His willingness to learn more and more is one of the keys to his success.
Elon Musk is unanimously recognized as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. In my opinion, his success is all the more impressive because he has been able to achieve it in several fields that he knew nothing about at the beginning.
SpaceX is a colossal success today, but you must know that before founding this company, Elon Musk knew absolutely nothing about rockets. It all started from a crazy idea he had one day. Through perseverance, Elon Musk finally managed to turn his idea into reality with SpaceX.
As I like to repeat often, in life, everything starts from an idea, a dream, or an ambition. You can call it whatever you want, but you understand what I’m talking about.
Once you’ve had that dream that everyone thinks is a little crazy, your success will depend on how hard you work to make it come true. In this area, we all have a lot to learn from the phenomenal success of Elon Musk.
The keys to his success can be found in his 5 favorite books.
“Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson
Elon Musk never made a secret of his admiration for Benjamin Franklin. He has already confessed that the man who is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States is one of his greatest heroes.
“Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” — Walter Isaacson
Elon Musk loves this biography of Benjamin Franklin written by Walter Isaacson because he totally identifies with Benjamin Franklin and his entrepreneurial side.
Of Benjamin Franklin, Elon Musk says the following:
“Benjamin Franklin was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.”
— Elon Musk
Therefore, it is easy to draw a parallel with the life of Elon Musk. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk spent much of his childhood there. He then went to school in Canada and eventually transferred to the University of Pennsylvania.
An invitation to a Ph.D. program at Stanford University finally changed his destiny by allowing him to take his first steps in Silicon Valley.
His entrepreneurial mindset worked wonders in the region, which is known as a global startup paradise.
“Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson
Decidedly, Walter Isaacson is an author who caught the attention of Elon Musk. Albert Einstein is another man with whom Elon Musk particularly identifies.
The book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” tells the story of a genius who succeeded in transforming the world by making good use of his intelligence and ambition.
Many geniuses never manage to use their full potential to move the world in the right direction. This book shows how Albert Einstein succeeded.
“Einstein: His Life and Universe” — Walter Isaacson
Elon Musk, whom many consider being one of the greatest geniuses of our time, has always been able to use his potential to create companies that move the world in the right direction.
Tesla aims to help the world move towards the consumer electric car. SpaceX aims to make it easier for man to conquer space. The Boring Company was created to find more efficient ways of getting around in cities and between cities.
In order to promote and develop artificial intelligence with a human face that will ultimately benefit all humanity, Elon Musk also founded the OpenAI company in 2015.
Elon Musk, therefore, seeks to put his full potential at the service of the world.
This book is also interesting to realize how far Albert Einstein had to go before revolutionizing the world we know. It should give hope to all those who are currently struggling, but who have the ambition to achieve great things.
“Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” by J.E. Gordon
Elon Musk’s story is fantastic because he never gave up pursuing his wildest dreams. Many people will give up when they encounter obstacles, not Elon Musk.
“Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” — J.E. Gordon
Elon Musk is a race of people who believe that in every problem there are extraordinary opportunities to be seized.
When he came up with the idea of building rockets, Elon Musk knew nothing about the field. He had an ambition, a dream, but nothing concrete. Many would have preferred to concentrate on other things.
Elon Musk saw this problem as an incredible opportunity.
Since he didn’t know anything about rockets, he could use his lack of knowledge as an asset to propose a new approach in this field.
In order to increase his skills, he read books on the subject in the way that all self-taught people do when they want to learn about a subject.
Among the books Elon Musk read at the time was “Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” by J.E. Gordon, a British material scientist. This book is not necessarily within the reach of the average person, but it shows you what you have to do when you really want to go out and conquer your wildest goals.
“Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel
Long before the creation of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk founded an online banking company in 1999 called X.com with his business mentor, Greg Kouri. It was one of the first online banks at the time.
“ Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” — Peter Thiel
A few months after its creation, X.com merged with Confinity, a company specializing in the development of security software for mobile devices.
One of Confinity’s founders was Peter Thiel.
Soon, Elon Musk sees more potential in the product that Confinity develops. A few months later, he decided to focus X.com on the PayPal project and to close the company’s online banking activities.
That same month, Elon Musk was replaced by Peter Thiel as CEO of X.com. The company becomes PayPal. You know the rest, as PayPal becomes a global success valued at more than $127 billion today.
Elon Musk was impressed by Peter Thiel and naturally recommends his book to all entrepreneurs who want to achieve great things:
“Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and ‘Zero to One’ book shows how.”
— Elon Musk
As an entrepreneur, you owe it to yourself to read at least once this book in which you will find several strong ideas of Peter Thiel among which the Silicon Valley obsession for disruption is totally wrong.
“Super Intelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom
As a forerunner, Elon Musk is obviously one step ahead of the general public when it comes to advances in artificial intelligence.
“Super Intelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” — Nick Bostrom
In order to better be able to follow what is happening in this field which he considers potentially dangerous for humanity, Elon Musk decided to found the company OpenAI, but also to invest in the company DeepMind.
In 2014, Elon Musk recommended the book “Super Intelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom to all those who really want to be aware of the potential dangers of artificial intelligence:
This book by Nick Bostrom will give you a better idea of the potential answers to these types of questions:
- What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence?
- Will artificial agents save or destroy us?
In the future, artificial intelligence will have to be used in such a way that it benefits humanity by preventing it from ever surpassing human intelligence.
By reading this book, you will become aware of the essential stakes that this field constitutes for the future of humanity.