10 Best Books That Elon Musk Recommends

Elon Musk's Book Recommendation

According to a recent survey by US firm First Round Capital, He’s the most admired tech leader globally. He’s the only person who’s making billions of dollars selling electric cars while at the very same time preparing to colonize Mars. His recent propulsion in business and technology, combined with his highly controversial role as adviser to the president.

Musk loves to read, much like Warren Buffett, who credits much of his success. He reportedly finished the entire Encyclopedia Britannica by age nine! When asked how he learned so much about rocket science, Musk answered with three words: I read books. But we wanted to know which books helped shape Musk’s one-of-a-kind career. Luckily, we found this list of the ten that he recommends most. Let’s see!

Top 10 Books That Elon Musk Recommends

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2017, Musk revealed that he grew up reading many science fiction and fantasy books. He continues to read various books on various subjects, including physics, engineering, biographies, history, and more. He also mentioned that he sometimes read as much as 10 hours a day.

In several interviews, Elon Musk mentioned that he was a passionate reader as a child and enjoyed science fiction and fantasy books in particular. Here are some books that Elon Musk has mentioned reading as a kid:

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
  • The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov.
  • The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert.
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.
  • The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

It’s worth noting that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other books that Elon Musk read as a child that he has not mentioned in interviews.

We bring you the list of books recommended by Elon Musk. Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. He has said that reading various books from epic fantasy works is essential.

A list of 10 books Elon Musk recommends, which the billionaire entrepreneur thinks everyone should read.

NameKey FocusReview (Goodreads)
Zero To OneEntrepreneurship, Management, Self-help4.1
Einstein: His Life And UniverseScience, History, Quantum-theory4.1
The FoundationSpace Opera, Science-fiction4.4
Our Final InventionArtificial Intelligence, Philosophy, Futurism, Sociology3.7
EmpireAviation, Entrepreneurship, History3.9
IgnitionPopular Science, Reference, Technology4.1
StructuresArchitecture, Popular Science4.1
Life 3.0Technology, Philosophy, Business4.0
Merchants of DoubtClimate Change, Politics, Ecology4.1
SuperintelligenceBusiness, Psychology, Neuroscience3.8
Books That Elon Musk Recommends

1. Zero To One

When Musk managed the payments business in the early 2000s, he directly competed with PayPal, co-founded by Peter Thiel. A man who is now a billionaire investor. So Musk naturally supported it when Thiel came out with his book on startup theory. Peter Thiel and ‘Zero to One’ shows have built several breakthrough companies.

Zero to One describes how to build efficient startups to build a better future. The book looks in-depth into properly planning and executing a startup that can be as impactful as successful. Thiel explains the importance of knowing the market before entering a startup to ensure a solid foundation before any funding, knowing little about startup culture.

The book is full of combative observations from Thiel, such as the fascination with disruption in Silicon Valley is entirely misguided. If you had the right mix between intellectual capacity and purpose, you’d be successful in the long term. This book is for anyone who wants to build a better future. Also, this is one of the books Elon Musk recommends.

Zero To One

Author: Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
Pages: 224
Category: Economic Policy & Development, Venture Capital, New Business Enterprises (Best Seller)

2. Einstein: His Life And Universe

Musk’s first college degree was a B.S. in physics. All three companies, Space X, Tesla, and Solar City, rely on a deep and continuous knowledge of physics and chemistry. Einstein developed our modern understanding of the world. So it is only natural that Musk would be interested in the life and work of this man. It is a valuable advantage for a rational citizenry to understand the methodology of science.

Science tells us the connection between factual facts and general hypotheses, demonstrated well in Einstein’s life. Furthermore, appreciating science’s glories is a joyous hallmark of a healthy culture. It allows us to contact the childlike desire to wonder about dropping apples and elevators that define Einstein. So this biographic book tells you the real hero story and Elon Musk recommends it for Astro readers.


Author: Walter Isaacson
Pages: 704
Category: Science & Engineering, Biography

3. The Foundation Series

Besides the Lord of the Rings, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series formed Musk’s early interest in science fiction and fantasy. The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov is one of the most classic science fiction series ever. It is also trendy and well-known that Elon Musk recommends it at every show.

The books concentrate on the collapse of a fictitious interstellar empire through the Milky Way. It consists of millions of human-settled worlds. The stories may have an immense impact on the career history of Musk. In a 2013 interview with The Guardian, he said about the series.

“The lessons of history would suggest that cultures pass in cycles. The Babylonians, the Sumerians, the Romans, China, and the Egyptians, can be traced back. We’re obviously in a very upward cycle, and hopefully, that’s still the case.”

A mathematician, historian, and scholar named Hari Seldon invented a prediction system. The system is called psychohistory. It uses the principles of statistical mechanics. So Hari Seldon created this method and predicted the next few thousand years. Do you want to know more, then get this book quickly.

The Foundation Series

Author: Isaac Asimov
Pages: 296
Category: Space Operas, Hard Science Fiction

4. Our Final Invention

Our Final Invention provides more warnings about the dangers of artificial intelligence. In a 2014 tweet, Elon Musk called the book a worthy read. It looks closely at AI’s potential future, assessing its benefits and drawbacks on its website. Berrett says the book is at least partly about the catastrophic downside of AI. You’ll never hear about one from Google, Apple, IBM, and DARPA.

Musk’s agreement with AI has a target, and humanity is in the way. AI doesn’t have to be harmful to destroy humanity. It could, of course, kill civilization without thinking about it or remorse. He said this in a documentary on artificial intelligence. This book is best for reading if you want to learn about future technology and its effect.

