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What Elon Musk's favorite game tells us about him

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses Elon Musk's obsession with the mobile game Polytopia and what it reveals about his personality and thinking style.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] What Elon Musk's Favorite Game Tells Us About Him

1. What are the key insights about Elon Musk's personality and thinking style based on his obsession with Polytopia?

  • Musk is drawn to games that he can dominate without too much effort, as Polytopia is relatively simple and straightforward compared to more complex strategy games like chess or poker.
  • Musk prefers games that provide clear feedback on whether he is winning or losing, rather than games with hidden complexities and potential for unexpected reversals.
  • Musk's behavior of skipping social events to play Polytopia obsessively suggests he has trouble finding pleasure in normal activities and may benefit from speaking to a therapist.
  • The author argues that Musk's fondness for Polytopia reveals a lack of hidden depth or sophistication in his thinking, contrary to the perception created by Walter Isaacson's book.

2. How does the author compare Polytopia to other strategy games in terms of complexity and addictiveness?

  • The author states that Polytopia is not as complex or addictive as games like Starcraft, Slay the Spire, or Tears of the Kingdom.
  • Polytopia can be mastered relatively quickly, within about 20 hours of play, unlike chess which takes years to truly master.
  • The author likens the addictiveness of Polytopia to that of sudoku, a simple but enjoyable time-killer game.

3. What does the author say about the appeal and design of Polytopia as an indie mobile game?

  • The author is generally positive about Polytopia, seeing it as a fun, reasonably priced indie game that provides an enjoyable mobile gaming experience.
  • The author appreciates that Midjiwan, the game's developer, has created a successful capitalist model where players can choose to pay a small amount to unlock more content if they really enjoy the game.

[02] Elon Musk's Personality and Thinking Style

1. How does the author characterize the central contradiction in Elon Musk's current public persona?

  • The author notes that Musk has attained immense wealth, yet often behaves in foolish and impulsive ways that contradict the perception of him as a brilliant, strategic thinker.
  • The author argues that Isaacson's book on Musk assumes there are hidden layers of sophistication to Musk's thinking, which the author believes is not the case.

2. What does the author suggest Musk's preference for Polytopia reveals about his thinking style?

  • The author suggests Musk is drawn to games that provide clear, straightforward feedback on whether he is winning or losing, rather than games with hidden complexities and potential for unexpected reversals.
  • Musk seems to prefer games where he can quickly reset and try again, rather than executing meticulous long-term plans.
  • The author argues Musk's behavior is more "basic" than the perception of him as a deep, strategic thinker.

3. How does the author characterize Musk's overall personality and decision-making approach?

  • The author suggests Musk is primarily motivated by the gratification of impulsively pushing buttons and seeing immediate results, rather than careful, long-term planning.
  • Musk's tendency to respond with "maximal aggression" to the latest change in conditions, rather than thinking multiple steps ahead, is seen as a key aspect of his personality.
  • The author argues that Musk's wealth and market dominance allow him to get away with this impulsive, short-term decision-making style.
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