Elon Musk’s biographer saw him fly into ‘demon mode.’ It’s hard to watch — but it also gets stuff done, he says.

Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk’s biographer, noted that there were instances where the billionaire exhibited a highly productive yet “dark” state lacking empathy, which he referred to as “demon mode.”

In a recent Twitter Spaces interview, Walter Isaacson shared that according to the musical artist Grimes, who is Elon Musk’s former girlfriend, she coined the term “demon mode.” Grimes mentioned that being around Musk during this state could be unpleasant, but it was the mode in which he was highly productive and able to accomplish tasks effectively.

Elon Musk and Grimes, whose given name is Claire Boucher, have two children together. However, it’s important to note that Grimes did not respond to a request for comment regarding the topic of Elon Musk’s “demon mode” or the term she purportedly coined.

Walter Isaacson has announced plans to release his biography on Elon Musk in September. Isaacson is known for his previous works on notable innovators such as Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci. In his observations, he has noted that many brilliant and successful individuals, including Musk and Jobs, have exhibited a “dark streak” in their personalities.

According to Walter Isaacson, individuals like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs were not burdened by excessive empathy, which allowed them to focus more intensely on achieving their larger missions or goals. Isaacson suggests that this lack of empathy may have contributed to their ability to stay focused and driven in their pursuits.

Walter Isaacson, in reference to Elon Musk, described the billionaire as having a “maniacal sense of urgency,” which could potentially intimidate some of his employees. Isaacson further explained that Musk’s demeanor would change if others did not share or match his level of urgency in accomplishing tasks or meeting goals.

Isaacson recounted that when Elon Musk became more involved with Twitter and implemented significant staff reductions, there were instances where Musk would become intense and critical, with Isaacson stating, “He’d go dark and I’d know that he was just going to rip that person apart.”

This suggests that during such situations, Musk displayed a harsh and uncompromising approach in dealing with personnel-related matters.

During his two-year observation of Elon Musk’s day-to-day life, Walter Isaacson admitted that he found the moments of rage displayed by Musk to be “uncomfortable” to witness. This indicates that Isaacson personally experienced discomfort when witnessing Musk’s episodes of anger or intense reactions.

According to Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk’s biographer, he characterized Musk as being “brutal” in his approach. Isaacson observed that Musk would verbally attack people, typically in a flat monotone manner, but without physical aggression.

Isaacson further noted that Musk seemed to transition from a state akin to Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde during these instances. Interestingly, Isaacson also mentioned that Musk would often move on quickly from these confrontations, almost forgetting the severity of his actions if the person involved had absorbed the intended lesson.

Elon Musk’s criticism appeared to be effective approximately 80% of the time. However, Isaacson also noted that in about 20% of the cases, Musk’s approach could be problematic, potentially causing individuals to become fearful of delivering bad news to him.

Isaacson shared an example where he later discovered that someone whom Musk had reprimanded had made a mistake due to personal issues, such as experiencing the loss of a child just two weeks prior.

This suggests that Musk’s direct and intense feedback might not always take into account the personal circumstances or challenges faced by the individuals involved.

Walter Isaacson mentioned that Elon Musk himself expressed the belief that prioritizing empathy towards an individual at the cost of the larger mission could be seen as a form of “egotism.”

Isaacson’s objective with his book was to portray the intricacies of Musk’s personality, highlighting the delicate balance between his “dark streak” and the remarkable achievements he accomplished through Tesla and SpaceX.

By presenting this complexity, Isaacson aimed to provide a nuanced understanding of Musk’s character and the challenges he faced in his pursuit of ambitious goals.

According to Walter Isaacson, he attributed Elon Musk’s “dark streak” and his propensity to take risks to his relationship with his father and the bullying he experienced during his youth.

Isaacson suggests that these factors from Musk’s personal history may have shaped his behavior and mindset, influencing his drive, determination, and willingness to push boundaries. By exploring these influences, Isaacson aims to provide insights into the origins of Musk’s traits and motivations.

Walter Isaacson stated that Elon Musk has a penchant for drama, both in his personal and professional life. Isaacson suggests that Musk feels most at ease when there is an element of excitement or chaos, likening it to “ordering up a hurricane or surge.” This indicates that Musk thrives in situations that are dynamic, challenging, and require significant action or disruption.

According to Walter Isaacson, Elon Musk’s mother, Maye Musk, expressed concerns about her son. Maye Musk reportedly felt that Elon was “exceptional” but worried that he was at risk of becoming like his father. It suggests that Maye Musk had apprehensions about certain aspects of Elon’s behavior or personality resembling those of his father, which raised concerns for her regarding his future trajectory or well-being.

In her book, Maye Musk opened up about her past relationship with her ex-husband and described it as abusive. Elon Musk himself has publicly referred to his father, Errol Musk, as “a terrible human being.”

It is worth noting that Maye Musk did not respond to a request for comment from Insider regarding these matters. These accounts indicate a troubled relationship between Elon Musk’s parents, as well as Elon’s own negative perception of his father.

In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Errol Musk claimed that he had never intentionally hurt anyone, except for one incident where he asserted that he shot and killed three individuals who had allegedly illegally entered his house. It’s important to note that these claims are based on Errol Musk’s account of the events and haven’t been independently verified.

Errol Musk denied any contribution to Elon Musk’s “dark streak” and mentioned that he currently has a relatively good relationship with his son Elon. This information was conveyed through an emailed statement provided to Insider. It suggests that Errol Musk disputes any direct connection between his own actions or influence and the perceived “dark streak” observed in Elon Musk.

Isaacson is far from the first to point out that Elon Musk can be prone to bouts of anger.

According to Martin Eberhard, a co-founder of Tesla, he previously shared with Insider that Elon Musk would scream at him during press coverage related to Tesla.

Tim Higgins, in his biography on Musk, published by The Wall Street Journal, also mentioned Musk’s reputation for explosive outbursts directed at top executives and employees on the assembly line at Tesla.

It has been reported that Musk has even engaged in rage-firings of employees. These accounts indicate a pattern of intense and confrontational behavior exhibited by Musk in various professional contexts.

Elon Musk has denied accusations of rage-firing employees, dismissing them as “false” in statements made on Twitter. He has also stated that he provides employees with “clear and frank” feedback.

t is important to note that Musk’s response on social media represents his own perspective on the matter. Different accounts and opinions exist regarding his leadership style and interactions with employees.

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Information Source: businessinsider

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