Elon Musk Says That It Has Been ‘The Most Difficult and Painful Year’ Of His Career

The CEO discusses the pressure he is under and his struggle to cope.

elon musk
Elon Musk (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Getty Images

During an interview with The New York Times, Elon Musk struggled to maintain his composure as he said, “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating.”

The chairman and chief executive of the electric-car maker Tesla abruptly declared last week on Twitter that he hoped to convert the publicly traded company into a private one.

This ignited a federal investigation and angered board members, but also kicked off a furor in the markets and within Tesla itself. Musk acknowledged to The Times that he was fraying during the hourlong telephone interview.  He noted that he nearly missed his brother’s wedding this summer and spent his birthday in Tesla’s offices as the company tried to meet elusive production targets on a crucial new model.

It has also taken a toll on his physical health, and Musk said he had friends come by who are “really concerned.” For two decades, Musk has been one of Silicon Valley’s most brash and ambitious entrepreneurs, and has founded several influential tech companies. Throughout the interview with The Times, he shed the bravado, and showed “an extraordinary level of self-reflection and vulnerability, acknowledging that his myriad executive responsibilities are taking a steep personal toll,” The Times writes.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.