tells Isaacson that Musk “actually desires good individuals to have children,” a stance that may very well be characterised as a type of eugenics.

Why did Musk purchase Twitter?

Isaacson’s guide depicts Musk’s choice to purchase Twitter as impulsive, and pushed extra by his psychological demons than logic. At varied factors, he theorizes that Musk wished to “personal the playground” after being bullied at school; that Musk’s life was going too easily on the time and he craved a brand new disaster; and that he made the choice to purchase the corporate outright moderately than merely becoming a member of its board whereas he was in a “manic temper,” pulling an all-nighter on a go to to Oracle chairman Larry Ellison’s Hawaiian island.

Musk expressed remorse on the transfer on a number of events, in keeping with the guide. In a November 2022 assembly with a Tesla design crew that was engaged on the corporate’s thought for self-driving “robotaxis,” a “drained and dejected” Musk mentioned of the Twitter acquisition: “I don’t know why I did it. The decide principally mentioned I’ve to purchase Twitter or else, and now I’m like, okay, [expletive].”

Why did Twitter botch the Ron DeSantis presidential announcement?

Within the remaining days of 2022, after Musk had laid off most of Twitter’s workers, the location started crashing completely for a lot of customers. It continued to undergo occasional glitches and outages over the subsequent a number of months, and in Might 2023 a high-profile Twitter Areas interview involving Musk and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis was derailed by repeated crashes.

Isaacson’s guide factors to Musk himself because the perpetrator. Towards staff’ warnings, Musk had insisted on transferring complete banks of servers from a knowledge middle in Sacramento to 1 in Oregon to economize. After they wouldn’t do it over the Christmas vacation, Musk and a carful of family and friends determined to drive to Sacramento and begin transferring the racks themselves.

They managed to maneuver the servers to Portland, Oregon, however Twitter was “destabilized” for months afterward, and the crash that plagued the DeSantis announcement was one of many outcomes. Musk admitted to Isaacson in March 2023: “Looking back, the entire Sacramento shutdown was a mistake.”

Why did Bari Weiss cease contributing to the “Twitter Information?”

Musk employed journalists Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi to comb by means of the corporate’s inside data for proof that Twitter had gone too far in suppressing conservatives’ speech. As they tweeted their findings in December 2022, Musk cheered them on. However he publicly broke with Weiss after she criticized him for banning different journalists, together with The Washington Publish’s Drew Harwell, a transfer she discovered incompatible together with his claims to be a “free speech absolutist.”

Isaacson fills within the backstory. Weiss had irked Musk in considered one of their first conferences by asking how Tesla’s enterprise pursuits in China would possibly have an effect on the way in which he managed Twitter. “Musk bought irritated,” Isaacson writes. When she endured, “Musk mentioned that Twitter would certainly should watch out concerning the phrases it used concerning China, as a result of Tesla’s enterprise may very well be threatened. China’s repression of the Uyghurs, he mentioned, had two sides.”

Then, when Weiss was engaged on her Twitter Information installment targeted on how the corporate suppressed some customers’ tweets with out telling them, she discovered that Musk had executed that himself to an account that tracked the whereabouts of his non-public jet. Weiss discovered that “hypocritical” and spoke out when Musk banned the account and commenced suspending journalists who reported on the ban. Musk promptly reduce her entry to the Twitter Information.

Why did Musk go to the World Cup in Qatar?

Elon Musk isn’t recognized to be a soccer fan, so there was shock when he was photographed on the World Cup remaining in Qatar in December 2022 alongside Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and plenty of Qatari leaders. Isaacson reveals that Musk agreed to seem on the World Cup remaining as a part of a cope with a Qatar-based funding fund to assist bankroll his buy of Twitter to the tune of $375 million.

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