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8 Books That Inspired Elon Musk

Want to get a sneak peek into Elon Musk's brain? You'll probably never be able to meet him in person. So the best you can do is read the books he said inspired him the most. That way you might get an idea about how his brain functions.

Here is a list of 8 books that Inspired Elon Musk

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Musk found himself in a slump in his early teen years after having read too many works by moody philosophers Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. Then he found this Douglas Adams gem, and something clicked. "I was reading various books on trying to figure out the meaning of life and what does it all mean?," Musk told Alison van Diggelen in an interview. "So then I read 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,' which is quite positive, I think. And it highlighted an important point, which is that a lot of times the question is harder than the answer. And if you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part." (Get the book here.)

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

It only makes sense for one genius to be inspired by an earlier genius, no? This book, which Musk recommends in an interview with Foundation, tells the story of a brilliant man who transforms the world with his intelligence and ambition. Hmm, sounds familiar. (Get the book here.)

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down by J.E. Gordon

Before starting a company like SpaceX, you better know a thing or two about rocket science. One way Musk taught himself the industry is with this read. "It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design," Musk said in an interview with KCRW. (Get the book here.)

Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D. Clark

Speaking of rockets, Musk suggests checking out this influential classic book in an interview with MediaBistro: "There is a good book on rocket stuff called 'Ignition!' by John Clark that's a really fun one." This book is reportedly pretty hard to get your hands on, but the rare text is available online here and here. (Get a physical copy here.)

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

Taking advice from Musk is one thing, but you can take it up a notch by learning from someone he learned from, too: the co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel. "Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and 'Zero to One' shows how," Musk says. (Get the book here.)

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

If anyone knows anything about super intelligence, it's our man Elon. He has been no stranger to the ongoing conversation about AI and cites this book as helpful reference material for that debate. (His stance, by the way, is that AI is "potentially more deadly than nukes," as you can see in the tweet below. (Get the book here.)

The "Foundation" Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, and "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien

These two are paired together for one reason: "The heroes of the books I read always felt a duty to save the world," he told The New Yorker. But his favorite? "In terms of sci-fi books, I think Isaac Asimov is really great. I like the 'Foundation' series, probably one of the all-time best," Musk told KCRW. (Get "Foundation" here and "The Lord of the Rings" here.)