One of the easiest ways to learn is to study success stories. In essence, you can simply consider someone who is hugely successful and you study their life. There are several approaches to that and one of such is to take a look at the books they read or recommend. This then helps you feed on some of what those people feed on. In this article, I shall be looking at the books that Elon Musk recommends. There are many but I will just look at 9 of them. Although he has just been unseated as the richest man on the planet right now at a net worth of US$170 billion his recommendations are worth studying. Some of them are not universal i.e. they might not appeal to everyone but you will find that most of them will definitely resonate with everyone.
Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson)
This is basically a biography of the late Apple mogul, Steve Jobs – part of his life though. This book was put together when Steve Jobs was still alive upon his request. It only chronicles just 2 years of his life but it is rich with valuable insights. Its contents are premised on some of Steve Jobs’ public appearances (talks, interviews, etc.) along with details from other sources spanning from family to some of his business competitors. The book will give you a glimpse into the life of a global entrepreneur.
Life 3.0: Being Human In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence (Max Tegmark)
AI will inevitably be a huge part of our human lives moving forward. Whether you acknowledge that or not you will be directly or indirectly affected by AI. Already most of us depend heavily on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Google, and so on – all platforms that are built and function on AI. This book is important if you want to understand some of the burning topics regarding AI. The book was published in 2017 so it is quite recent and relevant.
SuperIntelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Nick Bostrom)
This is yet another book on the subject of AI. Elon Musk has several books that he recommends that are on AI. It is not that surprising because all his companies use AI a lot. After all, AI will be a huge part of the human experience from here on out. The book looks at how best we can navigate the AI landscape especially given how rapidly it changes how things are done.
Zero To One: Notes On Startups, Or How To Build The Future (Peter Thiel And Blake Masters)
The importance of the startup culture to any nation’s development is paramount. The details of This book real-life cases of how to birth and develop startups. Peter Thiel himself has built startups and successful businesses so you will really get practical knowledge. This is a must-read for every entrepreneur looking to make it big.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (Walter Isaacson)
Elon Musk recommends this book because Benjamin Franklin came from humble beginnings. He was a man who had the odds against him and seemed as if he would not amount to anything. However, he emerged from zero to becoming one of the most iconic people in American history. His legacy still lives on; for instance, by his face being on the US$100 bill. Elon Musk once remarked that his life was just like that of an entrepreneur. Thus it is worth reading a book that chronicles his life.
Einstein: His Life And Universe (Walter Isaacson)
Albert Einstein is no doubt one of the greatest minds to ever live. Most of the working theories used in fields like Physics came from this man. He was also considered a genius just like Elon Musk is. So this is a book that really appeals to the nerdy demographic I suppose. However, Einstein is the epitome of what it means to come up with global solutions thus it is an inspirational read for anyone.
Merchants Of Doubt (Erik M. Conway And Naomi Oreskes)
This is a remarkable book on how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to climate change. It is a fascinating read I tell you! It tackles some of the most contentious issues in the world today. Most of those issues tend to be passed off as just conspiracy theories you will find them closely examined in this book.
Lord Of The Flies (William Golding)
The most unique book I have included on this list. The book tells the story of how some schoolboys get marooned on an island as they run away from an atomic war. Once on the island, they end up having to put together a societal system. It is a book that looks at life themes such as seeking to survive, being competitive, and some of the vices associated with such. The will to make a positive difference on this planet is part of why this book resonates a lot with Elon Musk. It is an interesting book to read which will awaken certain things in you, I guarantee you that!
You might have noticed that there are 3 books on this list that are biographies. That clearly shows you the importance of studying people who have succeeded to draw insights from their lives. There is always a high likelihood that we face more or less the same experiences, especially in business. Such books help us emulate the good and know and become wary of the potential pitfalls to avoid. It is important to read, to have a reading culture. If the richest person in the world takes time to diligently read books what makes you exempt? Make it a point to read some, if not all, of these books, before 2021 ends.