His childhood, his extravagances, his rivalry with Bill Gates … An event biography reveals the secrets of Elon Musk

EXCLUSIVE – Who is Elon Musk really? Le Figaro Magazine publishes exclusive excerpts from the exceptional biography of Walter Isaacson, which is based on totally unpublished testimonies and documents.


Elon Musk grew up in South Africa: there, he experienced suffering and learned how to survive it.

One day, at the age of 12, he got on a bus that took him to a survival camp in the bush, known as veldskool. In his memory, it was His Majesty of the Fliesin paramilitary mode ». The kids are all given small rations of food and water, and they are allowed (encouraged, actually) to tear them away through violence. Brutality was considered a virtue », underlines his younger brother, Kimbal. The big ones quickly learn to hit the little ones in the face to steal their rations. Still puny and uncomfortable with his emotions, Elon is beaten twice. He will lose 5 pounds.

Towards the end of the first week, the boys are split into two groups and instructed to fight each other. It was completely insane, mind-blowing », recalls Musk. Both kids were dying…

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