Elon Musk Recommended Books & Reading List


Discover and read the best books Elon Musk has recommended. Find out what books Elon Musk has read, and which ones have inspired and changed his life.

Elon Musk has given his top picks for recommended books, but there is also a mix of mentions and suggestions on this reading list.

Elon Musk



1. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Max Tegmark 
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Max Tegmark explains the current, ground-breaking advancements in artificial intelligence and how they are poised to surpass human intelligence in this authoritative and enlightening book.

How will AI impact crime, conflict, justice, employment, society, and even our sense of who we are as people? More than any other technology, the rise of AI has the potential to change our future. Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who has contributed to the mainstreaming of research on how to keep AI helpful, is the best person to examine this possibility.

2. On War

Carl von Clausewitz
Publication Date: December 23, 2011
Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz was fascinated with the top military minds of his time and spent more than ten years drafting “On War,” a book he would never complete.

Napoleon himself demonstrated the need to completely destroy the opposition and make a powerful show of one’s strength in a “total war” without making any concessions. However, he remained cautious to draw a line between politics and war, contending that even a war could only be justified when other means of discussion were insufficient and that, if one were to be fought, its ultimate goal should be to further the welfare of the country.

3. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

 Nick Bostrom
Publication Date: May 1, 2016
What happens when machines outperform humans in general intelligence is an issue that superintelligence raises. Will artificial intelligence save us or doom us? The foundation for comprehending the future of humanity and intelligent life is laid by Nick Bostrom.

Other animal brains lack some abilities that the human brain possesses. Our species’ dominant position is a result of these unique abilities. If artificial intelligence were more intelligent than human intelligence, this new superintelligence might become so strong that it would be uncontrollable.

4-9. The Dune Saga Collection: Books 1 – 6

Frank Herbert
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
An exciting journey is in store for you in the distant future on a faraway planet. Here are the first six books in Frank Herbert’s famous Dune chronicles, one of the best-selling science fiction series of all time and a triumph of the imagination.

The Dune Saga opens on the arid planet Arrakis with the tale of the little boy Paul Atreides, later known as Muad’Dib, and the aspiration of a great family to realize humanity’s most illustrious and impossible dream.

10. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change

Naomi Oreskes  & Erik M. Conway
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
The scientific community in the United States has long been at the forefront of research in fields including environmental science, public health, and concerns pertaining to the quality of life.

A loosely-knit organization of prominent scientists and scientific advisers with strong ties to industry and politics undertook successful campaigns over a period of forty years to deceive the public and refute well-established scientific knowledge, as detailed in the book Merchants of Doubt.

11. Acts of Love

Talulah Riley
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
A brave, perceptive, and contemporary love story that serves as a timely reminder that the most meaningful connections are not so much the result of two individuals finding one another as they are the result of our most fundamental search for self.

Bernadette is very skilled at hiding the truth. She has made a profession out of lulling prominent men into a false feeling of security before brutally exposing them in her profile articles. But she could have found her counterpart in Radley Blake. He appears to be immune to her charms and can see straight through every layer of her expertly crafted act to the core of who she really is.

12. Deep Learning (Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning series)

Ian Goodfellow
Publication Date: November 10, 2016
An introduction to a wide range of deep learning issues, including the mathematical and conceptual foundations, commercial deep learning methods, and research viewpoints.

Deep learning is a type of machine learning that gives computers the ability to interpret the world in terms of a hierarchy of concepts and learn from experience. There is no need for a human computer operator to expressly specify all the knowledge that the computer needs because the computer learns through experience.

13-17. A Game of Thrones:
Books 1 – 5

George R. R. Martin
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
A Song of Ice and Fire, hailed by Time magazine as “the American Tolkien,” has gained George R. R. Martin worldwide fame and millions of devoted readers. It is an immersive entertainment experience unlike any other.

Winter is coming. That is the solemn motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that serve distant King’s Landing’s ruler, King Robert Baratheon. Wildings and worse are hidden behind the towering Wall in the far north; during the long summer, these strange creatures were only myths, but as the seasons changed, they proved to be all too real and all too terrible.

