How is it even possible that Elon Musk could build four multibillion companies by his mid-40s — in four separate fields (software, energy, transportation, and aerospace)? To explain Musk’s success, others have pointed to his heroic work ethic (he regularly works 85-hour weeks), his ability to set reality-distorting visions for the future, and his incredible resilience. But all of these felt unsatisfactory to me. Plenty of people have these traits. I wanted to know what he did differently.