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10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Let’s learn from a tech-moghul’s recommendations!

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him!

He loves to tweet, or rather he loves to post on X. With promises of brain chips and Mars colonies, it is Elon Musk.

With a net worth of 210.6 billion USD, he is the 2nd richest person in the world. Well, he was no.1 but then Bernard Arnault took over.

If Musk’s riches tell us one thing, it is that he must have qualities that made him reach this height.

Let’s learn from his recommended books and hope that we will be billionaires too. No harm in dreaming, right?

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

What happens when you don’t give up?

The author studied astronomy and journalism. It makes sense that he is a space journalist.

“Elon Musk just wants to get shit done.”

This book takes us to 2002 when SpaceX was founded. According to the official website ‘SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.’

The author tells us about Elon Musk’s management style. Musk focuses on hiring the right people and pushes his team to do the ‘impossible’. He personally met the first three thousand people hired by SpaceX.

“Musk made hiring a priority.”

The team was close-knit. They had game nights and ice cream runs.

In 2008, SpaceX became the first to launch a liquid-fueled, private rocket into space.

Was that achieved smoothly? Not at all. There were 3 failed launches before that.

“Musk differed from his competitors in another, important way — failure was an option.”

This book is a story of grit, passion, and commitment. Learning from it would help you pursue your goals despite failure.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Off-putting yet true, what war is really like?

Ernst Jünger is a German soldier. He fought for the German army in the First World War.

This book is his first-hand account of the war. It is based on the diaries he kept during his time as a soldier.

“We had come from lecture halls, school desks and factory workbenches, and over the brief weeks of training, we had bonded together into one large and enthusiastic group.”

The book was published in German in 1920. It has been translated many times into English. The 1929 translation is the first one. It was done by Basil Creighton.

“In war you learn your lessons, and they stay learned, but the tuition fees are high.”

The book discusses trench warfare in detail. As you can guess, it is graphic in description.

Jünger had the rank of Leutnant (2nd Lieutenant). He participated in various conflicts including the Battle of Arras and the Third Battle of Ypres.

The author’s focus is not on the causes of war or whether war is a good or bad thing. He just describes his experiences.

“Human nature is indeed indestructible.”

This book is a raw and intimate look at what war is really like. Something that thankfully, most of us will never have to experience.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Follow a human and alien duo to space!

This is a comedy Sci-Fi novel.

It tells us the story of two friends, Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect.

“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

Spoiler alert!

Thanks to his friendship with Perfect, Dent becomes the only human to survive the destruction of Earth, in an offense led by the Vogons, an alien race.

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.”

Dent learns the true identity of his friend. Perfect is an alien who is a researcher for ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

The duos’ adventure continues as they hitch rides on spaceships, get taken by Vogons, and visit distant planets.

“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”

If you want to travel to the stars while laughing, this is the right book for you.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Science or political ideology, take your pick!

Gad Saad has studied evolutionary psychology. He teaches marketing because of his work on how human behavior affects consumer decisions.

“Science should be about the pursuit of truth, and not about the defense of one’s preferred political ideology or personal beliefs.”

This book is in defense of science. Science is the pursuit of the truth. The author criticizes those whose political positions taint how they view concrete evidence.

Saad is open in his disdain for the tactics employed by the ‘woke’ left. His approach is humourous when he shares various anecdotes and incidents that show the logical inconsistencies in arguments.

“Anyone who is willing to end a relationship because of a reasoned difference of opinion is not worthy of your friendship.”

Written over 8 chapters, Saad starts with his autobiographical account of escaping war in Lebanon and coming to Canada.

He also brings us the concept of ‘idea pathogens’. These pathogens affect the human mind and its ability to be rational.

“Science is based on evidence, not politics.”

This book is a proponent of free speech and science. It invites us to have a look at our opinions and where we have allowed them to be tainted by flashy slogans and ideologies.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

The inevitable clash.

America is a superpower. China is rising to be one.

What could go wrong?

Just as conflict arises when a new sibling comes into the picture, or the daughter-in-law threatens the mother-in-law’s power, the same happens in the case of nations.

That is called Thucydides’s Trap.

“I am a congenital optimist about America, but I worry that American democracy is exhibiting fatal symptoms.”

The author gives the examples of 16 such conflicts from history. Only 4 of them didn’t end in war.

Even if the governments are not interested in war because of the obvious cost and loss, some underlying factors trigger it. Such might not occur in cases where the superpower and rising power dynamics do not exist.

