Elon Musk Biography

The latest Elon Musk biography by fellow South African Michael Vlismas. Image via: Carmen Coetsee.

‘Risking it All’: Elon Musk biography explores the enigmatic mogul

From fellow South African and journalist Michael Vlismas comes the new and revealing biography of billionaire Elon Musk.

Elon Musk Biography

The latest Elon Musk biography by fellow South African Michael Vlismas. Image via: Carmen Coetsee.

South Africa’s own Elon Musk has made quite a name for himself beyond Mzansi. As the mastermind behind multibillion-dollar companies such as Tesla and SpaceX, Musk has become the richest person in the world.

As well as his widely reported professional accomplishments, his private life has also made headlines on numerous occasions. Whether it is his very public relationships with models and singers alike, or his choice of controversial children’s names, such as AE A-XII, it is undeniable that Elon Musk is a very eccentric character.

Elon Musk ‘Risking it All’: The man behind the legend

South African author Michael Vlismas attended the same school as Musk and dives into the true story of the man behind the legend in his latest biography, Risking It All. With first-hand accounts from people who knew Musk personally and who were part of his formative years in South Africa, comes this deeply personal and rich biography that tries to answer the question: Who is Elon Musk really?

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Michael Vlismas differs from other biographers who have tried to tackle the massive personality behind Elon Musk. Vlismas and Musk attended the same school in Pretoria and so Vlismas intimately knows the environment that shaped the would-be future billionaire.

According to The New Statesman, in Risking It All, Vlismas mixes his own experiences with accounts from Musk’s childhood friends, teachers and acquaintances to paint a picture of the South African education system in the 1980s.

This was a world full of uncompromising discipline, social division, racial tension and violent bullying. This gives readers an insight into the world that shaped young Musk.

Risking It All is an exploration of Musk’s childhood as reported by the people who were actually there. With respect and honesty, Vlismas provides readers with rare insight into the early years, before young Elon was the controversial billionaire mogul he is today.


Often in the news for his entrepreneurial exploits and his controversial tweets, Elon Musk is one of the richest and best-known people on Earth. In 2022, he made headlines worldwide with his bid to buy Twitter.

Who is this boundary-pushing billionaire with grand plans of inhabiting Mars, and what lies at the heart of his vision? Why is he so utterly unafraid of risk?

As an awkward Pretoria schoolboy who loved comics and science fiction, Musk’s early years and family background were crucial in forming his stellar ambitions. Journalist and author Michael Vlismas offers new insights into Musk’s development, including his troubled relationship with his father.

Tracing his remarkable life, from his South African childhood to his move to Canada at 17 and then to the US, this is the story of a man driven to preserve the optimism he sees in humanity and find a future for humans ‘out there among the stars’


Author Michael Vlismas. Source: Twitter @MichaelVlismas.

Michael Vlismas is an award-winning journalist and author of six books, including biographies with Gary Player, Schalk Burger Snr and Tim Noakes. He lives in Somerset West near Cape Town with his wife and two sons.

Risking It All is published by Jonathan Ball Publishers and is available from Exclusive Books stores for R287.