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If he gives Musk nightmares I'm in!

Anyone who wrote a book called the Parasitic Mind is my kind of guy. In fact, I can't wait to dive in.


Speaking of parasites, if more people read the Spritzler Report and less people listened to Ivy League educated pencil-necks the world would be a much better place...at least for me.


The Man Whose Musings Fuel Elon Musk’s Nightmares

A marketing professor in Canada has formed a bromance with the billionaire around what


By Tim Higgins, WSJ

May 11, 2024 5:30 am ET


Elon Musk’s bedtime routine is giving him nightmares.


To hear him in public is to catalog a running list of his greatest fears: end-of-the-world type stuff, killer AI threats and, in recent years, the scourge of what he calls the Woke Mind Virus.


“I listen to podcasts about the fall of civilizations to go to sleep,” Musk said this past week during an appearance at the Milken Institute conference. “So perhaps that might be part of the problem.”


One provocateur, in particular, has caught his attention of late: Gad Saad, a marketing professor at Concordia University in Montreal, and author of the book “The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense.”


To read the book, which was first published in 2020, is to see reflections of Musk’s most contentious comments during the past few years, as the billionaire has increasingly expressed concerns about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and illegal immigration overtaking the U.S.


“I read your insightful book on the parasitic woke mind virus,” Musk tweeted praise to Saad earlier this year. “It gave me nightmares.”


Both men share a common embrace of social media. On X, Saad has almost 900,000 followers and on YouTube more than 300,000 subscribers. Both men have separately appeared on the popular Joe Rogan podcast several times.


Along the way, Musk and Saad have developed something of a public bromance. This year alone, Musk has interacted with Saad’s X account more than 140 times.


All of the attention has apparently helped boost interest in the book. Since going on sale, it has sold more than 120,000 copies across all formats, according to Skyhorse Publishing, which acquired the book’s original publisher, Regnery Publishing. Paperback sales jumped 94% in the first four months of 2024 compared with a year earlier, while the digital version rose 254%.


“We just did an unexpected rush reprint of 10,000 copies and I anticipate another very soon,” Tony Lyons, president of Skyhorse Publishing, said in an email.


The book is an extension of Saad’s career exploring how human evolution informs modern consumer behavior—a controversial way of looking at the world that is sometimes called evolutionary psychology.


Over the years, his academic writings have covered a range of disciplines, including, for example, how menstrual cycles influence food and appearance-related consumption; and how the use of waist-to-hip ratios in online escort ads illustrate what Saad describes as “near-universal” preferences among men for certain female attributes.


Saad wrote that “The Parasitic Mind” was inspired, in part, by his experience in academia, where he described a herd mindset that chastised innovative thinkers. He described pushback he encountered, including his ideas being labeled as “sexist nonsense” and his efforts to use “biologically-based theorizing” to explain consumer behavior being dismissed as too reductionistic.


“The West is currently suffering from such a devastating pandemic, a collective malady that destroys people’s capacity to think rationally,” the 59-year-old Saad wrote at the beginning of his book. “Unlike other pandemics where biological pathogens are to blame, the current culprit is composed of a collection of bad ideas, spawned on university campuses, that chip away at our edifices of reason, freedom, and individual dignity.”


His outspoken statements—such as last year on the Rogan podcast, in which he mocked the Quebec French accent as “an affront to human dignity”—have drawn criticism back home in Canada.


“There are several accents in Quebec and this is what sets us apart around the world,” Pascale Déry, Quebec’s minister of higher education, responded in French. “This is what makes us special and we are very proud of it!”


Another inspiration for his book, Saad writes, was his experience as a boy fleeing with other Jews from his home in Lebanon during that country’s civil war. In the book, he detailed some of the horrors he experienced, including the kidnapping of his parents.


“The Lebanese war taught me early about the ugliness of tribalism and religious dogma,” Saad wrote. “It likely informed my subsequent disdain for identity politics, as I grew up in an ecosystem where the group to which you belonged mattered more than your individuality.”


Musk has said his concerns about Woke Mind Virus, his way of labeling progressive liberal beliefs that he says are overly politically correct and stifling to public debate and free speech, helped fuel his desire to acquire the social-media company Twitter turned X in late 2022. It is on that platform where Musk, 52 years old, has aired many of his concerns.


His increasingly public stance on contentious social issues has had an effect on his companies. Some advertisers have fled X in the midst of concerns about the drama around his ownership, and data suggests car buyers who identify as Democrats were turned off last fall from buying vehicles made by Tesla, where he is chief executive, after his outbursts.

For his part, Musk says his politics are “fairly moderate”—what he describes as his supporting safe cities, secure borders, a neutral judiciary and sensible spending. And, he adds, what he calls being “pro environment.”


Still, Musk is prone to painting risks at their most extreme and gravitating to others with similar world views.


“For many years now, I have warned that the path that the West is taking will result in civil war. It might take 5 years, 50 years, or 100 years but it is inevitable,” Saad tweeted on the day of Tesla’s quarterly earnings call last month.


Before joining that call, Musk was on X, agreeing with Saad in a thread of responses. “War will come whether we want it or not,” Musk posted.


The full extent of their relationship couldn’t be learned, though Saad has suggested that the two trade emails and private messages.


At one point this year, Saad shared online that Musk had slipped into his private messages a sassy question: How is that you’re surviving in Canada amidst the infestation of the woke mind viruses?


“I thought, ‘Oh my god, what a cool life I lead that I can just receive out of the blue such a DM from Elon.’”


Write to Tim Higgins at tim.higgins@wsj.com

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