Musk’s biography will hit the streets on September 12

Walter Isaacson, who has written critically acclaimed biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and others, will release his next tome, focused on Elon Musk on September 12.

Simon & Schuster has has started taking preorders for a 688-page book that, based on a preview offered by the publisher, appears to offer a sympathetic view of the controversial owner of Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX.

“When Elon Musk was a child in South Africa, he was constantly beaten by bullies,” reads the book’s Website. “One day a group pushed him down some concrete steps and kicked him until his face was a swollen ball of flesh. He was in the hospital for a week. But the physical scars pale in comparison to the emotional wounds inflicted by his father, an engineer, rascal, and charismatic fantasist.”

That childhood, says the publisher, left a lasting impact on Musk’s psyche, turning him into “a tough but vulnerable boy, prone to Jekyll’s mood swings—and -Hyde, with a very high tolerance for danger, a craving for drama, an epic sense of mission, and a maddening intensity that is reckless and sometimes destructive.”

Musk and Isaacson agreed to collaborate on the bio in 2021—and Musk Tweeted book news about 20 minutes after they spoke, before Isaacson’s agent found out. (In the same thread, Musk not rejected writing his own autobiography one day.)

Isaacson spent the next two years attending meetings with Musk, talking to his friends, family and rivals, and shadowing him as he went about his day.

At the beginning of last year, Simon & Schuster says, while he was secretly buying shares of Twitter, Musk told Isaacson: “I have to shift my thinking from being in crisis mode, which is already within about fourteen years now, or probably most of my life.”

Isaacson previously viewed the book as a interview with Kara Swisher and hinted that Musk’s childhood may be one of them in his exploration of the entrepreneur.

“We start the book with this strangely difficult childhood in South Africa with a father who is Darth Vader and is still alive, but Elon is troubled every day,” he said.

He also indicated he was prepared for criticism of how Musk was portrayed.

“[He’s] the most interesting person on the planet right now doing the most interesting things and driving people crazy in the process,” Isaacson said. “And I’m just here to tell a story that will help you understand it. It explains why things happen. And there are people who say, ‘Oh, you mean it, so you justify this or that or the other.’ … I get a lot out of that.”

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