Elon Musk, the reigning wizard of innovation in our modern era, has a knack for rocketing through life. When people asked musk how he learned to build rockets, his simple answer is: “I read books.” Books fueled Musk's imagination as a kid, introduced him to heroes as a young adult, and even taught him the tricks of rocket science when he was busy launching SpaceX. So, if you're on a quest to stretch your brain and channel your inner Musk, here are the fabulous five books he recommends:
“It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design.” – Elon Musk
According to Musk, this book is a top-tier primer on structural design. So, whether you're dreaming of building rockets or just fascinated by the magic of structural integrity, this book might just be your gateway to understanding why things stay up instead of falling down.
It's not just a gripping tale of early rocket science; it's a captivating journey through the pioneering days of rocket fuel development in the 1960s and 1970s, led by the American chemist John D. Clark. This book serves as a fascinating chronicle of the field's evolution and doubles as a user-friendly guide to understanding the intricacies of rocket science.
Although tracking down a copy might feel like a quest of its own, the effort is unquestionably worthwhile. With a delightful blend of technical details and behind-the-scenes political drama, Ignition promises to ignite your enthusiasm for rockets and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the incredible world of space exploration.
“Pete Theil has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.” – Elon Musk
During the early 2000s, Elon Musk, at the helm of the payments startup X.com, found himself in direct competition with PayPal, co-founded by Peter Thiel, who has since become a billionaire investor. In a natural alignment of interests, when Thiel released his book on startup philosophy, Musk wholeheartedly endorsed it.
“It’s a compelling pucture of a grand semi-utopian galactic future. Hopefully not too optimistic about AI.” – Elon Musk
Since 2014, Musk has been immersed in this series. The books unfold the narrative of a semi-anarchist future society known as the Culture, comprising humanoids, aliens, and artificial intelligences.
Musk has been vocal about the perils of artificial intelligence, dubbing it "our greatest existential threat." His investment in the AI firm, DeepMind, serves as a strategic move to monitor developments in the realm of artificial intelligence. Given his concerns, Musk recommends "Our Final Invention" as a must-read. In this book, Barrat meticulously explores the potential trajectory of AI, assessing both its advantages and drawbacks. As Barrat puts it, the book delves into AI's potentially catastrophic downsides—insights often absent from the narratives of tech giants like Google, Apple, IBM, and DARPA.
“Douglas Adams is one of the greatest philosophers of all time.” – Elon Musk