Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson is well-known for his biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Benjamin Franklin. I very much enjoyed this book and was struck how his upbringing and the drive and passion he has to make a difference to the world stood out. I think there are many good lessons and some health warnings:
- Visionary Thinking and mission focus.
- Risk taking.
- Continuous Learning
- His troubled childhood he has never addressed (counselling or coaching) and so his toxic behaviour has spilled over many around him.
- Obsessive work ethic. Taken to extreme no holidays and sleeping on the office floor.
- Unreasonable demands creating fear and lack of psychological safety. Everything is possible if you are prepared to pay the price and live with the consequences. They were high
HIs achievements: Tesla, SpaceX, Optimus Robot, Solar Panels, OpenAI are some of his many achievements. Currently Twitter renamed as X is in total turmoil.
From this book, some leadership lessons could be derived:
- **Visionary Thinking**: Musk is known for his ambitious goals, whether it’s colonising Mars with SpaceX or transitioning the world to sustainable energy with Tesla. Great leaders have a clear, long-term vision.
- **Risk Tolerance**: Musk invested his own money into Tesla and SpaceX when both companies were on the verge of bankruptcy. Effective leaders must be willing to take risks when they believe in their mission.
- **Work Ethic**: Musk is known for his incredible work ethic, often working long hours and expecting his employees to do the same. Commitment and dedication can drive results.
- **Continuous Learning**: Even without formal training in rocket science or automotive engineering, Musk dived deep into these areas, learning enough to challenge and guide experts in the field.
- **Demand Excellence**: Musk sets high standards for his teams, pushing them to achieve what others might see as impossible. Setting high standards can lead to breakthrough innovations.