9 reasons you shouldn’t listen to people like Elon Musk

Are you sick of reading advice from some of the most detached and self-centered people on the planet? I know I am. 

Musk, Gates, Zuckerberg, Cuban, Winfrey. You can’t escape them. Mainstream publications love writing about them and sharing their “useful” advice. 

But why should you listen to the people who don’t even know how much milk or bread costs in the store? How are they even remotely relatable to us?

Well, you shouldn’t, and here are the reasons why. 

1) Real-life applicability

Most of the celebrity advice you read is more theoretical or aspirational, which doesn’t always translate well to real-life situations. To your situation.

For example, a well-known entrepreneur advises taking huge risks to achieve success. 

While this strategy might have worked for them, it doesn’t consider the financial constraints or risk tolerance that someone like you with a stable job and financial responsibilities has. 

Besides, these types of people are extremely savvy and have an army of accountants, lawyers, and consultants helping them every step of the way. 

And if they fail, they’ll declare bankruptcy and move on like nothing ever happened. 

I always say you have to look at what these types of people were doing at the beginning of their journey and not now when they’re at the top and have endless resources.

However, even that doesn’t hold water in most cases, as things were way different 40, 30, 20, or even 5 years ago. 

What worked in the 90s mostly doesn’t work anymore. Besides, most of them come from well-connected and wealthy families that helped them achieve their goals. 

Your goals, values, and circumstances are unique to you. What worked for Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates may not align with your personal aspirations or work for you. 

Consider how their advice applies to your specific situation. Or, more likely, doesn’t. 

2) Oversimplification

In interviews, articles, or public statements, celebrities and business people often simplify complex issues to make them more digestible for the average Joe. 

However, this is oversimplification and results in blatant misunderstanding of important topics as you don’t get the “meat” of it, just the surface-level advice.

Elon Musk certainly believes in climate change, but he also thinks electric cars will save the planet. This couldn’t be further away from the truth, as climate change is an incredibly complex issue that won’t be solved from only one side.

In fact, electric cars bring on a whole set of additional environmental issues. If anything, he should be pushing for more public transport as that helps the environment much more than millions of new cars on the roads. 

If we can’t take his advice on a topic he should be very familiar with, we have to ask ourselves, what advice of his can we take then? 

3) Selective information

Public figures carefully curate the information they share with the public. Except for Musk, of course. He loves being the center of attention and overshares all the time. 

But let’s leave Musk on the sidelines for this one. Here’s another example. 

Many celebrities promote specific diet plans or products without disclosing their financial interests in these endorsements. 

They also might have had plastic surgery or round-the-clock fitness trainers, dieticians, and other staff helping them lose weight. 

This lack of transparency grossly misleads their followers because they weren’t upfront with them.

Celebrities and influencers of all kinds, most of the time, also don’t reveal their personal challenges or vulnerabilities. This creates a distorted image of reality and makes it difficult to relate to their experiences.

Be very careful what advice, if any, you take from public figures. For complex or critical decisions, consult experts or professionals specializing in the relevant field. They can provide you with informed advice tailored to your needs.

4) Lack of expertise

Elon Musk is a pioneer in electric cars and space exploration, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an expert in healthcare or education. 

Similarly, Bill Gates’ expertise in software doesn’t make him an expert in other areas. We need to consider their expertise in the specific topics they’re discussing.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for a lot of people as they blindly take their advice, cheer them on, and attack people with common sense who are trying to warn them. 

While high-profile figures can play a role in raising awareness and funding, they shouldn’t replace the expertise of specialists when it comes to devising and implementing effective solutions.

If you blindly follow celebrity advice without critical evaluation, you’ll end up making misguided decisions. 

But above all, it hampers the pursuit of well-informed, evidence-based solutions in many complex areas of society.

5) Self-interest

Another thing you also must account for is that all these people own huge companies. Often more than one. Their advice may be influenced by their desire to see their businesses prosper.

You see, their financial well-being is closely tied to the performance of these ventures. Consequently, their public statements and actions, more often than not, reflect a desire to promote and secure the profitability of these enterprises.

For example, Musk has actively promoted electric vehicles and space exploration, which are central to his companies’ missions. 

Likewise, Gates has advocated educational technology and global health initiatives. While these efforts can have positive societal impacts, they also serve the interests of their business endeavors.

6) Bias

Everyone has their own biases based on their personal experiences and beliefs. Billionaires are no different.

For instance, Jeff Bezos may be biased toward e-commerce, while Bill Gates may have biases influenced by his background in technology. It’s yet another reason why their advice isn’t neutral.

Elon Musk has proved this countless times. He repeatedly calls himself a “free speech absolutist.” He says Twitter (“X”) is welcome to everyone (even neonazis), yet he repeatedly censors “X” users who have a different opinion than him. 

There are many examples, but one of the worst ones is shutting down accounts right before the Turkish election on behalf of the Turkish government of an investigative journalist and a Turkish businessman who criticized Erdoğan.  

He also censored the @ElonJet account that was tracking his private jet and even the journalists who wrote about it. 

Unfortunately, we have to realize that these people’s advice doesn’t live in a vacuum, and we have to consider their history, as well as what they do, and not just what they say.

Time and time again, public figures have said one thing and done something completely opposite. 

7) Pressure to perform

Similarly, public figures like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates often face pressure to stay relevant and in the public eye. 

For Musk, that’s the most important thing, as his companies don’t have marketing departments. 

This results in them making bold statements or investments solely for the sake of maintaining their public image.

Being and staying in the spotlight is also an incredibly potent drug that makes even the richest people in the world say and do crazy sh*t just to stay relevant. 

8) Changing perspectives

Taking famous people’s advice is also potentially harmful because of their changing perspectives. 

Take the investment guru Warren Buffett. He has altered his investment strategies and viewpoints throughout his career. 

He started with a focus on buying undervalued stocks but later transitioned to investing in well-established companies with strong competitive advantages. His views on technology stocks, which he initially avoided, have also evolved.

We see that from his 2023 portfolio. For instance, the Berkshire Hathaway Holdings (the hedge fund managed by Buffett) comprises mostly from well-established companies:

  • Apple Inc. 48.3%
  • Bank of America Corp 9.1%
  • American Express Co. 7.4%
  • Coca-Cola Co 7.0%
  • Chevron Corp. 6.2%
  • Kraft Heinz Co 3.3%

His evolving perspectives can make it challenging to rely on his advice consistently. You have to consider and weigh the advice from many perspectives. 

9) Distraction

I’ll be frank with you. I devoured articles that spread knowledge from business people from around the world. 

Each time I came across an interview with the people I mentioned many times in this article, it got an insta-click from me. 

But, paying too much attention to the opinions and activities of these influential people diverted my focus from credible sources of information and practical advice that could have helped me more.

I was better off taking a free or paid course on matters I wanted to excel in than reading these useless articles that were mostly PR and/or fluff pieces. 

Final thoughts

By only following a few prominent figures, you miss out on a wealth of diverse perspectives. 

There are countless experts and thinkers with valuable insights who aren’t in the spotlight but are far better experts.

While celebrities can be a source of inspiration, you need to balance their aspirational stories with practical, actionable advice from professionals who give advice relevant to your specific goals.

Ditch Forbes, Insider, The Wall Street Journal, and others, and turn on your critical thinking skills. 

Most importantly, consider your unique situation and find a well-rounded understanding of any topic. 

That way, you’ll make informed decisions that will help your career, finances, love, or whatever else you’re trying to improve.

Picture of Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.