Elon Musk is among the top influential as well as wealthiest people of the world who always dreams big and inspires everyone to dream beyond limitations. Apart from being a multi-billionaire businessman, he is also a book reader and hence we will discuss his top 13 recommendations in this article.
As opposed to many recommendations of Warren Buffett, Elon Musk suggests everyone read all kinds of books be it fiction or non-fiction. Being a fiction lover, I am grateful to Musk for recommending some of the best fiction books too since they expand your imagination and instills creativity in your mind. From classic sci-fi to non-fiction books, Elon Musk credits all kinds of books for his success.
There is a general saying, “When Musk is not building rockets and tunnels or cars, he is busy reading books.” Elon Musk has been an avid reader since his childhood and used to read science novels for about 10 hours a day. At the age of 9, he had read the entire Encylopedia of Britannica. His persistent book reading was vital in launching his career and creating history.
Most of us doesn’t have the luxury of reading books with our busy lifestyle. Even though many successful entrepreneurs credit books for their success still many find it difficult to spare some time to read. Without wasting any time, let’s roll towards the exciting book recommendations of Elon Musk.
Top 13 Elon Musk Recommendations
Here are the top 13 books which shaped the career of revolutionary entrepreneur i.e., Elon Musk.
1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Steve Jobs is also one of the influential and successful entrepreneurs in Technical industry like Musk and it comes as no surprise that Musk recommends this book as one of the best to learn valuable lessons from Steve Jobs itself. This book tells the story of battles that Steve faced during his life as well as the achievements and successful ventures including Apple.
The author took hundreds of interviews of the family, relatives, friends and narrates the epic, audacious and adventurous life of the innovative entrepreneur.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
2. Zero to one by Peter Theil
Founder of Paypal, Pete Theil wrote this book for future entrepreneurs focusing on how to work on a startup and take a business to a high level. This book mainly focuses on monopolistic firms and explores how a startup can predict its future better and ensure its success.
The author portrays the work of Cashflow and its importance in business. He also uses the examples and lessons from various entrepreneurs by integrating them with economics. It starts with learning to ask questions so that you find the way to find your value in unexpected places.
Elon also praised this book on Twitter by saying that, “Peter Theil has built several breakthrough companies and this book shows how.”
“Brilliant thinking is rare, but Courage is in even shorter supply than genius”
3. Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway
The author uses this book to portray the brutal clarity on how a handful of scientists denied the scientifically proven facts and misrepresented the world through media on various topics from Tobacco use to environmental changes in order to aid several corporate sectors.
Musk recommended this book at a press conference in 2013 and later shared some of the key takeaways from this book in a tweet.
“For the past 150 years, industrial civilization has been dining on the energy stored in fossil fuels, and the bill has come due. Yet, we have sat around the dinner table denying that it is our bill, and doubting the credibility of the man who delivered it.”
4. Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
Artificial Intelligence is the new future of the world. But is it really important for humankind? What if machines surpass the general intelligence of humans? The use of AI is always a risk and worth more than nukes.
As humankind is the dominant of all species right now, it could be different in the future due to the dangers posed by unchecked Artificial intelligence and so humans must be super careful with it.
To know how all this could be possible, this book must be read as it answers all the questions and clears the doubt against the potential dangers of society. Elon Musk had recommended this book in 2014 as it will help to understand the power of computational intelligence.
“Human life, at its best, is fantastic. I’m asking you to create something even greater. Life that is truly humane.”
5. Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson
Richard Branson is one of the famous and admired business person who is also the founder of Virgin Group that comprises of around 400 companies.
It is a simple, quick and motivational book written as a biography in which the author unfolds key lessons from his life he learned while building his business career to help others negate similar issues.
Screw Business shows how businesses can change the way of life of everyone around the world and make it a better place by not doing business in a similar manner where the value of profit should be decreased and increase the way of living for everyone. Since, Richard believes that businesses are a major force of society and therefore should be used for good purposes.
For anyone wishing to enter into the business world, this book must be in your reading list.
“For those who think business exists to make a profit, I suggest they think again. Business makes a profit to exist. Surely it must exist for some higher, nobler purpose than that”
6. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
A land where summers last for decades and winters a lifetime, winter is coming and with it, dead are walking. Elon Musk praised this book via a tweet, “Best books in recent years imo are Iain Banks & George Martin.“
One of the best fantasy books among the series of 7 books each containing the best literature and constant thrill with two more editions on the way. George R.R. Martin has acclaimed international acclaim for this epic fantasy. Epic TV Show “Game of Thrones” was based on this book.
An epic tale of seven kingdoms ruled by one King and then overthrown by another after centuries goes on with a horrifying past coming back with a long winter to end the living which must be stopped with unity between enemies. Unexpected events rate it among one of the best fiction novels.
“Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born”
7. Structures or Why Things Don’t fall Down by J.E. Gordon
According to Business Insider, this book is one of the many to inspire Elon Musk to build Space X. This book gives a similar view on science behind Space X and many different structures around the world in a very simple manner.
For many students who find it difficult to learn physics can take this book as a reference for easy understanding. In an interview, Musk praised the book, “It is really really good if you want a primer on structural design.“
In this book, the author uses witty proses and accessible language of different principles to negate difficult terms of architecture and engineering for everyone.
“Survival became a matter of chasing and being chased, eating and being eaten”
8. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
Musk was greatly influenced by the great Albert Einstein. Isaacson in his beautifully pictured the life of Albert Einstein, how a person struggling to get a teaching job became one of the most successful scientists.
This biography is a witness to what creativity can achieve. From being a normal person failing in marriage to being the creator of atoms and opened the mysteries of universe.
He is an inspiration for almost everyone and why wouldn’t he be. His influence glares in his quotes itself. Some of the famous quotes of Einstein are: “Imagination is more important than knowledge“, “In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”
9. The Foundation by Isaac Asimov
One of the books that led Elon Musk into reading fantasy and sci-fi books. Asimov’s books taught him that Civilizations move in cycles. A lesson which embraced Musk into achieving his ambitions, he revealed in a interview.
The Foundation series by Asimov is divided into 3 editions along with two sequels and two prequels. It is one of the influential sci-fi novels with some breathtaking action and daring ideas.
In this book, the author explored the rise and fall of civilization since the human involvement has led to the destruction as is human nature and so he imagines how one might endeavour to keep humanity alive beyond that point. Along with it, the author manages to twist the story with adventure and thrill.
“To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well”
10. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
One of the best books among my fiction collection. Though I wasn’t interested in reading it, eventually I did and hasn’t regretted the decision.
Other than Foundation by Isaac Asimov, Lord of the rings is among the best fiction books of Elon Musk. New York Times in 2009 reported that this book helped Musk to shape his vision of future self.
A beautifully constructed storyline with amazing characters, a merciless villain, variety of beasts and creatures, etc. makes it one of a great combination for any reader to enjoy their reading time.
“A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship”
11. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
How Artificial Intelligence affects the crime, war, love, society and our own sense of being human and who better than Max Tegmark to show us. A professor in MIT who helped the researchers in ensuring the AI beneficial for humans.
In this book, the author deals with the possibility of using AI for the betterment of humans rather than as an evil force for the world.
This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn’t shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues—from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.
“There’s no better guarantee of failure than convincing yourself that success is impossible, and therefore never even trying”
12. Lying by Sam Harris
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist and a best-selling author who believes that most of the human problems could be decreased just by telling truth in situations where most of us hide behind lies to run away from the situation.
This book explains why the act of lying is a dangerous act. Any lie from the smallest to the massive ones could lead to a disaster at some point in life. The only way of avoiding is by simply being truthful.
“By lying, we deny others a view of the world as it is. Our dishonesty not only influences the choices they make, it often determines the choices they can make—and in ways we cannot always predict. Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to”
13. The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
In one of the tweets recently Elon Musk praised Iain M. Banks as one of the best writers in the recent years. According to one of the sources, Musk reviewed it as, “Compelling picture of a grand, semi-utopian galactic future. Hopefully not too optimistic about AI.“
It is also recommended by Jeff Bezos. The book consists of the story of ancient people living in Gzilt civilization. It’s the end days of the civilization and the people must follow the path of other civilization to elevate themselves to a more rich and complex existence.
“One should never regret one’s excesses, only one’s failures of nerve”
Elon Musk is a successful entrepreneur who is also believed to be an alien on earth due to his extreme success and high ambitions such as SpaceX, Tesla and many more on the way.
He has been an avid reader since his childhood and has lot to suggest to everyone in many genres. These 13 recommendations should be among your reading list as you will definitely like them.
Being a reader of some of these books, I would certainly ask you to start reading them and share your views with us in the comments section.
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