11 books that Elon Musk advised to read each

Even a busy person like Elon Musk, finds time to read. Here are some of the books he recommends.

John. R. R. Tolkien. “The Lord of the rings”

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In his youth, Elon Musk read a lot of books in fantasy and science fiction. They — and especially the “Lord of the rings” Tolkien — defined its vision for the future.

“The characters of the books I read have always felt that have to save the world” — said Musk in an interview with The New Yorker.

Douglas Adams. “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”

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In this Comedy sci-Fi book, a supercomputer was able to find the answer to the question about the meaning of life. It was the number 42.

Musk has read it while still a teenager, and she influenced his way of thinking. She so liked him, that when the Musk launched into space the Tesla Roadster, that brought on her screen the words “Don’t Panic!”, which was decorated sometime early editions of the book.

In 2015 Ilona asked what his favourite space ship from science fiction. Musk called ship “heart of gold” from the “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, which is used for moving in space “principle of improbability”.

Walter Isaacson. “Benjamin Franklin. Biography”

Elon Musk is often called the Benjamin Franklin one of my heroes.

What Franklin was one of the first who proved that lightning is an electrical discharge. He conducted his famous experiment with a kite that led to the invention of the lightning rod. Franklin is also credited with the creation of a two-focus points with lenses.

In an interview with the charity platform Foundation Musk said, in this book you can learn about Benjamin Franklin “as an entrepreneur.” “He was a businessman. Started from scratch and was just a kid, ran away from home,” commented Musk.

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John. Gordon. “Structures, or why not break things”

To work in SpaceX from Elon musk was programming the past. However, he was able to learn the basics of rocketry. One of the books that have helped him was “Structures, or why things don’t break,” the British scientist James Gordon.

“This is a very good book for learning the basics of structural engineering”, — said Musk in an interview with radio station KCRW.

John D. Clark. “The ignition. An informal history of liquid rocket fuels”

According to the Mask, this book helped him better understand the missiles.

John D. Clark was an American chemist who was involved in the development of rocket fuels in the 1960s and 1970s. In his book he spoke about how to develop this industry and brought a scientific explanation of the working principles of fuel.

Unfortunately, in print this book is very hard to find, but in the original it can be read here.

Nick Bostrom. “Artificial intelligence. Stages. Threats. Strategy”

Elon Musk repeatedly warned about the possible dangers of artificial intelligence.

“We need to be very careful with AI,” the wrote he in 2014 on Twitter and added that “potentially one can be more dangerous than nuclear missiles.”

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In the documentary about artificial intelligence “Do you trust your computer?” Musk stated, with the help of AI can be “to create an immortal dictator, from which we will never be able to hide.”

To find out why an artificial intelligence could be so dangerous, the head of Tesla recommends that you read the book by nick Bostrom. It tells the story of what can happen when computer intelligence will surpass human.

James Barratt. “The last invention of mankind”

Musk called this book another ode to the dangers of artificial intelligence. It recommended Twitter in 2014.

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The author tells us about the possible future of AI, weighing all the advantages and disadvantages. Also on his website said what the book says about the catastrophic cons of AI, “you will never hear from Google, Apple, IBM or Darpa (Department of advanced research projects of the Ministry of defense)”.

Naomi Orestes and Eric Conway. “Merchants of doubt”

This book was written two scientific historian, and later, it was removed documentary. It tells the story of how scientists with political and industrial relations concealed the facts about problems of health, for example, about the dangers of tobacco, use of pesticides and the destruction of the ozone layer.

Musk recommended the book at the conference in 2013. He later quoted her Twitter, writing that forces previously denied that Smoking causes cancer, don’t want to admit the danger of climate change.

Isaac Asimov, the trilogy of “Foundation”

Another of the fantastic books that Elon Musk loved in his youth.


It tells about the fall of fictional galactic Empire, which consists of millions of planets inhabited by people.

Asimov’s works greatly influenced the career of Elon musk. Here’s what he said about them in an interview with The Guardian:

“It’s such a futuristic version of “the History of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire" Edward Gibbon. Imagine that you live in the heyday of the Roman Empire. What would you do to minimize its decline?

History teaches us that civilizations go through cycles. This can be seen in the past the Babylonians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese. It is obvious that we are now moving up the spiral and I hope we can continue in the same spirit. But that may not happen. It may happen that the level of technology will begin to decline.

Given that for the first time in 4.5 billion years have people had the opportunity to live outside of Earth, I think it would be wise to act while we have this chance and not to expect that it will exist for a long time”.

Robert Heinlein. “The moon is a harsh mistress”

In this science fiction novel of 1966 shows the near dystopian future. Several people were expelled from the earth to the moon, where they built a liberal society. In 2076, a group of rebels, among whom there is a supercomputer named Mike and one-handed techniques, led a revolt of the colony against the lunar authority on Earth.

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At the Symposium, Massachusetts Institute of technology in 2014, Elon Musk called this book is the best work of Heinlein.

Max Tegmark. “Life 3.0: What it’s like to be human in an age of artificial intelligence”

As you might guess, this is another book about the future of AI that loves Elon Musk.

In it mit Professor Max Tegmark talks about how you can use artificial intelligence to benefit and what you need to do to technological advances consistent with the future needs of mankind.

This is one of the few books among those that recommends Musk, which reveals the positive possibilities of AI, but does not warn about its dangers.


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