9 Books From Elon Musk’s Reading List That Could Change Your Life

Billionaire Elon Musk loves books.

A member of SpaceX’s founding team, Jim Cantrell, said about Musk, “You know, whenever anybody asks Elon how he learned to build rockets, he says, ‘I read books.’ Well, it’s true. He devoured those books. “

As a young child, Musk was a voracious reader, and he shared how he grew up reading comics and the Encyclopedia Brittanica. In an interview with CNN in 2014, Musk described his love of books, particularly biographies, and how much he enjoys reading on his iPhone while traveling.

These nine books are just some of the books that Musk has discussed reading. Over the years, Musk shared different books he enjoys, books he recommends, and books he believes changed his life in various interviews. Musk is also a frequent tweeter and recommends books to over 90 million Twitter followers.

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Here are 9 of the books on Elon Musk’s reading list:

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

The Biography of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

In a 2014 CNN interview, Musk said he enjoys reading biographies, particularly The Biography of Benjamin Franklin, whom he describes as “one of my heroes.” The hefty book describes Franklin’s entire life, mainly how he worked to create the American Nation.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

In an interview in January 2013, Musk shared that he read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He said about the book, “it highlighted an important point which is that a lot of times, the question is harder than the answer. And if you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part. “  In a later Clubhouse Interview, he brought up the book again, saying, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is A book of philosophy disguised as a silly humor book.”

J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

 The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

In an interview with the New Yorker, Musk said, “The heroes of the books I read, The Lord of the Rings and the Foundation series, always felt a duty to save the world.” As an undersized kid, he was bullied often, and he felt comfort in reading these books.

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

On August 2, 2014, Musk tweeted his recommendation for Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom. He tweeted, “Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

When Elon Musk tweets, the world takes notice. He has discussed how the book he reads informs the decisions and paths he takes in his life.

Foundation

Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov

In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Musk discussed how the book series Foundation by Isaac Asimov influenced him to build and launch rockets (Musk founded Spacex in 2002). This science-fiction saga made him think: “It’s a futuristic version of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Let’s say you were at the peak of the Roman empire. What would you do, what action could you take to minimise decline?” The answer, he said, was to invest in technology. This book spurred him to found SpaceX, the home to the Falcon 9 reusable rocket.  On June 15, 2018 he again recommended the book, tweeting, “ “The Foundation series [is] fundamental to [the] creation of SpaceX.”

Dune

Dune Saga by Frank Herbert

The Dune Saga is a cross between science fiction and fantasy. In December of 2014, Musk tweeted, “Dune series by Herbert also brilliant. He advocates placing limits on machine intelligence.” As a tech mogul, Musk has often spoken about the dangers of AI and machine intelligence.

Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts (Beckett, Samuel)

Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett

This critically-acclaimed, two-act play was labeled one of the most important plays of our time. Elon Musk agrees.  Musk described his love for this play in a tweet, “Have recently come to appreciate the awesome, absurdist humor of Waiting for Godot. We so often wait, without knowing why, when, or where.”

Screw Business As Usual: Turning Capitalism into a Force for Good

Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson

Musk reached out to author Richard Branson on Twitter saying, “Liked Screw Business as Usual a lot” in yet another tweet. This approach should be taken to heart by all, as it really is the smart move.” As a billionaire who has built a few very successful companies, Musk certainly takes business advice to heart.

Surface Detail (Culture)

The Culture Series by Ian Banks

Musk certainly likes reading books about machine learning and AI. In a tweet in December 2014, he said, “Reading The Culture series by Banks. Compelling picture of a grand, semi-utopian galactic future. Hopefully, not too optimistic about AI.”

And lastly, we have an Honorable Mention:

A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success

A Woman Makes a Plan by Maye Musk

Elon Musk promoted his mother’s book on Twitter saying, “My Mom wrote a book”. Although he did not share if he read his mother’s book, it must be on his reading list. In this book, Maye Musk shares her advice, personal story, and lessons learned from her life as an international supermodel. 

Add these ten books recommended by Elon Musk to your reading list today!

 

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