8 books that inspire Elon Musk

8 books that inspire Elon Musk

What makes one person different from another on a planet of 7.837 billion people? Age, gender, religion, social status, upbringing, or education?

Everything impacts us, but for some reason, children of the same parents, school friends, and graduates of the same college are not equally successful in life. Some go with the flow, some keep higher pace, and there are those who turn the world upside down and change the worldview of the rest (those 7.674 billion).

“I think, therefore I am,” - René Descartes

Diverse visions of the same thing, an extraordinary look at simple things, the ability to make the complex simple, and the unimaginable – reality. Thinking is the global difference that lies at the heart of people’s success.

“People stop thinking when they cease to read,” Denis Diderot

Thinking is shaped by many facts, and the timing of receiving information is the key. Now, in the era of the Internet, there are countless volumes of information for every taste and request. Therefore, more and more questions arise: what to read, how do one understand what they need, what to choose to make reading effective and not a waste of time?

Start simple and think about what the one who inspires you reads, the one you want to be like, the one whose life you admire, the one you follow on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, the one whose blog you open to scroll while having a cup of morning coffee?

So what does Elon Musk read?

What made the greats great

There are famous names here and not too famous, but how much do we know about each of them? It is the case worth going beyond a Wikipedia article.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

“He was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid,” Musk.

Franklin is one of Musk’s heroes.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

If you recall some of Einstein’s famous quotes, like “The important thing is not to stop questioning,” and “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new,” they are very similar to Musk’s approach to the vision of his company.

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson

Yes, Tesla, an inventor, futurist visionary, and showman who embodies creative ideals in world-changing technologies (doesn't ring any bells, anyone?). The book is about how difficult life is for innovators. Warning: the author often dives deeply into the technical aspects of electricity, which not everyone will like.

Twelve Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure by William Bolitho

For those interested in what drives highly effective people and how to act to become a successful leader.

As for work and life

The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov

"[The Foundation series is] fundamental to [the] creation of SpaceX", Musk.

The book that SpaceX wouldn’t exist without, what else do you need to know about it to start reading immediately? The embodiment of the basics of science fiction, where the name of Asimov takes the first line, and not only in alphabetical terms. “If you’ve never read these novels, then you’re in for a treat, and even if you’ve already read them, then you owe it to yourself to reread them because they’re still great,” Allen Steele.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

“This author has built multiple breakthrough companies, and this book shows how,” Elon Musk.

The book, based on notes from a popular class Thiel taught at Stanford University in 2012, focuses on the need for unique thinking among would-be startup founders.

About the important things

Lying by Sam Harris

“Excellent cover art and lots of good reasons not to lie!” Musk.

Tim Ferriss: “Humans have evolved to lie well, and no doubt you’ve seen the social lubrication at work. In many cases, we might not think of it as a true lie: perhaps a “white” lie once in a blue moon, the omission of a sensitive detail here and there, false encouragement of others when we see no benefit in dashing someone’s hopes, and the list goes on. In Lying, Sam Harris demonstrates how to benefit from being brutally but pragmatically honest. It’s a compelling little book with a big impact.”

​Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

There are immensely important ideas hidden behind the rather flimsy facade of science fiction. If you’re wondering what the hell is going on with this world, I suggest starting here. The main thing is not to stop.

So what are you waiting for?