Elon Musk Lacks Empathy, According To Biographer

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Sep 21, 2023

Elon Musk is the richest person on Earth, as well as one of the most famous. He’s an extremely influential businessman, investor, and even somewhat of a political figure, but Musk may not be the man everyone thinks he is. 

Author Walter Isaacson recently wrote a biography about Musk, and he reported that the richest man on Earth “doesn’t have empathy” and may be missing several other basic human emotions. 

‘Elon Musk’ by Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson is a widely regarded author who has written several successful biographies about important figures throughout modern history, including Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Henry Kissinger, and several others. 


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And just last week, he released his newest biography all about the richest man in the world, simply titled Elon Musk. The book has since made headlines with its interesting and certainly debate-provoking content. 

Isaacson Gives Musk a Rough Review

In his book, Isaacson of course wrote about Musk’s successful business ventures, but it’s his comments on the man’s character that are most interesting to the majority of readers. Within its many pages, Issacson is anything but kind and used extreme language to describe Musk’s personality. 


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For example, in the book Isaacson tells the world that Musk “is addicted to drama,” that he “doesn’t have empathy,” and even that Elon is “insane.”

Elon Musk: The Richest Man in the World

Before analyzing Isaacson’s assessment of Musk, it’s important to first understand just who Elon Musk is and how he became the richest man in the world. In 2002, Musk sold his plentiful shares of PayPal to eBay and made a small fortune. He then used that money to start the now-famous automobile company, Tesla. 


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Most people consider Tesla the company that made Elon the rich man that he is today, because he was able to use his profits to start half a dozen more businesses and invest in several others. 

SpaceX Helped Musk Break Into Global Politics

One of Musk’s most valuable assets is his company SpaceX, which “designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.” It also builds and sells satellites that are used all around the world. 


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But while SpaceX is undoubtedly extremely financially successful, the company has done more for Musk than simply make him rich—it’s also established his position in politics. After providing Russia with satellites for the war in Ukraine, Musk is now being considered an unofficial representative throughout wartime decisions. 

Issacson Reports Musk’s Twitter Purchase Was “Insane”

Elon Musk’s most recent purchase last year of the popular social media platform previously known as Twitter has certainly been one of his most controversial investments. 

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As you may have guessed, Walter Issacson certainly had something to say about it. He told the Financial Times that Musk’s purchase of Twitter, now named X, was “insane” because someone who “doesn’t understand people’s feelings” shouldn’t own a social media site. 


Inability to Understand Human Emotions

Isaacson elaborated on his opinion of the billionaire in his book by stating, “I thought it was insane. Musk doesn’t have empathy and so Twitter was not a good fit for him.”

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In addition, he said that the entrepreneur saw Twitter “as a technology company, when in fact it was an advertising medium based on human emotions and relationships.”


Musk Only Bought Twitter Because He Was “Bored”

Issacson also told the press that the only reason Musk even bought Twitter for a whopping $44 billion is because he was bored with his existing success. In an interview, he said, “Everything was going so well that [Musk] became uncomfortable. He doesn’t like things when they are going well. He is addicted to drama.”

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Isaacson also offered that he believed Musk was going to run X into the ground as he apparently didn’t even plan to spend a lot of time at the social media company. In fact, Musk told Issacson exactly that and said, “It’s not like I need to be richer.” 


Rumors Are Circulating that Musk Has Ruined the Culture at X

Even though Musk hasn’t even owned the company for a full year, Isaacson’s prediction may already be coming true. Sources have reported that several advertisers have left X after Musk took over, and although Musk blames activist groups who don’t support him for the exodus, others say it really is the way he’s decided to run the company. 

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The CEO has also drastically changed the workplace for X employees, making them work 80-hour weeks and listen to his less than politically correct jokes. 


Musk’s Family Responds to the Accusations

The fifty-two-year-old Musk recently separated from his partner Grimes, the mother of his three children. And while Grimes doesn’t often speak to the press about Elon, she did have a few things to say to Walter Isaacson. 

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She told the author, “He’s not good at reading the room. His emotional comprehension is just very different from the average human.” Grimes also noted that her ex has Asperger syndrome, something that she believes greatly affects his personality.


Living With Asperger’s

Grimes, as well as those who are defending Elon throughout this controversy, state that one of the major reasons he comes off as insensitive to those who don’t know him is because of his Asperger diagnosis. 

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Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder that makes it challenging to relate to others socially, and while it can manifest differently in the individual, it could certainly be one of the reasons why Musk appears stand-offish or even rude in social situations.


Is Elon Musk as “Insane” as Isaacson Claims?

Realistically, only those who actually know the man can decide whether or not Isaacson’s claims that Musk is a complete nightmare are true. 

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However, for those people who have speculated for years that Elon Musk is not really a trustworthy guy, the biography has certainly enforced their opinions. And it’s even left a big question mark in the minds of those who previously believed Musk to be a upstanding businessman and public figure.