Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, is one of the most inspirational inventors of this age. The best about Elon Musk is that he makes us dream big. Elon Musk recommended books include epic works of fantasy like The Lord of the Rings trilogy to complex how-to guides to building rockets that are crucial for his success.
We looked through past interviews and autobiography of Elon Musk to come up with this list of 12 books recommended by Elon Musk.
Table of Contents
Here is a list of 10 books recommended by Elon Musk that can be the reason for business and personal success:
The Lord of the Rings
This book is written by J.R.R Tolkein and is among the most of Elon Musk’s favorite books. Lord of the Rings helped Elon Musk to shape his vision for his future. Elon Musk told his friend,
“The heroes of the books I read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ always felt a duty to save the world.”
The “Foundation” trilogy by Isaac Asimov
In addition to The Lord of the Rings, ‘Foundation Series’ is a scientific novel that inspired Elon Musk to pursue a business in space exploration. This book Elon Musk’s early interest in science and fantasy.
In an interview, Musk explained why he was inspired by Foundation Series? He said,
“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 minimize decline?”
Now, Elon Musk is doing his best to build a civilization on Mars by 2050. According to Elon Musk,
“Given that this is the first time in 4.5 billion years where it’s been possible for humanity to extend the life beyond Earth, it seems like we’d be wise to act while the window was open and not count on the fact it will be open a long time.”
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
This is of the favorite books recommended by Elon Musk. This book helps you to grasp the far-reaching implications of artificial intelligence on human life and our world as a whole. Musk has repeatedly warned against the dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence. In 2014, Musk tweeted that:
“We need to be super careful with AI as it is potentially more dangerous than nukes.”
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
This book counts among Elon Musk’s favorite books that explain how Einstein became an inventor after many frustrating years of working as a patent officer through letters Einstein wrote. Musk is a big fan of Walter Isaacson’s works. In a 2012 interview, Musk recommended Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein, a man who left a profound mark on science and human history.
The book is based on Einstein’s personal letters and discovers how he went from a young, frustrated patent officer to a Nobel Prize winner. It’s a story that likely inspired Musk.
Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J.E. Gordon
When Musk started SpaceX, he was from the coding background but took it upon himself to learn the fundamentals of rocket science. ‘Structures’ is among Elon Musk book recommendations that clearly explains why bridges don’t collapse, or skyscrapers fall over.
Musk tells Frances Anderton, creator of KCRW’s Design and Architecture show:
“It is really, really good if you want a primer on the structural design.”
Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks
The seventh book in the Culture Series, Look to Windward, takes 800 years in the future. The 50 billion people who inhabit the fictional planet Masaq, are all grieving the aftermath of one of the most horrific wars society has ever seen. An original novel that anyone who is like Musk and enjoys science fiction would want to pick up.
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
This book is recommended by Elon Musk for exploring the future of artificial intelligence.
In Life 3.0, Max Tegmark, the MIT professor, focuses on keeping artificial intelligence beneficial for human life and ensuring that technological progress remains aligned with humanity’s future goals.
It’s one of the few Elon Musk’s recommended books that deal with the possibility of AI as a force for good rather than evil.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel says that if you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets. In this book, the author discusses that progress in business is not limited to the tech industry but applies to all the industries.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
This book is a childhood favorite of Musk. Musk said that this comedic scientific novel was instrumental to his thinking.
In 2015, when Elon Musk was interviewed about his favorite spaceship from science fiction, he said:
“I’d have to say that would be the one in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that is powered by the improbability drive.”
Elon Musk was so captivated with this novel that in 2018, when Musk launched a Tesla Roadster into space, he wrote the words, “Don’t Panic!” an iconic quote from the book, on the car’s center screen.
Ignition: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D. Clark
This is one of the top scientific books recommended by Elon Musk that was crucial in helping him get a handle on rockets.
Elon Musk took the book’s lesson to heart when working on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket system. SpaceX used cryogenically cooled RP-1, a type of kerosene used in jets, and liquid oxygen to combust the fuel used to launch the rocket.