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12 Books That Influenced Elon Musk

12 Books That Influenced Elon Musk

Elon Musk is one of the greatest entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. A widely successful man who was smart enough to get into a Physics PhD program at Stanford University and then dropped out because it didn’t seem that relevant to him. He is not only one of the smartest alive but also a persistent hard working man.

When asked about how he has learnt to build rockets. He has a simple answer: “I read books”.

In Elon Musk’s Bookshelf there are 12 books that shaped his character and make him wildly successful today. Surprisingly, science fiction and fantasy novels make up much of Tesla and Space X CEO’s reading list. Following are some of the books that influenced Elon Musk, inspiring him as a child and giving him heroes as a young adult.

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

During his upbringing in South Africa, Musk reported that he experienced tremendous looniness that he aimed to overcome by reading science fiction and fantasy novels. The books he read shaped his vision to save the world through the influence of the heroes portrayed on them.

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The lord of the rings

    2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

    Musk reported in an interview that he suffered a major existential crisis between the ages of 12 and 15. However, he could not overcome it until he stumble upon The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, which taught him that the hardest part was to properly phrase the question but that once this was done the answer was easy.

    Guide to the galazy

      3. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, by Walter Isaacson

      Musk was deeply inspired by Benjamin Franklin, a man who started from nothing and who was a runaway kid. Elon experienced a pretty similar story, growing up in South Africa, going to school in Canada and then transferring to UPEN to finally use an invitation to Stanford’s PhD program to land his feet in Silicon Valley.

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        4. Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson

        Musk learned a lot from Einstein’s biography. A struggling father who couldn’t get a job or doctorate became the man who explained the universe as we know it today. Through his reading, Elon was definitely inspired by a genius who transformed the world through his intelligence and ambition the same way he is doing.

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          5. Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down, by J.E. Gordon

          Musk is an entrepreneur, and as all successful people on the business of entrepreneurship he is a proactive man with an autodidact mindset. The following book helped him get started when he was launching Space X to form the basics he needed to learn about rocket science.

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

            Ignition! is another book about rocket science that has the right mix of technical details, descriptions of experiments with spectacular results, background info about the why and how, and about the politics involved. It is a very engaging and uplifting book because Clark captured a lot of the enthusiasm he had for rockets.

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               7. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, by Nick Bostrom

              Nick Bostrom explains his view on what would happen if computational intelligence surpassed human intelligence. Musk is a man of great curiosity who runs three extremely successful companies and who once tweeted “We need to be careful with  artificial intelligence”
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                8. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel

                “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how” Musk once said in an interview. From the man he shared his first major breakthrough with when PayPal went public. Peter Thiel is one of the most successful man in the Valley and his book on How to build the future is just great.

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                  9. Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness, by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

                  A biography of the eccentric filmmaker and aviation tycoon who famously got a little nutty at the end of his life. But it’s easy to see why Musk would be attracted to Hughes, who worked in multiple industries and pushed the boundaries of flying.

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                    10. Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Orestes and Erik M. Conway

                    Musk recommend Merchants of Doubt in a conference back in 2013 when he also summarized the book as “Same who tried to deny smoking deaths r denying climate change.”

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                      11. The Foundation trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

                      Musk interest in space exploration roots from his early days reading science fiction. This is what he says the book taught him “The lessons of history would suggest that civilizations move in cycles. You can track that back quite far — the Babylonians, the Sumerians, followed by the Egyptians, the Romans, China. We’re obviously in a very upward cycle right now and hopefully that remains the case. But it may not. There could be some series of events that cause that technology level to decline. Given that this is the first time in 4.5 billion years where it’s been possible for humanity to extend life beyond Earth, 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.”

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                        12. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

                        This award-winning science-fiction novel, originally published in 1966, paints the picture of a dystopia not too far in the future. It’s exactly the kind of vivid fantasy world that would satisfy an active imagination like Musk’s.

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                          Featured photo credit: Elon Musk via esteve.co

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                          Last Updated on May 24, 2019

                          How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

                          How to Be Productive at Home and Make Every Day a Productive Day

                          If you’ve ever wondered how to be productive at home or how you could possibly have a more productive day, look no further.

                          Below you’ll find six easy tips that will help you make the most out of your time:

                          1. Create a Good Morning Routine

                          One of the best ways to start your day is to get up early and eat a healthy breakfast.

                          CEOs and other successful people have similar morning routines, which include exercising and quickly scanning their inboxes to find the most urgent tasks.[1]

                          You can also try writing first thing in the morning to warm up your brain[2] (750 words will help with that). But no matter what you choose to do, remember to create good morning habits so that you can have a more productive day.

                          If you aren’t sure how to make morning routine work for you, this guide will help you:

                          The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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                          2. Prioritize

                          Sometimes we can’t have a productive day because we just don’t know where to start. When that’s the case, the most simple solution is to list everything you need to get accomplished, then prioritize these tasks based on importance and urgency.

                          Week Plan is a simple web app that will help you prioritize your week using the Covey time management grid. Here’s an example of it:[3]

                            If you get the most pressing and important items done first, you will be able to be more productive while keeping stress levels down.

                            Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, also has great advice on how to prioritize. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

                            How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                            3. Focus on One Thing at a Time

                            One of the biggest killers of productivity is distractions. Whether it be noise or thoughts or games, distractions are a barrier to any productive day. That’s why it’s important to know where and when you work best.

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                            Need a little background noise to keep you on track? Try working in a coffee shop.

                            Can’t stand to hear even the ticking of a clock while writing? Go to a library and put in your headphones.

                            Don’t be afraid to utilize technology to make the best of your time. Sites like [email protected] and Simply Noise can help keep you focused and productive all day long.

                            And here’s some great apps to help you focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

                            4. Take Breaks

                            Focusing, however, can drain a lot of energy and too much of it at once can quickly turn your productive day unproductive.

                            To reduce mental fatigue while staying on task, try using the Pomodoro Technique. It requires working on a task for 25 minutes, then taking a short break before another 25 minute session.

                            After four “pomodoro sessions,” be sure to take a longer break to rest and reflect.

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                            I like to work in 25 and 5 minute increments, but you should find out what works best for you.

                            5. Manage Your Time Effectively

                            A learning strategies consultant once told me that there is no such thing as free time, only unstructured time.

                            How do you know when exactly you have free time?

                            By using the RescueTime app, you can see when you have free time, when you are productive, and when you actually waste time.

                            With this data, you can better plan out your day and keep yourself on track.

                            Moreover, you can increase the quality of low-intensity time. For example, reading the news while exercising or listening to meeting notes while cooking. Many of the mundane tasks we routinely accomplish can be paired with other tasks that lead to an overall more productive day.

                            A bonus tip, even your real free time can be used productively, find out how:

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                            20 Productive Ways to Use Your Free Time

                            6. Celebrate and Reflect

                            No matter how you execute a productive day, make sure to take time and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. It’s important to reward yourself so that you can continue doing great work. Plus, a reward system is an incredible motivator.

                            Additionally, you should reflect on your day in order to find out what worked and what didn’t. Reflection not only increases future productivity, but also gives your brain time to decompress and de-stress.

                            Try these 10 questions for daily self reflection.

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                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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