18. Screw Business As Usual: Turning Capitalism into a Force for Good

Richard Branson
Publication Date: December 8, 2011
One of the most well-known and admired businessmen in the world, RICHARD BRANSON, contends that it is time to turn capitalism on its head and change our values from a sole concentration on profit to one that also includes caring for people, communities, and the environment.

As he writes:
“It’s a vibrant and definite sea change from the way business was always done, when financial profit was a driving force. Today, people aren’t afraid to say, Screw business as usual!-and show they mean it. Doing the right thing can be profitable. I will show how this works step by step in the following pages. It’s the core message of this book. I often say, ‘Have fun and the money will come.’ I still believe that, but now I am saying, ‘Do good, have fun and the money will come.'”

19. Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand
Publication Date: August 1, 1999
Ayn Rand’s magnum work, Atlas Shrugged, is an action thriller that is populated by larger-than-life heroes and villains and deals with profound problems of good and evil. It is a philosophical revolution that was selected by PBS’s The Great American Read as one of the country’s top-loved books.

The reader is presented with the spectacle of human greatness in Atlas Shrugged, a modern classic, and Ayn Rand’s most comprehensive expression of Objectivism—her ground-breaking philosophy. This is done with all the poetry and force of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

20. Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Samuel Beckett
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Waiting for Godot, which had a rocky start in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone and was then met with confusion by American and British audiences, has now grown to be one of the most significant and baffling plays of the previous fifty years and a staple of twentieth-century drama.

The plot centers on two individuals who appear to be on the streets waiting for Godot. Estragon and Vladimir wait near a tree while acting out a story that they have created in their minds. The end product is a humorous mix of poetry, dreamscapes, and gibberish, which has been seen as the endless search for meaning on the part of mankind.

21. The Culture Series I: Consider Phlebas

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: March 26, 2008
The first volume of The Culture, a groundbreaking science fiction series by Iain M. Banks. Consider Phlebas introduces readers to the utopian assemblage of human and extraterrestrial cultures that probes the ethics of war and the boundless potential of human imagination.

All around the galaxy, the war raged. Billion after billion have already perished and were doomed. Moons, planets, and even the stars themselves faced ruthless, violent, and worse, arbitrary devastation. The Culture fought for its moral right to exist, while the Idirans fought for their Faith. There were issues of principles. There was no surrender possible.

22. The Culture Series II:
The Player of Games

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: March 26, 2008
Gurgeh Jernau Morat Gurgeh is one of the best game players to come out of The Culture, a human/machine symbiotic society. The game’s player master of all games, computers, and tactics.

Gurgeh, who has seen success, decides to try the fantastic game of the ruthless and opulent Empire of Azad. . . A game that is so difficult to win, much like life itself. Gurgeh accepts the game and, along with it, the challenge of his life—and very probably his demise.

23. The Culture Series III:
The State of the Art

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: May 1, 1993
The celebrated novella The State of the Art is included in this anthology, which is the first compilation of short stories by Iain M. Banks. By employing the Earth of 1977 as a point of comparison, this startling addition to the increasing collection of Culture mythology gives the earlier works more scale and definition.

In the late 20th century, a Culture ship and some members of Contact arrive to study humanity’s home planet. They immediately begin compiling records of all knowledge, both recent and ancient, and must ultimately decide whether or not to reveal themselves to the ignorant Earthlings. The main character, Sma, forms a tight bond with Linter, a fellow Contact member who intends to turn human and settle permanently on Earth after becoming seduced by it and its primitive inhabitants.

24. The Culture Series IV:
Use of Weapons

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: December 15, 2008
One of the most powerful Special Circumstances agents, Cheradenine Zakalwe changed the course of worlds to suit the Culture through deceit, shady dealings, and military force.

