Time calls him a “clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman, cad; a madcap hybrid of Thomas Edison, P.T. Barnum, Andrew Carnegie and ‘Watchmen’s’ Doctor Manhattan.”
— TIME (@TIME) December 13, 2021
A close friend of Musk, Antonio Gracias, told Time, “He was raised in a tough environment and born with a very special brain. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of people in that situation don’t come out of it. Some small percentage come out of it with the ability he has to make great decisions under extraordinary pressure and the never-ending drive to change the course of humanity.”
But Musk’s success doesn’t come without controversy, Time pointed out.
Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million in a racial abuse case. His companies have faced sexual harassment and poor working conditions accusations. Tesla’s Autopilot software is under investigation by federal authorities, and expansion into China has been marred with criticism.
Musk has also faced personal attacks. Time said he has been described as “petty, cruel and petulant.”
“He is a savant when it comes to business, but his gift is not empathy with people,” his brother and business partner Kimbal Musk told Time.
“He wants eternal glory for doing great deeds, and he is an asset to the human race because he defines a great deed as something that is great for humanity. He is greedy for glory. Money to him is a means, not an end.” Robert Zubrin, the founder of the Mars Society who met Musk in 2001, told the news outlet about the businessman.
However, Musk was also applauded by Time for his unabashed boldness, which Time said, even “if many never voted or signed up for Musk’s wild zero-gravity ride, that is of no consequence to him.”
He was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971. His mother and father divorced when he was 9. When Musk was 17, he moved to Canada, enrolling at Queen’s University in Ontario. He then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a double major in physics and economics.
He then moved to California when he was accepted into Stanford University’s Ph.D. program. He dropped out two days later.
As of Monday at 12:18 p.m. EST, shares of Tesla were trading at $963.48, down $53.55, or 5.27%.