Business Insider recently creeped through Elon Musk’s social media history and came up with a list of eleven books the billionaire thinks everyone should read. If you want to see the full list, check out the article, but if not, I’ve handpicked five that are absolutely, absolutely necessary.
1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Back in 2009, the New Yorker reported that “in [Musk’s] loneliness, he read a lot of fantasy and science fiction,” most notably, The Lord of the Rings. “The heroes of the books I read … I always felt a duty to save the world.”
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Musk read this as a teenager, and became so engrossed in the book that when he first launched his Tesla Roadster into space, the words “Don’t Panic!” — which graced the cover of some early editions of the book — were shown on the car’s center screen. According to a 2015 interview, Musk’s favorite science fiction spaceship is from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because it’s powered by an improbability drive.
3. The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov
Elon Musk is quite the fan of fantasy, with another major series gracing the list. The books revolve around the fall of the Galactic Empire, a federation made up of millions of planets across the galaxy, settled by humans. A Musk-approved fantasy series sounds good to me, time to buy it on Amazon!
4. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
In 2014, Musk tweeted “We need to be super careful with AI,” that it’s “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” In “Do You Trust This Computer?”, a documentary about artificial intelligence, Musk said that AI could be used to create an “immortal dictator from which we could never escape.” Yikes. Bostrom’s book investigates what would happen if computer intelligence exceeded human intelligence.
5. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
Now also a documentary, this book was written by two scientific historians, calling out scientists with political and industrial connections who are obscuring facts surrounding multiple public-health issues. Issues including, tobacco, pesticides, and the holes in the ozone layer. Musk recommended the book in a 2013 conference, saying the same forces that denied smoking causes cancer are now denying the danger of climate change.
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