What does Elon Musk read? What are some key books that have influenced or changed his thinking? How does he select the books he reads?
I like to think about why people are interested in the book recommendations of well known entrepreneurs. (I am one of those people)
Elon is the most admired entrepreneur living.
I think people want to learn from him.
What is the motivation for people who want to read the same books as Elon?
My guess is a lot of these people are interested in building companies and that is the real reason for their question.
I think Elon's answer will help the very people asking what books he recommends.
Kevin: Starting a company for the first time is very challenging for a lot of people. They don't even know where to begin....Who did you look to for advice?
Elon: I read a lot of books and talked to lots of people. I looked for feedback from a historical context. Which was books basically.
Kevin: Any books that stand out? Were they general business books?
Elon: I didn't read general business books. I liked biographies and autobiographies. I think those are helpful. Something like Benjamin Franklin...the biography written by Isaacson was really good. Franklin was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was like a runaway kid basically. He created his printing business (you can learn) how he went about doing that...
I think that is a great idea.
It was the spark that motivated me to create Founders podcast.
If Elon learns from biographies other entrepreneurs might want to as well.
For every podcast I read a biography of an entrepreneur and pull out ideas you can use in your business.
Here are 15 books publicly recommended by Elon Musk
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
- Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
- Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down by J.E. Gordon
- Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John Clark
- Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
- Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness by Donald Barlett and James Steele
- Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway
- The Foundation of Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
- The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Roberta Heinlein
- Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks
- Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Eraby James Barrat
- I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison