The 8 Books That Changed Tech Genius Elon Musk’s Life

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By Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

By now, “Elon Musk” is a household name. Such is because the tech genius founded Tesla, PayPal, and SpaceX, and continues to propose and develop seemingly “impossible” solutions to problems which persist in the modern age.

Of course, Musk didn’t get to where he is today without hard work — or a developed interest in reading. In fact, the SpaceX founder says he developed a voracious love for flipping through books when he was quite young. At nine-years-old, for instance, he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Additionally, he would immerse himself in novels for more than 10 hours a day.

When asked how he learned about rockets, Musk responded that he “read books.” Without a doubt, it is his love of reading that skyrocketed (pun intended) his career and made him one of the most successful business men in the world.

Over the past few years, Musk has relinquished details on the most profound books that have changed his life. Following are the top eight:


Structures Or Why Things Dont Fall Down

1) “Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” by J.E. Gordon

This book, in particular, offers a lighter take on the science behind SpaceX. In an interview with KCRW, Musk said: “It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design.”


Benjamin Franklin

2) “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson

Everybody needs heroes, and Benjamin Franklin is one of Musk’s. In an interview with Foundation’s Kevin Rose, Musk stated: “You can see how [Franklin] was an entrepreneur. He was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.”



3) “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson

In the same interview with Rose, Musk admitted that he was influenced by the biography of the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Quotes such as “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new” and “The important thing is not to stop questioning” have shaped Musk’s visions.


Superintelligence Paths Dangers Strategies

4) “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom

Numerous times, Musk has expressed concern over developing artificial intelligence. According to the entrepreneur, Bostrom’s book is “worth reading” as it reveals the potential challenges of developing computational intelligence which might surpass human intelligence.


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5) “Merchants of Doubt” by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes

The book is essentially an argument between two historians who believe scientists with political and corporate connections have purposefully muddled the facts surrounding public health issues, such as smoking. The recommendation for this book was made on Twitter in 2013.



6) “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

The classic novel left an impression on the PayPal founder. ”The heroes of the books I read always felt a duty to save the world,” Musk told the New Yorker.


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7) “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel

Based on notes from a popular class Thiel taught at Stanford University in 2012, the book “offers an interesting exploration of the process of building super successful companies,” said Musk. As a result, it’s on his “list of books to read.”



8) The “Foundation” trilogy by Isaac Asimov

Musk recommended Asimov’s book in 2013 during an interview with The Guardian. He said the book taught him that “civilizations move in cycles.” It was this insight that moved him to pursue  his out-of-the-box ambitions

“Given that this is the first time in 4.5 billion years where it’s been possible for humanity to extend life beyond Earth,” Musk said, “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.”

Read more: Elon Musk Funds Project To Educate 260 Million Children In Africa



I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here

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