The entrepreneurial icon has gone on the record about his personal problems and his unwillingness, or perhaps helplessness, to solve them.
In the pantheon of entrepreneurial tales of success, Elon Musk is ranked with Edison and Ford, but the billionaire is unhappy with the price he’s paid for his pedestal. In an interview with The New York Times that is candid to the point of vulnerability, Musk was repeatedly at the verge of tears describing a self-enslavement he admits is unhealthy but which he has no intention of altering.
The interview comes in the wake of Musk’s bombshell tweet on Aug. 7, in which he offhandedly said he had “funding secured” to buy back shares of Tesla for $420 and take the publicly-traded company private. The unvetted tweet, issued when markets were open, sent Tesla shares soaring but also triggered an investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission and has raised pointed questions about whether Musk’s judgment is poor or maybe impaired.
Here are seven takeaways from Musk’s interview with The Times.
1. Musk’s friends are worried about him and so is he.
“This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” Musk told The Times, which described him as struggling to maintain composure. “It was excruciating.”
Musk said he has been working 120 hours per week and has not taken a full week off since 2001, when he had malaria. When asked if working himself to chronic exhaustion is costing him health, Musk replied, “It’s not been great, actually. I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned.”