Elon Musk is now considered Earth’s most future-oriented person. He is an American entrepreneur, inventor and investor. He is best known for his role as CEO of electric-car manufacturer Tesla Motors, and as co-founder of online money transfer system PayPal, and of commercial space program SpaceX.

“Elon Musk is an inventor and builder wrapped into one, kind of like a combination of Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs, on steroids,” Randy Ottinger, Executive Vice President at Kotter International, once said.


Here are the 10 books Elon Musk – “Tesla Founder and Billionaire” wants you to read,

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Back when Elon Musk was a moody teen growing up in Pretoria, South Africa, he went looking for the meaning of life in the work of grumpy philosophers. It didn’t help. Then he came upon The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which taught him that the hardest part was to properly phrase the question but that once this was done the answer was easy. It changed his whole perspective.

2. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Musk has said that Benjamin Franklin is one of his heroes, a man who started from nothing and who was a runaway kid. Elon experienced a pretty similar story, growing up in South Africa, going to school in Canada and then transferring to UPEN to finally use an invitation to Stanford’s PhD program to land his feet in Silicon Valley.

3. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Musk learned a lot from Einstein’s biography. Musk’s first college degree was a BS in physics, and his three companies–SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity–all depend upon a deep and ongoing understanding of physics and chemistry. Einstein essentially created our modern understanding of the world, so it’s only logical that Musk would be interested in the man’s life and work.

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

During his upbringing in South Africa, Musk reported that he experienced tremendous looniness that he aimed to overcome by reading science fiction and fantasy novels. The books he read shaped his vision to save the world through the influence of the heroes portrayed on them.

5. Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

biography of the eccentric filmmaker and aviation tycoon who famously got a little nutty at the end of his life. But it’s easy to see why Musk would be attracted to Hughes, who worked in multiple industries and pushed the boundaries of flying.

6. Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J.E. Gordon

Musk is an entrepreneur, and as all successful people on the business of entrepreneurship he is a proactive man with an autodidact mindset. The following book helped him get started when he was launching Space X to form the basics he needed to learn about rocket science.

7. Ignition!: An informal history of liquid rocket propellants by John D. Clark

This insider’s account of the early years of rocketry captures the excitement of researching and developing technologies that lie outside the realm of computer science. While we’re accustomed to think of technological progress in terms of Moore’s law, in a few short years these engineers went from launching metal tubes small enough to hold in your hand to propelling a two ton metal capsule containing three humans all the way to the moon. With his SpaceX venture, Musk clearly sees himself as carrying on this tradition.

8. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom explains his view on what would happen if computational intelligence surpassed human intelligence. Musk is a man of great curiosity who runs three extremely successful companies and who once tweeted “We need to be careful with  artificial intelligence”

9. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

“Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how” Musk once said in an interview. From the man he shared his first major breakthrough with when PayPal went public. Peter Thiel is one of the most successful man in the Valley and his book on How to build the future is just great.

10. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

This award-winning science-fiction novel, originally published in 1966, paints the picture of a dystopia not too far in the future. It’s exactly the kind of vivid fantasy world that would satisfy an active imagination like Musk’s.

About Author

Biplab Ghosh

Biplab lives his life around technology and is particularly keen to explore the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Always looking for new ideas, and ways that can make things simpler. He is a geek with the flair for travel and has great passion for music and theatres.

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