- Elon Musk has taken leadership notes from Napoleon Bonaparte, Walter Isaacson told Axios.
- Napoleon is known as one of the greatest military generals in history.
- Isaacson said Musk has likened Tesla and SpaceX factories to a “battlefield.”
Elon Musk has analyzed the leadership tactics of the French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte for use in his role as CEO of Tesla, Walter Isaacson told Axios.
Isaacson, who trailed Musk for the better part of three years ahead of the upcoming release of a biography on the billionaire, told the publication that Musk has said knowledge on the history of powerful militaries can be useful for “corporate life” — and has even used at least one of Napoleon’s tactics at Tesla and SpaceX.
“He believes that wherever Napoleon was, that’s where his armies would do best. So he liked to show up late at night on the assembly lines at Tesla and SpaceX,” Isaacson told Axios.
The biographer said that Musk likened Tesla and SpaceX factories to “battlefields” and also liked to listen to Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” podcast.
“If they see their general on the battlefield, they will be more motivated,” Isaacson said the billionaire told him.
Napoleon is considered one of the greatest generals in military history. He was rose to power during the French Revolution and eventually led the Napoleonic Wars in which he conquered much of Europe. He served as the first emperor of France in 1804, but was forced to abdicate the throne a decade later after he unsuccessfully tried to invade Russia.
Musk has been known to sleep on Tesla’s factory floor and at sleep at X’s headquarters. Last year, Musk said he was basically living in Tesla’s Fremont, California, and Sparks, Nevada factories for “three years straight” because he wanted to show staff was wasn’t “drinking Mai Tais on a tropical island,” as well as inspire them to work harder.
The biographer’s comments come after he shared a screenshot from Musk of the Tesla CEO’s texts with Mark Zuckerberg. Musk later shared a larger version of the screenshot on X, formerly known as Twitter on Sunday.
In the screenshot of the texts that Musk claims are with the Meta CEO, Musk taunted Zuckerberg saying that he would beat the Facebook cofounder unless he was a “modern day Bruce Lee.” Musk also asked to first fight Zuckerberg in his backyard before a public exhibition, but Zuckerberg appeared to turn down the offer.
Isaacson has said in the past he doubts the much hyped fight will take place. Last week, Musk said he needed to get his neck and upper back examined before the fight and it “may require surgery.”
Read Axios’ full story on its website.