Our Final Invention

Author: James Barrat
Pages: 336
Category: Human-Computer Interaction, Intelligence & Semantics

5. Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes

Empire is a memoir about entrepreneurship. Hughes lived a life that was very sad and lonely. He never reached the degree of technological success that he wanted. Despite his brilliance as an inventor and businessman, he’s remembered today more for his biggest disappointment, the Spruce Goose, than his accomplishments.

Howard Hughes is seen by Tesla as a role model to prevent rather than imitate. However, Hughes’s mind was capable of absorbing complex technological information. As a tech lover, you must read this book to earn unique ideas, knowledge, and things.


Author: Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
Narrator: Christopher Hurt
Category: Actors & Entertainers

6. Ignition: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants

Ignition is about Petroleum Engineering. This insider’s account of rocketry in his early years captures the excitement of technology, research, and development beyond computer science. Although we are used to thinking of technical advancements in Moore’s Law. These engineers have gone from launching metal tubes small enough. It can carry a two-ton metal capsule and take three humans to the moon in a few years.

Elon Musk sees himself as keeping this tradition with his Space X company. Initially, this print book was printed on demand and is very rare. By reading this book, you can learn about some terrible experiments and their results. So don’t miss it!


Author: John Drury Clark, Isaac Asimov
Pages: 214
Category: Energy Production, Fossil Fuels

7. Structures: Why Things Don’t Fall Down

Structures is about Structural Engineering. Gordon came from a coding background when Musk began Space X., But he took it upon himself to learn rocket science, basics, structures, and why things do not fall. GE’s famous take on structural engineering was one of the books that helped him. It is good if you want a structural design primer. Musk said this in an interview with Casey RW, a radio station in Southern California.

Elon Musk was intimately acquainted with Space X Falcon heavy rockets, planning, and construction because of his interest in rocket mechanics. He has served as both Space X’s chief designer and CEO. Musk said, ”It was not because I wanted to be the chief engineer or chief designer that I ended up being the chief engineer during a 2017 talk about colonizing Mars.”

Musk has consistently described Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers and an accomplished inventor, as one of his idols in his infamous kite experiment. It led to the lightning bolts invention. You must read this book to learn more about the invention and structural design in history.


Author: J. E. Gordon
Pages: 421
Category: Engineering & Transportation

8. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Life 3.0 is that Elon Musk is exploring the future of artificial intelligence if you’re detecting a trend among the books on this list. MIT Professor Max Tegmark writes in Life 3.0 about keeping artificial intelligence beneficial to human life and ensuring that technological innovation stays consistent with humanity’s future aspirations. One of the few books Musk suggests deals with AI’s possibility as a power rather than evil for good.

Should we be scared of artificial intelligence? This is a growing question and debate among scientists and policymakers. In this book, the author analyzes the growth of artificial intelligence and a technological point of view. It analyzes the growth of artificial intelligence and its impact on human beings. If we answer artificial intelligence, we need to answer what it means to understand humans.

What it means to be a conscious being today is crucial to understanding artificial intelligence and how we can grow alongside it. It is an excellent book for learning more about artificial intelligence. However, I would start with something that’s a bit more introductory, as this book does get quite complex. If you fall into that camp, I recommend this book as it is highly technical and full of great value.

Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Author: Max Tegmark
Pages: 384
Category: Biotechnology, Robotics (Best Seller)

9. Merchants of Doubt

Elon Musk strongly believes that science should be central in government policy settings. Merchants of Doubt describes how many scientists are funded by companies. They have steadily made money by sowing doubts about scientific legitimacy in the public mind to challenge empirical evidence.

Fred Singer and a handful of other scientists joined forces with think tanks and private firms on various contemporary issues, case after case. In the early years, much of the cash for this program came from the tobacco industry. It came later from foundations, think tanks, and the fossil fuel industry. The correlation between smoking and cancer remained unproven.

They claim that volcanoes were triggering acid rain and the ozone hole. They rejected global warming, most recently over almost two decades. The book gives you the tools to convince other people to join the side of reason to fight for a better planet, which is honestly something that we should be doing. Every person we convince to fight for a more conscious society is a huge victory. Don’t pick the hardcover because it has low-quality issues, but the paperback is good for font size, color, pages, and cover design.

Merchants of Doubt

Author: Naomi Oreskes, Erik M. Conway
Pages: 368
Category: History & Philosophy

10. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

Elon Musk has a bird’s eye view of the advancement of technology, including his leadership positions at SpaceX, Solar City, and Tesla. All this isn’t good news, he tweeted. We must be careful with AI since it’s potentially more dangerous than nukes. To find out why he says it, it’s worth reading. Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence book makes the audacious inquiry into what might happen if computational intelligence exceeds human intelligence.

As the title suggests, Superintelligence is about superintelligence, or mainly it’s about artificial intelligence. The book is extraordinarily in-depth. It is the most challenging book I’ve read in a very long time. The first few chapters are very informative, but some middle chapters are hypothetical and biased, which I did not like. Overall, I enjoyed it.


Author: Nick Bostrom
Pages: 352
Category: AI & Machine Learning

Elon Musk did not read a book to learn how to build a rocket. Instead, he has stated in various interviews that he has read many books on multiple subjects, including physics, engineering, and rocket science.

Musk said that when he first became interested in space exploration, he read all the books on the subject. He also spent a lot of time studying the history of spaceflight, including the successes and failures of previous space programs. So, it’s clear that his knowledge and expertise in this area were developed over many years of study, experimentation, and trial and error.

One of the books that inspired Elon Musk is “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. This science fiction comedy novel follows the misadventures of an unwitting human and his alien friends. They travel through space. The book has significantly influenced Musk, who has even named one of his SpaceX rockets, the Falcon Heavy, after a spaceship from the story.

I hope you will read these books and discover the new technology and world. As an Elon Musk fan, I always try to read innovative science fiction books. So don’t be late, and collect the book. Happy book reading!

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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