Tesla’s Elon Musk takes issue with a couple of quotes from book about him

The last time we heard about an upcoming book about Elon Musk, the big takeaway was that Google almost bought Tesla. Now, just days before “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance comes out, more details are trickling out — and one in particular has put the Tesla CEO on the defensive.

Musk is known as a demanding boss. The book seems to drive that point home with a claim from an anonymous Tesla employee that Musk scolded him for missing a company meeting so he could be present for the birth of his child. Musk reportedly said, “we’re changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don’t.” But Musk took to Twitter today to deny it.

Another tweet addressed the above claim and another quote in which Musk supposedly said he had the mentality of a samurai.

The Washington Post rounds up other quotes from the book, which is due out May 19. They paint a picture of a driven man who had a difficult childhood — a New York Times review of the book mentions an “emotionally abusive father” and constant bullying at school. Quite a few of the quotes involve talking about working hard, or (not) taking time away from work.

For example, former Tesla executive Ryan Popple said that when Tesla employees groused about working a lot during the company’s early days, Musk said:

“I would tell those people they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt.”

And there’s this, from early PayPal investor Kevin Hartz, talking about a celebration of PayPal’s success in Las Vegas:

“We’re all hanging out in this cabana at the Hard Rock Cafe, and Elon is there reading some obscure Soviet rocket manual that was all moldy and looked like it had been bought on eBay.”

From Musk himself — who’s been married three times, twice to the same woman — on how he might be able to fit dating in to his busy life:

“I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.”

Finally: Google may not have bought Tesla, but it’s common knowledge that Google CEO Larry Page and Musk are friends. Apparently, Musk has no place to call home in Silicon Valley, so here’s Page:

“He’s kind of homeless, which I think is sort of funny. He’ll e-mail and say, ‘I don’t know where to stay tonight. Can I come over?’ I haven’t given him a key or anything yet.”


Photo of Elon Musk by Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group archives


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