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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 February 19, 2019

                          How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

                          How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

                          The cycle of bad habits is what keeps us living small and stops us from reaching our true potential. Breaking a bad habit isn’t as hard as it seems; despite being a CEO of a company and raising two children, I still managed to break 3 bad habits I had within 2 months. Yes, that’s quitting one habit in less than 21 days.

                          I took steps to eliminate them one at a time. Habits such as drinking Coke every day, slouching when sitting and not having a consistent exercise routine.

                          So how did I break these habits? I used the Control Alternate Delete Method (Ctrl Alt Del).

                          What is this method and why is it so effective? Read on to find out how to break bad habits with this unique method.

                          How to break bad habits with the Control Alternate Delete Method

                            We all notice on some level what our bad habits are. A lot of the time we choose to ignore the negative ways these impact us.

                            For me, I was sitting most of the day in front of my computer at work in a slouching position. I drank Coke every single day in an attempt to stay awake. I put off any kind of exercise regime because I felt that it was better to just relax and have fun after a whole day of work. As a result, I was leading a really unhealthy lifestyle suffering from weight gain and back pain.

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                            I needed to make a change.

                            I started to read books about building habits such as The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, and The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. After reading all these books, I’ve come up with my own method to quit bad habits — The Ctrl Alt Del Method.

                            I started by focusing on just one bad habit, the first one being the sheer amount of Coke I was consuming each day.

                            Every day I applied the Ctrl Alt Del Method and after two weeks, not only did I stop drinking Coke every day (I only drank one can in 2 weeks), but I started the better habit of drinking 8 glasses of water every day instead.

                            After eliminating one bad habit, I moved on to the other two with this same method and a month later I was:

                            • Hitting the gym twice a week.
                            • Improving my sitting posture, not only at the office but also at home and everywhere else, improving my back pain.
                            • Gaining core muscle which improved my back pain as well.
                            • Losing fat around my waist which went from 36″ (considered obese level) to 32″ (normal level).

                            If I can improve my life using this method, then so can you. Using this structure to eliminate your bad habits will increase your success and replace your bad habits with more positive ones.

                            Control: Master your desire

                              Identify your triggers

                              Bad habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking and snacking too much trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain.[1] Although you might not like the end result, they give you a positive outcome in the moment. This is pure psychology.

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                              It’s important to identify what is triggering you to continually act out your bad habit. This isn’t always an easy step because our habits have been built up over a long period of time.

                              If you need help in identifying your triggers, here’s a list of common bad habits and their triggers: 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

                              Self-reflect

                              To help you work out your triggers, do a bit of self-reflection. Ask yourself questions such as:

                              • What comfort are you getting from this habit?
                              • Why do you need comfort?

                              For example, I chose to drink coke because it tasted good and it made me feel good when I was stressed. I slouched only when I sat for too long working on my desk and started to feel tired. I skipped exercises because every day after work I felt I already did enough works and didn’t want to work out.

                              If you choose to eat fast food every night, you’re probably telling yourself you’re too busy to cook. But ask yourself why? What are your priorities?

                              Maybe you have a lack of self-worth that means you don’t have the self-love to want to look after your health. Perhaps it’s a sign you’re not making enough time for important routines like shopping and creating a healthy meal yourself. Maybe you’ve always had a belief that you’re a bad cook.

                              Write a diary

                              Write down your thoughts and feelings around this bad habit. Writing things down forces the brain to think harder.[2] This helps you to find the source to your stress or limiting negative beliefs.

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                              Alternate: Find a replacement

                                Find a positive alternative habit

                                Once you think you’ve discovered your trigger, try to find a similar but healthy option. This is where I replaced Coke with lemon water; slouching with simply taking a walk and stretching my back every hour; and chilling at home after work with workout exercises that I actually found fun.

                                You could decide to walk to the office instead of driving or getting off the bus earlier to walk. You could switch to a healthier breakfast cereal instead of grabbing a sugary snack when you head out of the door.

                                By doing this, you aren’t getting rid of the act altogether like you would if you completely gave something up with nothing to fill that void. This helps your brain accept the improved habit more.

                                Create a defence plan

                                Everyone has moments of weakness and that want to revert back to the bad habit will rear its ugly head. This is where a plan can help counteract these moments.

                                Think of things you can do when the temptations come. For example, if you want to check your phone less, ask your friend or partner to keep it for you or switch it off and read a book. If you’re a starter for an exercise routine, like me, get someone to do it with you to keep you accountable.

                                Decide on something you will do once you feel triggered to go back to your old habit. Repeating these positive alternative habits consistently will help wire your brain to see them as your normal new habit over time.

                                Delete: Remove temptations

                                  Remove stuff that reminds you of the bad habit

                                  Getting rid of anything that reminds you of your bad habit is essential. For example, I got rid of coke in my office and at home and replaced my usual office chair with an exercise ball. It makes it much easier to stop slipping back in a weak moment.

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                                  Avoid all kinds of temptations

                                  In the same vein, avoid places or people that you know will tempt you back into that bad habit. Don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach to avoid the temptation to buy trashy snacks, don’t drive past that fast food joint but find an alternative route instead, say no more often to the friend you know will get you drunk again this weekend.

                                  It’s all about not putting yourself in the situation where you’re in danger of relapsing.

                                  Conclusion

                                  The Control Alternate Delete Method uses the right steps you need to overcome your need to indulge in your bad habits. Working with your core psychology, emotions and feelings behind your actions is what makes this method effective and easy to apply to all bad habits you have.

                                  Bad habits are easy to form and making changes can seem difficult but remember that it’s all about consistency and repetition.

                                  Start using the Control Alternate Delete Method today and you can stop a bad habit permanently.

                                  What bad habit do you want to put a stop to once and for all? You must set aside time and pick one bad habit to focus on. Start using the steps to increase and maintain more positivity in your life moving forward.

                                  More Resources About Changing Habits

                                  Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

                                  Reference

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