Allison discusses the US-China relationships. He says that war can be avoided.

“Though deliberate crafting of strategy does not guarantee success, the absence of a coherent, sustainable strategy is a reliable route to failure.”

This book is an eye-opening look at the future political landscape of the world. Students of International relations and political studies should definitely get their hands on it.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Free markets and world prosperity, what’s the relation?

If you have developed a disdain for the word capitalism, and anything related to it, you might find this book offensive.

The author however says that words are sometimes confusing. He lays out his view of capitalism as follows.

“Free market capitalism is not really about capital, it is about handing control of the economy from the top to billions of independent consumers, entrepreneurs and workers, and allowing them to make their own decisions about what they think will improve their lives.”

The author tells us how humans are prospering greatly. More than at any time in history. He gives credit to free markets and capitalism.

“Ingenious, hard-working people will continue to strive day in and day out to supply us with the innovations and growth no matter how much we whine.”

The author even shares his own journey. As a youth, he was increasingly left-leaning.

Now he is a proponent of classic liberalism.

He says that capitalism in the form of free markets threatens the elite.

This book is an interesting view of capitalism. Even if you disagree with the author, this book is worth looking into.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Let’s time travel to ancient Greece!

This book is the second one in the 11-volume set covering the history of the world.

It is written by Will and Ariel Durant, a husband and wife duo.

“Water is the usual drink, but everyone has wine, for no civilization has found life tolerable without narcotics or stimulants.”

Will Durant was a historian while Ariel was a writer and researcher. In the first 6 volumes, only Will is listed as the author.

“No great nation is ever conquered until it has destroyed itself.”

In this book, he acquaints us with the history of ancient Greece in great detail. Through his writing, we visit the cities of Athens, Sparta, and Corinth.

The author tells us about the politics, philosophy, art, and games in Greece. He also discusses the scientific advancements and the Greek obsession with the beauty in the human body.

“In philosophy all truth is old and only error is original.”

If Greek history is your thing, surely this book should be your next read.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Are we on the cusp of creating new life?

Tegmark differentiates between Life 1.0, Life 2.0, and Life 3.0.

“…let’s instead define life very broadly, simply as a process that can retain its complexity and replicate.”

Life 1.0 is biological. It only survives and replicates. Life 2.0 is cultural. It is able to update its software e.g. skills, and intelligence but it cannot change its physical body.

Life 3.0 is where it all comes to a head. Life 3.0 can replicate, survive, and update its hardware and software.

Where is this Life 3.0?

The author theorizes that creating Life 3.0 will be possible with the advancement in artificial intelligence.

“The robot misconception is related to the myth that machines can’t control humans.”

The author impresses on humans to make the right choices. He wants humans to make sure that AI’s goals are aligned with human goals otherwise the results will be disastrous.

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

Money over survival!

Naomi Oreskes is an American science historian. She is currently teaching at Harvard University.

This book of hers is an enlightening one. It tells us how vested financial interest overrules the concern for public health and safety. Honestly, it will make you angry to read about it.

“For the past 150 years, industrial civilization has been dining on the energy stored in fossil fuels, and the bill has come due.”

The tobacco industry, pesticide industry, and others knew about the harms of their products.

What did they do?

They chose to keep scientific facts a secret. Instead, they worked with vigor to discredit any research and data against them.

“In the 1950s, the tobacco industry realized that they could protect their product by casting doubt on the science and insisting the dangers of smoking were unproven.”

Some scientists joined the ranks of the corporations and furthered their agenda.

This book calls for us to be wary of the lies being sold to us. Stay alert wherever money is involved!

10 Books Recommended by Elon Musk That You’ll Regret Not Reading Sooner

A comprehensive look at Superintelligence and what it means for us.

This book explores the benefits and challenges that will be posed by superintelligent systems.

The author agrees that there is uncertainty. We don’t know what will happen after the superintelligence explosion.

“We find ourselves in a thicket of strategic complexity, surrounded by a dense mist of uncertainty.”

Bostrom explores various ways in which superintelligence can emerge. It can be through AI development or brain emulation.

The author also discusses the control problem and misaligned objectives. We need to make sure that any AI entity has goals aligned with the prosperity of humans.

Otherwise, we are screwed.

“Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb.”

Bostrom discusses the policy challenges and the need to create long-term strategies.

The lesson of the book is… Figure out stuff in advance or get ready to be doomed!


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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