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EXCERPT | How Elon Musk went from 'unnoticed' Pretoria boy to one of the world's richest men

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Engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

BOOK: Elon Musk: Risking It All by Michael Vlismas (Jonathan Ball)

Controversial, enigmatic entrepreneur Elon Musk, now one of the world’s richest men, was an awkward Pretoria schoolboy who loved comics and science fiction. His early years and singular family background were crucial in forming his stellar ambitions, writes Michael Vlismas in Elon Musk: Risking It All (Jonathan Ball). The book traces his life from his South African childhood to his move to Canada at 17 and then to the US, where Musk made millions out of PayPal and built Tesla and SpaceX into two of the world’s most famous companies. In this excerpt, Vlismas recounts the memories Musk’s childhood friends have of this young 'geek'.

Elon Musk arrived at Hatfield Primary School midway through Standard 2 [Grade 4]. His father had taken him out of Waterkloof House Preparatory School, a private boys’ school in Brooklyn, Pretoria, where money and status were the language. Errol had decided his child might be better suited to a government school that would offer him more of the real world and ‘normal people’. Musk’s new school, in the Pretoria suburb of Hatfield, certainly offered such an opportunity.

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