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Elon Musk's Top 10 Book Recommendations You Shouldn't Ignore

Updated: Aug 5, 2023



Elon Musk, the visionary entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and Neuralink, is known for his insatiable appetite for knowledge. A key aspect of Musk's success lies in his voracious reading habits.


To gain valuable insights into the mind of this tech genius, we have curated a list of 10 books that Elon Musk himself has recommended for those aspiring to follow in his footsteps. From biographies of influential figures to explorations of artificial intelligence and the future of humanity, these handpicked books offer a glimpse into Musk's diverse interests and passions.


Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.



1. Screw Business As Usual by Richard Branson:


Richard Branson, the maverick entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, shares his philosophy on business and social impact. For those who aim to create positive change and challenge the status quo, this book resonates with Musk's belief in leveraging business for a greater purpose.


Elon Musk: "Liked 'Screw Business as Usual' a lot. This approach should be taken to heart by all, as it really is the smart move."




2. Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters:


Written by Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook, this book is a treasure trove of insights on building startups and fostering innovation. Musk, having co-founded several groundbreaking companies, finds resonance in Thiel's unique perspectives on creating successful ventures.


Elon Musk: “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.”




3. Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway:


This eye-opening book delves into the tactics employed by certain scientists to cast doubt on critical scientific issues. Musk, who emphasizes the importance of confronting global challenges, recommends this work to gain a deeper understanding of societal issues and misinformation.


Elon Musk: "Worth reading Merchants of Doubt. Same who tried to deny smoking deaths r denying climate change"




4. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark:


Max Tegmark, an esteemed physicist, explores the implications of artificial intelligence on humanity's future. Musk has long expressed concerns about AI's potential dangers, and this book delves into the ethical and philosophical dimensions of this transformative technology.


Elon Musk: “This is a compelling guide to the challenges and choices in our quest for a great future of life, intelligence and consciousness—on Earth and beyond.”




5. The Big Picture by Sean M. Carroll:


In this thought-provoking book, physicist Sean M. Carroll unravels the mysteries of the universe, consciousness, and the origins of life. For those curious about the cosmos and Musk's ambition to make life multi-planetary, this book offers a captivating journey through scientific questions.


Elon Musk: "Highly recommend anything by Sean Carroll"




6. Lying by Sam Harris:


In this concise treatise, Sam Harris examines the act of lying and its consequences. Musk, known for his straightforward and honest approach, recommends this book as a reminder of the value of truth in personal and professional life.


Elon Musk: "Excellent cover art and lots of good reasons not to lie!"




7. Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom:


Nick Bostrom delves into the potential impact of advanced artificial intelligence on humanity, raising crucial questions about its control and consequences. Musk, who has warned about the dangers of unchecked AI, finds this book thought-provoking and essential.


Elon Musk: "Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes."




8. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith:


This classic work by Adam Smith explores the principles of economics and the functioning of free markets. Musk values the insights from this foundational text and its relevance to business and innovation.


Elon Musk: "Adam Smith FTW obv. Ironically, future automation will naturally lead to greater equality of consumption. Monopolies are true enemy of people. Competing to serve is good."




9. Human Compatible by Stuart Russell:


Stuart Russell examines the future of AI and its implications for humanity, emphasizing the need for aligning AI with human values. As Musk advocates for responsible AI development, this book aligns with his vision of a safe and beneficial technological future.


Elon Musk: "Worth reading 'Human Compatible' by Stuart Russell (he’s great!) about future AI risks & solutions"




10. The Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger:


An autobiographical account of World War I, Ernst Junger's book provides insight into resilience, leadership, and the human experience amidst conflict. Musk, inspired by stories of triumph in adversity, includes this work as a testament to the strength of the human spirit.


Elon Musk: "Intense. Great book."





Elon Musk's reading list offers a diverse array of books that reflect his broad interests and determination to make a lasting impact on the world. From biographies of visionary entrepreneurs to deep explorations of AI and the universe, these handpicked works offer valuable insights for those who aspire to walk in Musk's innovative footsteps.

By embracing the knowledge and wisdom within these pages, readers can find inspiration and direction on their own path to success and making a positive difference in the world. Happy reading!

Have you read any of these?

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