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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 October 17, 2018

                          7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                          7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                          How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

                          If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

                          Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

                          So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

                          1. Meditate

                          We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

                          Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

                          Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

                          Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

                          Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

                          If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

                          And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

                          2. Get plenty of sleep

                          If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

                          If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

                          How much sleep should you be getting?

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                          Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

                          Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

                          Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

                          Yes, there are.

                          Try these three things:

                          • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
                          • Don’t eat too late
                          • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

                          Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

                          However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

                          3. Challenge your brain

                          When was the last time you challenged your brain?

                          I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

                          To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

                          Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

                          There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

                          • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                          • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                          • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

                          If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

                          Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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                          4. Take more breaks

                          When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

                          At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

                          However, I was wrong.

                          Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

                          Let me explain.

                          Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

                          Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

                          It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

                          It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

                          What’s the answer?

                          Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

                          If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

                          5. Learn a new skill

                          I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

                          “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

                          From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

                          Let me give you an example of this:

                          Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

                          Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

                          The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

                          Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

                          Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

                          6. Start working out

                          If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

                          Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

                          Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

                          “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

                          Not a problem.

                          A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

                          Interested in getting started?

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                          Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

                          • Join a gym
                          • Join a sports team
                          • Buy a bike
                          • Take up hiking
                          • Dance to your favorite music

                          7. Eat healthier foods

                          I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

                          This applies to your brain too.

                          The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

                          Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

                          Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

                          Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

                          • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
                          • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
                          • Nuts – improves memory
                          • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
                          • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

                          Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

                          Final thoughts

                          I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

                          You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

                          But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

                          Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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