The bad news for Ben Mezrich and his book about Elon Musk’s “most controversial corporate takeover in history” is that (from reports in the showbiz newsletter Puck) Hollywood has just paid several million dollars for an Elon Musk biopic, directed by Darren Aronofsky, based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the world’s richest man.
According to his publishers, Mezrich is “one of the world’s leading business narrative writers”. But he has also tasted the Kool-Aid. His Accidental Billionaires, published in 2009, an overheated account of Facebook’s turbulent origins, became Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Social Network. In Breaking Twitter, Mezrich plainly hopes to bank a second tranche of movie treasure. He’s in selling mode from the outset. This, he tells us in a prefatory note to his readers, is “one of the most important and thrilling stories I’ve ever told”.
If the best-selling author has mastered the “business narrative”, he still has a lot to learn about show-not-tell. Breaking Twitter, advertised as “a vicious Shakespearean battle” for control of the company now known as X, is a wannabe, with the slightly desperate air of a volatile airport read that hankers to be a film script.