Elon Musk is, without a doubt, one of the most successful businessmen in the world.  Both financially and structurally, he is building organizations that will help us enter a sustainable future.  These organizations include electric cars and rooftops, reusable rockets and tunneling machines.

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

This is one of the books that opened Musk’s eyes to rocket science. “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

Einstein quotes, like “The important thing is not to stop questioning,” and “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new,” have heavily influenced Musk’s vision.

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

Musk says this book, that focuses on the potential danger of AI overtaking humanity, is “worth reading” Musk tweeted in 2014.

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

Musk recommended this book on Twitter in 2013, that explains how many scientists have intentionally screwed the data in different ways for corporations to make a profit.

6. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

This book, about greed and survival, spoke to Musk.  “The heroes of the books I read always felt a duty to save the world,” he told the New Yorker.

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

The book, written by Musk’s Paypal co-founder focuses on the need for unique thinking among any that are planning a startup.

8. The “Foundation” trilogy by Isaac Asimov

The greatest lesson Musk learned from this book is that “civilizations move in cycles,” further propelling him to try incredible things with his startups.

“Given that this is the first time in 4.5 billion years where it’s been possible for humanity to extend life beyond Earth,” he says, “it seems like we’d be wise to act while the window was open and not count on the fact it will be open a long time.”

*Article originally appeared at Minds.