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10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Learn about AI, capitalism, history, and more

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)
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From a bluebird to X…

Twitter had an extraordinary journey, all thanks to Elon Musk.

Elon Musk is a well-known businessman and an investor whose name reminds us of Tesla and SpaceX. Coming from a wealthy African family, he came to Canada in his youth.

He went on to go to the University of Pennsylvania in the US. His success story is not hidden from anyone.

Today, we are bringing you the reads recommended by Elon Musk.

Let’s start!

Source: Books recommended/praised/mentioned by Elon Musk on Twitter/X

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Is the US-China war inevitable?

Graham Allison is the former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans.

In this book, he focuses on the possibly inevitable clash between China and the US.

“Thucydides’s Trap refers to the natural, inevitable discombobulation that occurs when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power.”

China is a fast-rising power. This is what the author discusses in part 1 of the book. In 3 years China produced and used more cement than the US did for the whole of the twentieth century.

“…China built the equivalent of Europe’s entire housing stock in just 15 years.”

Allison goes on to discuss examples from history. He takes 16 examples where the already-in-power and the rising power were at odds.

In 12 of those cases, war occurred. But the war doesn’t have to happen, like in 4 of these examples.

Allison discusses attitudes and strategies that can minimize the chance of a violent conflict.

This book is an interesting one, especially for those who are interested in world politics and current affairs.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Not everyone will agree with what is said in this book.

Gad Saad is a Canadian marketing professor known for applying evolutionary psychology to business fields.

His research has examined how hormones affect buying decisions. He has also researched how gift-giving varies between men and women.

“To be a truly wise person requires that we recognize those domains best served by our intellect versus those best guided by our emotions.”

In this book, Saad argues that ‘idea pathogens’ are on the rise in society. These pathogens infect minds instead of bodies.

These ideas go against science and common sense, yet no one can criticize them.

The author gives the example of gender and competitive sports. Despite the biological differences between men and women which have long been ascertained by science and observed by humans, it is controversial to even mention them.

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

The author defends critical thinking and the scientific method.

“Science is based on evidence, not politics.”

The author’s message is that of open dialogue and scrutinization of ideas for the good of society.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Let’s peek into Greece.

This book is the second volume in an 11-volume series called ‘The Story of Civilization’ written by husband and wife Will and Ariel Durant.

‘The Life of Greece’ aims to cover the ‘origin, growth, maturity, and decline of Greek civilization’.

“Civilization is always older than we think; and under whatever sod we tread are the bones of men and women who also worked and loved, wrote songs and made beautiful things, but whose names and very being have been lost in the careless flow of time.”

Spanning 700 pages, the author covers the rise and fall of Greece in various eras from 1400 BC to 30 BC.

He also discusses Greek philosophers, most importantly Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Through this book, Will acquaints us with the culture, myth, economy, literature, and scientific discoveries of Greece.

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

What deserves the most applause is this book’s in-depth research and the author’s command of writing.

If you are a history buff or interested in ancient Greece, this book should be your next pick.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

The story of a woman who ruled Russia.

Robert Massie was an American journalist and historian who studied the House of Romanov, Russia’s imperial family (1613 to 1917). He wrote many books on the imperial family as well.

“Books were her refuge.”

This book covers the life of Catherine who was the empress of Russia for 30 years in the late 1700s.

Catherine was born into a German family. She was brought to Russia as a teenager and was married to Peter III of Russia.

Then began her rather sad, and sexless marriage to the Duke. But she had many lovers and went on to give birth more than once.

Eventually, Catherine participated in the coup that threw off her husband. Through the support of the army and church, she became the ruler.

The book describes her relationships with her family and ministers in detail.

“She was intelligent, well read, and a shrewd judge of character.”

The book will show you the life of a fascinating lady who was learned and confident. When she got the opportunity, she gave her all to her state.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Have a look at humanity’s many futures!

This is one of the many artificial intelligence books recommended by Musk.

This book discusses the past, present, and future of AI and what it means for humans.

The author says that the question is not whether AI will become a part and parcel of human life. The question is when such will happen and what can we do about it.

“…we can think of life as a self-replicating information-processing system whose information (software) determines both its behavior and the blueprints for its hardware.”

In the prelude, Tegmark uses fiction to jolt us. He tells the story of researchers who use a powerful AI agent, Prometheus, to gain wealth and much more. Through it, they form a new global order.

The author invites us to reflect on what kind of future we want.

“Elon Musk argued that what we need right now from governments isn’t oversight but insight: specifically, technically capable people in government positions who can monitor AI’s progress and steer it if warranted down the road.”

