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New book makes Tesla CEO Elon Musk sound borderline insane

Published May 11th, 2015 2:24PM EDT

Brilliant people are often also at least a little bit crazy and many stories we’ve heard about Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk suggest he’s no exception. The Washington Post has published some excerpts from a new book on Musk written by Ashlee Vance called Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, and they really do make Musk look like an eccentric genius in the Steve Jobs mold.

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Let’s start with the most Jobs-ian part of the book, in which Musk actually rips into an employee who missed a company event because he wanted to witness the birth of his child.

“That is no excuse,” Musk thundered in an email. “I am extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your priorities are. We’re changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don’t.”

In case you haven’t noticed, Musk is extremely demanding of employees and many stories we’ve read said he expects his employees to work on weekends. And in fact, the book claims that when an employee complained about working long hours and not seeing his family, Musk told him he could see his family again once the company had gone bankrupt.

It’s this kind of workaholic mentality that makes Musk’s take on dating truly hilarious.

“I would like to allocate more time to dating, though,” Musk is quoted at one point in the book. “I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.”

The way he talks about being in a relationship is amazing: It’s like he’s asking someone how many hours a week it takes to keep his lawn maintained.

And finally, there’s this quote from Google CEO Larry Page, who says Musk has repeatedly asked if he can crash on his couch while he’s staying in the Silicon Valley area.

“He’s kind of homeless, which I think is sort of funny,” Page says. “He’ll e-mail and say, ‘I don’t know where to stay tonight. Can I come over?’ I haven’t given him a key or anything yet.”

To get the full list of quotes from the book, check out the Post’s story here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.