How Elon Musk Is Changing The World

Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk is not just the world’s richest man and most prolific Twitter s***poster - he also loves reading.

Whenever somebody asks him how he learned to build rockets, he says, “I read books.”

In his Reddit AMA in 2014, he noted that he learns what he needs to know to accomplish his goals through reading.

“I think most people can do this, but they often self-limit. People are more capable than what they think. If you do something like read a lot of books and talk to a lot of people, you can learn almost anything,” Musk said.

This definitely seemed to work for him and propel him to new heights in his career.

With that, here are 11 books that the tech billionaire can’t live without.

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Foundation by Isaac Asimov

As the first novel of the Foundation series, it focuses on the dying Galactic Empire, which for 12,000 years was the supreme ruler.

But Hari Seldon, the creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—which suggested a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years.

Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire to save humanity and preserve knowledge, bringing them to a bleak planet at the galaxy's edge to be a beacon of hope for future generations.

The books also inspired the Apple TV+ series of the same name Foundation.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistressby Robert A.Heinlein

Musk considered this to be one of his favorite sci-fi books, as expressed in an interview with Design& Architecture's show host Frances Anderton.

"Robert Heinlein, obviously. I like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress," he said.

Heinlein's work speaks of a prison rebellion on the Moon. The Lunar colony is in an era of uprising against their Earth-bound overlords, which is led by three unlikely individuals: a technician, a female rabble-rouser, and a professor.

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change by Naomi Orestes and Erik M. Conway

What has now become a documentary of the same name, Merchants of Doubt, is written by two science historians who argued that scientists with political and industry connections have concealed the facts surrounding public health issues.

Musk recommended this book at a D11 conference in 2013.

Taking to Twitter, he also shared a takeaway from the book as well, saying the book is "worth reading."

"Same who tried to deny smoking deaths r denying climate change," he wrote.

Stranger in a Strange LandRobert A. Heinlein

This book follows space explorers who are sent to discover Mars, but they end up lost for a generation. A new crew was eventually sent out, discovering two of the original explorers' children roaming free.

The children were brought back to Earth for questioning, which delved into the legal implications of planet ownership and economics.

Musk thinks this is one of Heinlein's best works, despite it "kind of goes off the rails at the end."

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Downby J.E. Gordon

When Musk decided to start SpaceX, he needed to learn the framework of rocket science.

One of those books happened to be Structures, a popular take on structural engineering by Gordon, a British material scientist.

"It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design," Musk told KCRW in an interview.

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

Without needing much explanation into the epic world of the Rings, Musk enjoyed this read because of the protagonists quest to save the world.

"The heroes of the books I read always felt a duty to save the world," Musk stated in an interview with The New Yorker.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Musk appreciated this read because he likes "biographies" and how Franklin started with nothing but later made remarkable contributions to science and US politics.

"I like Franklin's biography by Isaacson, it's really good," Musk said in an interview with Foundation.

"He was an entrepreneur; he started of nothing, just like a runaway kid. It was interesting to see how he is creating his business, then go to science and politics. I could say he is one of the people I most admire…He did what needed to be done at the time it needed to be done."

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategiesby Nick Bostrom

Bostrom's book makes a bold inquiry into what would occur if computational intelligence overthrows human intelligence.

And Musk tweeted out the need to be "super careful" with that inquiry.

"Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes," he tweeted.

Howard Hughes: His Life and Madnessby Donald Barlett and James Steele

This book is about the record-setting pilot, engineer, and film producer and his business endeavors, which were portrayed in the movie, The Aviator, starring Leonardo di Caprio.

"Definitely want to make sure I don't grow my fingernails too long and start peeing in jars," Musk said in a video interview with CNN.

Hughes pushed the boundaries of flying.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Arthur Dent, the protagonist, is snatched up from Earth before a cosmic construction team disintegrates the planet to build a freeway.

A supercomputer system obtains the "answer" to a purposeful life, which is the number 42 — but the question was never addressed.

Speaking with Alison van Diggelen at Fresh Dialogs, Musk said, "If you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part. So, to the degree that we can better understand the universe, then we can better know what questions to ask."

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Futureby Peter Thiel

Thiel, who is the co-founder of Paypal, presents a view of optimism for the future of progress in the US when it comes to thinking about innovation, which can also be discovered in unexpected places.

"Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and (this book) shows how," Musk said about the book.

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