Elon Musk becomes world’s richest person

Head in the stars: His long-term plan is to “plant a rose on Mars”. © Patrick Hoelck

Is he a good role model? Elon Musk is the billionaire owner of Tesla. He dreams of sending humans to live on other planets. And he has just become the wealthiest person on Earth.

What’s happening

The inventor looked down at his phone and read the Tweet that had just flashed up on his screen: “Elon Musk is now the richest person in the world”, it said.

He sat at his desk, thinking for a minute. Then, he typed out a reply. “How strange”, he wrote, “Well, back to work…”

Find out more

Born in South Africa, Elon had a tough time growing up and was bullied. But that didn’t stop him from dreaming of success.

He was quiet and clever. He loved reading and learnt to code. When he was 12, he made his own computer game.

As an adult, Elon moved to the US where he made his fortune with a company called PayPal.

He went on to create two more companies. The first was SpaceX, which plans to send people to Mars. The second was Tesla, now one of the most successful car companies in the world.

Elon Musk is famous for being imaginative and determined. The film version of Tony Stark is said to be based on him. Now, his hard work has paid off. He is worth £166 bn, more than anyone else in the world.

Is Elon Musk a good role model?

Some say…

Yes, of course! He has inspiring plans and has had a huge amount of success. He has made online shopping easier. He has made electric cars popular. Now, his company could be the first to send humans to Mars. He has always worked hard for his money and doesn’t give up on his plans. He is a great role model.

Others think…

Not really. Being a role model is about more than money and success. People who have worked with him say he can be unkind and unfair. It is clear in interviews that he is arrogant. A better role model is Bill Gates. He is a clever and successful inventor, but he does not show off. He is a billionaire but gives much of his money to charity.

You Decide

  1. Is money a good way to measure how successful somebody is?

Activities

  1. Make an advert for a SpaceX rocket that will take a whole city of people to live on Mars. The trip would take about three months. Include everything you think people would need for their journey.

Some People Say...

“You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.”

Elon Musk, inventor and entrepreneur

What do you think?

Word Watch

Code
To write the instructions for a computer programme.
PayPal
A website that allows people to pay for things safely online.
SpaceX
Elon Musk says his long-term goal is to “plant a rose on Mars”.
Successful
To be very good and succeed at something. Tesla is successful because it is now worth £516 bn. That’s more than Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford put together.
Determined
When you make a firm decision and do not give up on it.
Tony Stark
A fictional inventor from the Marvel Universe whose alter ego is Iron Man. Tony Stark is a unique Avenger. He is the only person who creates his own superpower.
Arrogant
Overly proud of yourself or your own opinions and achievements.
Bill Gates
The co-founder of Microsoft. Bill Gates has set up a large charity foundation with his wife. One of his biggest aims is to find a cure for malaria, a disease that kills millions in some parts of the world.

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