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.
It is total BS & hurtful to claim that I told a guy to miss his child’s birth just to attend a company meeting. I would never do that.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
Another tweet addressed the above claim and another quote in which Musk supposedly said he had the mentality of a samurai.
Of 22 Quotes from, 2 need correcting: 1. I strongly support pregnancy leave 2. I’ve never called myself 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.”
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