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5 Things I Learned From Tesla’s Anti-Handbook

Original Post:

Tesla ’s Anti-Handbook Handbook leaked several days ago.

I read it and want to share what I learned.

Create a unique style of company culture

Tesla is known for its mavericks. Just like its founder Elon Musk.

Regardless of criticism, Tesla looks much different in the automotive industry.

For instance, Telsa owning a specialty store, building an electric vehicle charging station, and saying no to traditional advertising.

This employee ’s handbook also reflects this company ’s unique style, it is called The Anti-Handbook Handbook.


This manual contains its own tones, style, with some proudness in the words. This is the beginning:

We’re Tesla. We’re changing the world. We’re willing to rethink everything.

We’re different and we like it that way.

Being different allows us to do what no one else is doing;

to do what others tell us impossible.

Sounds like Apple, right?

It’s cool to keep the uniqueness of the company’s brand, this will help much in marketing. It catches people’s eyes even without ads, and we just could not ignore them.

Communicate directly and keep simple

This manual just contains four pages of content, compared with nearly hundreds of pages and filled with policies and rules in a traditional employee’s manual.

It is written in plain, easy-to-understand words. Some sentences even seem aggressive and harsh.

Here are some sentences:

“You’re tardy” is something kids are told in school. This isn’t school.

If you’re sick, stay at home. Don’t get rest of us sick.

Our assumption will be that if you don’t call and don’t show up for work, you’re a jerk.

Brief sentences and plain words empower simplicity and help me remember the content.


These show their pattern of communication and collaboration.

Communicate everything directly is an important thing in meeting, writing, and presentation. Don’t do the trivial things which will distract others.

Keep open and fast-changing

No company is perfect, a company needs to evolve like an organism.

Tesla seems ready to change rapidly, and encourage employees to find problems in the company, report them and solve them.

It motivates employees to talk with anyone in the company freely, including Elon.

Your good ideas mean nothing if you keep them to yourself.

If you see opportunities to improve the way we do things, speak up even if these are outside your area of responsibility.

Anyone at Tesla can and should email or talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company.

Set a high expectation


Traditional employee manuals often set out the low bar for employees not to be fired.

This one just sets a high expectation for employees.

Tesla wants ambitious and aggressive employees, those who treat work as their own business, but not only a job.

“We prefer to have incredibly high standards and to hire exceptional people who enjoy pushing themselves to perform at the highest levels every day.”

The central idea of this manual is to tell employees to try to do everything in your power to maximize your performance.

Your #1 job – everyone’s #1 job, is making this company a success.

Make sure you’re having fun at work.

If you aren’t having fun at some level, you’ll be unhappy. We don’t want that.

Finding the fun of working is a high expectation, most people just treat their jobs as a way of making money.

Telsa gives employees trust and responsibility but does not give them too many chances to do stupid things.

“If you do something stupid…you may be asked to leave. We can’t afford to waste our time with stupid stuff when we have so many important things to get done.”

Some final thoughts

Create a suitable culture and find the right way of doing things are particularly important for a great company.

Like many other successful companies, Telsa created its own unique culture and way of doing things. This manual told us clearly what Tesla wants and what it won’t welcome.

It seems that Telsa is not similar to typical startup companies in Silicon Valley.

Sounds tougher and stressful to work in it, but if you are a high-driven guy, maybe you will love it.

It’s Hell and Heaven.

Here it’s the whole manual in case you want to read it.

Top comments (1)

boobo94 profile image
Bogdan Alexandru Militaru • Edited

Hi @snj ,

Very nice article and very useful. I really appreciate the information that you shared and I was very happy to find The Anti-Handbook Handbook from Tesla.

I wrote an article The work environment is your second home where I refer to your article. Feel free to read my article and share it or ping back to my blog if you consider.

Good luck there!