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Elon Musk gives speech in example photo


On Sunday, Elon Musk’s SpaceX made history, successfully completing the first commercial rocket launch from the NASA launch pad that also sent astronauts to the moon.

The win comes after multiple failures for the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, who wants to change the way people travel and send humans to Mars.

Since his childhood, books have played a crucial role in fueling Musk’s ambitions. It’s said that he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica at age nine and would pore through science fiction novels for more than 10 hours a day.

When asked how he learned about rockets, Musk reportedly said, “I read books.” His voracious reading habit was essential to launching his history-making career.

Here are eight books that shaped the revolutionary entrepreneur:

1. “Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” by J.E. Gordon

“It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design,” Musk says in an interview with KCRW.

2. “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson

“You can see how [Franklin] was an entrepreneur,” Musk says in an interview with Foundation’s Kevin Rose. “He was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.”

3. “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson

Musk tells Rose he was influenced by the biography of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, and it’s clear why.

4. “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom

5. “Merchants of Doubt” by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes

6. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

“The heroes of the books I read always felt a duty to save the world,” he tells the New Yorker.

7. “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel

8. The “Foundation” trilogy by Isaac Asimov

In a 2013 interview with The Guardian, Musk says Asimov’s books taught him that “civilizations move in cycles,” a lesson that encouraged the entrepreneur to pursue his radical ambitions.


Last modified: July 12, 2020