What are Elon Musk’s top 5 recommended books? Here are the fascinating titles that inspired this entrepreneur.
Elon Musk recommended books – the top 5 book list
Coming up is a reading list of the top 5 books recommended by Elon Musk.
Lesser-known facts about Elon Musk
Before we get to Elon Musk’s book recommendations, let’s first take a look at some of the most interesting facts about him:
He almost sold his company to Google – Elon Musk is most famous for Tesla, a company that produces futuristic electric cars. It earns him billions, but that wasn’t always the case. Musk was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2013 and tried to sell the business to Google, but the deal fell through.
He also tried to sell Tesla to Apple – Musk faced another crisis in 2018 when he had a considerable production problem. He couldn’t see a way out, so he tried to arrange a meeting with Tim Cook to discuss plans to sell Tesla. Luckily for Musk, Cook refused.
Musk fears AI – Although most of his work features cutting-edge technology, Musk is aware of the risks associated with unchecked AI development. To that end, he founded a research company to promote and advance friendly AI called OpenAI.
He rented a property to make a living – More than 30 years ago, Musk was a student at Pennsylvania University. He had financial problems, so he and his roommate started renting a house for parties, earning $5 per visitor.
Musk is a college dropout – Musk went to Stanford for his physics Ph.D. program in 1995. However, he dropped out just two days later due to his conviction that he could better utilize his skill set by harnessing the power of the internet. He started his first business, Zip2, after college.
Top 5 books recommended by Elon Musk
Here are the books Elon Musk recommends.
Human Compatible by Stuart Russell
In Human Compatible, Stuart Russell explains why artificial intelligence could spell doom for humanity. Musk has also been vocal about the topic. The title draws your attention to the problems people are facing and suggests how to prevent them.
Stuart Russell, a professor at Berkeley, is a computer scientist who has contributed massively to technology, including AI.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Steve Jobs was a self-made man, forging his own career path in the technology industry. This biography chronicles his life, with all his innovations and eccentricity.
The book Steve Jobs recounts the titular figure’s earliest experience with LSD and spirituality to his peak as a global icon. It describes his ventures and the problems he faced to get to the top.
The author, Walter Isaacson, is an American professor, journalist, and writer. He’s the CEO and president of the Aspen Institute and chair of CNN.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
The central theme of Zero to One is that humanity has a tremendous potential to explore uncharted frontiers and create inventions. The writer maintains that you can achieve progress in any area of business or industry. It just boils down to your ability to think for yourself.
Replicating what someone else has done doesn’t do much good. There won’t be another Bill Gates to build an operating system from scratch. In other words, you won’t become a champion by competing in today’s market. You need to avoid competition and create something new.
Peter Thiel is a billionaire entrepreneur, political activist, venture capitalist, and co-founder of several companies, including Founders Fund, Palantir Technologies, and PayPal. Plus, he was the first outside investor in Mark Zuckerberg’s company Facebook.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
As previously mentioned, Musk is cautious about the excessive use of AI. He fears it could become more dangerous than nukes.
If you wish to learn more about the risks, Superintelligence is the right book for you. It tells you what could happen if human intelligence falls behind computational intelligence.
The author of the book is Nick Bostrom. This Swedish philosopher is best known for his work on superintelligence risks, reversal testing, human enhancement ethics, and existential risks.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Elon Musk read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when he was a teenager in South Africa. The science-fiction novel was crucial in forming his beliefs.
This book has a unique story. It follows the events just seconds before aliens demolish the Earth to free up space for galactic freeways. Ford Prefect picks up his friend Arthur Dent, and they embark on an existential adventure in space.
Douglas Adams was a British screenwriter. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was his most famous work, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
The above books are some of the titles Elon Musk enjoyed the most. However, there are many other titles worth reading, according to Musk, including:
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes
Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J.E. Gordon
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness by James B. Steele and Donald L. Barlett
Inversions by Iain M. Banks
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Dune by Frank Herbert (also recommended by Amazon’s owner Jeff Bezos)
Deep Learning by Ian Goodfellow and Yoshua Bengio
Our Final Invention by James Barrat
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson
Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D. Clark
Lying by Sam Harris
Find the recommended titles and much more on Speechify
If you want to check out Musk’s recommendations in the audiobook format, Speechify Audiobooks is a great choice. The library features 70,000+ (and counting) sci-fi, self-help, and motivational titles. Try Speechify Audiobooks today and upgrade your book experience. Plus, receive your first premium audiobook for free upon signup.
Did Elon Musk read two books a day?
Elon Musk’s brother claims that the founder of Tesla used to read two books a day.
How many hours a day does Elon Musk read?
Elon Musk used to read for about 10 hours a day.
What books did Elon Musk read to learn rocket science?
Musk read many books to learn rocket science, including Rocket Propulsion Elements and Fundamentals of Astrodynamics.
What was Elon Musk’s favorite book as a kid?
Musk’s favorite book growing up was Lord of the Flies.