Books

Elon Musk and Naomi Klein Are Complicated

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Elon Musk, the billionaire South Africa-born entrepreneur whose business interests include the electric car company Tesla, the private rocket company SpaceX and the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), is the richest person in the world — and the subject of an expansive new biography by Walter Isaacson, whose earlier subjects famously include the Apple founder Steve Jobs. Our critic Jennifer Szalai reviewed the Musk biography for The Times, and on the podcast this week she tells the host Gilbert Cruz that at several points in the book Isaacson circles back to Jobs, for good reason.

“Jobs, of course, could be known as a prickly, demanding boss who was extremely ambitious when it came to what Apple could do not just for technology but for the world,” she says. “And so in a figure like Musk we also have somebody who is known to be a prickly, obsessive, demanding boss who wants to change the world. But in this case it’s not just the world but multiplanetary civilization, which is a term Musk uses at one point.”

Szalai also discusses her recent Times Magazine profile of the writer and activist Naomi Klein, whose new book, “Doppelganger,” examines the “mirror world” of online conspiracy theories and paranoia, and its effect on real-world politics.

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