cover image Breaking Twitter: Elon Musk and the Most Controversial Corporate Takeover in History

Breaking Twitter: Elon Musk and the Most Controversial Corporate Takeover in History

Ben Mezrich. Grand Central, $30 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5387-0759-3

Bestseller Mezrich (Dumb Money) provides a novelistic recap of Musk’s tumultuous reign as Twitter CEO up to February 2023, before its name change. Mezrich takes almost palpable glee in the chaos that followed Musk’s purchase of the company in October 2022, detailing his firing of half of Twitter’s workforce, advertisers’ exodus as hate speech surged on the platform, and the bungled blue check system revamp. In Mezrich’s telling, Musk quickly withered from a brash visionary to a petty tyrant; for instance, Musk, nonplussed that President Biden’s Super Bowl tweet scored more impressions than his own, allegedly ordered Twitter engineers to boost his tweets’ visibility by a thousandfold. Sourcing the narrative from a few pseudonymous Twitter insiders, Mezrich cops to altering timelines and inventing composite characters, and renders Musk’s stream of consciousness in thunderous Technicolor even though the tycoon declined to talk to him (“Elon’s four-hundred-foot tall glittery stainless-steel Starship... was utterly spectacular, the most beautiful sight Elon had ever seen, the most beautiful thing anyone had ever seen... and the whole fucking room shook and shook and shook,” he reports from inside Musk’s head during a SpaceX rocket launch). Still, the speculation on Musk’s mindset feels plausible, and those who can look past the liberties taken with the truth will enjoy the propulsive tale, well told. This provides further proof of Mezrich’s talent for chronicling the foibles of the tech elite. (Nov.)