8 Books That Inspired Elon Musk

Elon Musk's Book Recommendations

Over the years, Elon Musk - a world-renowned entrepreneur and business magnate - has talked many times about the books that changed his life. Here's a look at eight of them.

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

Musk told the New Yorker that as an “undersized and picked upon smart-aleck,” he turned to read fantasy and science fiction. “The heroes of the books I read, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and the ‘Foundation’ series, always felt a duty to save the world.”

'Benjamin Franklin' by Walter Isaacson

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

'Zero to One' by Peter Thiel

On this book, Musk said: “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and (this book) shows how.”

'Superintelligence' by Nick Bostrom

“Worth reading 'Superintelligence' by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.” Musk tweeted.

'Howard Hughes' by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

In a recent interview with CNN, Musk mentioned having just finished this book. He called it a “cautionary tale.”

​'The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams

"I read 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' which is quite positive I think and 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," said Musk while talking about the book.

'Ignition!' by John D. Clark

“There is a good book on rocket stuff called ‘Ignition!’ by John Clark that’s a really fun one,” Musk said in an interview.

'Merchants of Doubt' by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes

Musk recommended the book at a conference in 2013 and later pointed to the book's key takeaway in a tweet, saying that the same forces that denied that smoking caused cancer were now denying the danger of climate change.

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