This book discusses how AI has the ability to completely transform human life, both positively and negatively. The author explores various possible futures and lays out the good and bad in all of them.

The book ends with Tegmark introducing us to his venture, ‘The Future of Life Institute’. This organization focuses on the ethical development of AI among other things.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Doubt hurts people.

This book will open your eyes.

Industries try to hide the truth so their profits don’t dip. This happened in the case of tobacco and DDT pesticides.

When research started coming out about the harmful effects of products, the corporations made a plan.

“Sensible decision making involves acting on the information we have, even while accepting that it may well be imperfect and our decisions may need to be revisited and revised in light of new information.”

They colluded with a handful of scientists to cast doubt on the research. As a result, the public was not effectively informed in time.

“The problem was that public had no way to know that this “evidence” was part of an industry campaign designed to confuse. It was, in fact, part of a criminal conspiracy to commit fraud.”

This book will make you realize the big games that go on behind the curtain.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Are we sparrows to the AI owl?

Nick Bostrom predicts the arrival of a ‘superintelligence’, which will supersede all human intelligence.

It is assumed that when a superintelligent agent is given a goal, it will stop at nothing to achieve it, even if doing so endangers humans and the Earth. The author wants the experts to solve the ‘AI control problem’.

“An emulation operating at a speed of ten thousand times that of a biological brain would be able to read a book in a few seconds and write a PhD thesis in an afternoon.”

Humanity’s approach to AI is explained by Bostrom through an analogy which is called ‘Unfinished Fable of the Sparrows’.

A group of sparrows fantasize about raising an owl chick. They imagine the owl will be their servant, helping them build their nests and protecting them from danger.

To achieve this, they start looking for an egg. A one-eyed sparrow reminds them that the owl needs to be tamed in order to live with sparrows.

The rest think that they should find the owl egg first and figure that out later.

“Think of a “discovery” as an act that moves the arrival of information from a later point in time to an earlier time.”

This is exactly what humans are doing with AI. We want to see what it can do without realizing what it might do to us.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Maybe capitalism is not such a bad thing.

Hate for capitalism isn’t uncommon. But, the author of this book wants to set the record straight.

He discusses the various benefits of capitalism. Norberg argues that global capitalism is sustaining people. He contrasts this with the past of the human world. Nowhere in history humans have progressed as fast as they are now.

The author draws our attention to the exchange of goods that benefit not only the rich nations but the poor ones too.

“Putting all your eggs in the same friendly, geographical basket is reckless…”

Similarly, in the COVID-19 pandemic, countries had to export personal protective equipment and masks. The author’s view is that this wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for capitalism and globalization.

For climate change, Norberg thinks that free markets provide better solutions as compared to centralized decision-making.

The author brings forth a fascinating view. He argues that for human happiness, capitalism should be allowed to flourish.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

A computer scientist spills the beans on artificial intelligence.

Stuart Russell is a British computer scientist. He knows artificial intelligence and machine learning inside out.

“History has shown, of course, that a tenfold increase in global GDP per capita is possible without AI — it’s just that it took 190 years (from 1820 to 2010) to achieve that increase.”

The author starts by discussing where AI technology stands as of now. He lets us know that AI programs are getting better and better.

He says that Artificial Intelligence risks for the future cannot be dismissed.

“Alan Turing warned against making robots resemble humans … Unfortunately, Turing’s warning has gone unheeded.”

The author tells us how the great Alan Turing was against making robots that resemble humans. Turing said that they would be like artificial flowers.

In the face of uncertainty and risk posed by AI, Russell provides a solution.

He says that beneficial AI machines can be developed. But, they shouldn’t have rigid defined goals as in standard models. The goals should be uncertain.

AI agents can then reduce uncertainty by learning about the human world and behavior. This will prevent misunderstandings and ensure communication with humans.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Elon Musk — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

What is Capitalism 24902?

I love the idea that this book presents.

Wouldn’t the world be a lovely place if we all cared about each other and our planet the way we care about money and profit?

“Successful entrepreneurship comes in many shapes and sizes … there is no great mystique about it.”

This is what Branson sets out to do. Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group which has grown to have a diverse portfolio of companies.

The author proposes Capitalism 24902, a new and improved form of capitalism that focuses on social responsibility. The 24902 is the earth’s circumference in miles. Since Branson wants businesses to benefit all of the planet Earth, this is the name he gives to his idea.

Throughout the book, the author cites examples of people who are doing good while they are doing business and earning profits. He shows us that such an approach is entirely possible.

He also gives examples of the philanthropic activities at Virgin.

This book is a really good resource on how entrepreneurs and businesspeople can do better in their communities.


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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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