He had been rescued from obscurity and propelled to his current prominence by the woman known as Diziet Sma, but despite all of their interactions, she did not know him as well as she believed. Both of these individuals were acquainted with Skaffen-Amtiskaw, the drone. It had once killed the woman’s attackers in an extremely violent way, saving her life. It considered the man to be hopeless. However, not even its machine was able to see the atrocities in his history.

25. The Culture Series V:

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: May 1, 1997
The artifact first surfaced 2.5 millennia ago next to a dying, trillion-year-old sun from a separate universe in a remote area of space. The black-body sphere was flawless, and it did nothing. Then it vanished.

A flawless black-body sphere bearing the name “The Excession” inexplicably appears on the border of Culture space and looks to be older than the entire cosmos. The Culture and other technologically advanced societies, most notably the Zetetic Elench, have had difficulty probing the artifact. The Interesting Times Gang (ITG), a loosely affiliated informal group of Minds with Special Circumstances, works to control how the Culture reacts to the Excession.

26. The Culture Series VI:

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: May 1, 1999
INVERSIONS is a remarkable piece of science fiction, wonderfully narrated and outrageously inventive, from a novelist who has ignited genre fiction. It spirals around a central core of secrecy, treachery, love, and betrayal.

The King’s new doctor has more opponents in the winter palace than she initially thinks. She also has more treatments on hand than those who wish her ill are likely to be aware of, though. The chief bodyguard works for the regicidal Protector General in another palace over the mountains, and he too has adversaries. But whereas his adversaries attack faster, he uses more conventional techniques of defense.

27. The Culture Series VII:
Look to Windward

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: August 1, 2001
This “sophisticated space opera” (The New York Times) by the famed author of The Wasp Factory expertly examines the horrors of war while being suspenseful and humorous.

In a desperate attempt to stave off their impending loss, the Idirans had caused not one, but two suns to burst, eradicating worlds and biospheres filled with sentient life. The Twin Novae conflict had been one of the last of the Idiran war, and one of the most awful. They were massive murder crimes—attempts of such magnitude. But after the war, things resumed as normal.

28. The Culture Series VIII:

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
A book with brilliant wit and a serious message. It is a work of art from a writer who has subverted science fiction, an astounding achievement in storytelling, and breathtaking inventiveness on a large scale.

A crime within a war in a famous world within a galaxy full of wonders. For one brother, it entails a desperate escape and a hunt for one or two individuals who might be able to clear his name. For his brother, it entails an existence marked by a perpetual fear of betrayal and murder. Even though she doesn’t know the whole story, their sister will have to go back to a location she had assumed was permanently deserted.

29. The Culture Series IX:
Surface Detail

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: May 12, 2011
One of Iain M. Banks’s Culture books is Surface Detail, a remarkable accomplishment from a writer whose body of work is unparalleled in science fiction’s contemporary history.

Lededje Y’breq, one of the Intagliated, bears testimony to a family dishonor with her marked body and gives her life to a man whose hunger for power knows no bounds. When her release does occur, it will come at a cost, and she will need the assistance of the Culture to make things right. She is willing to risk all for her freedom.

30. The Culture Series X:
The Hydrogen Sonata

Iain M. Banks 
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
The Scavenger species are swarming. It is undeniably the Gzilt civilization’s final days.

The Gzilt were an ancient race that assisted in building the Culture ten thousand years ago and were almost one of its founding societies before opting against joining only at the last minute. They were organized on military principles yet were almost paradoxically benign. They’ve now collectively decided to ascend to a new, nearly exponentially more complicated existence by choosing to Sublime, following in the footsteps of millions of other civilizations.

31. The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary Edition (Oxford Landmark Science)

Richard Dawkins
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
The critically acclaimed, multi-million copy international bestseller has been translated into over 25 languages.

The Selfish Gene has developed into a classic explanation of the evolutionary theory that is just as influential today as it was when it was initially published. An organism can be thought of as a vehicle for the replication of these persistent pieces of information, according to Professor Dawkins’ “gene’s eye” theory of evolution.

32. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Robert K. Massie
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs, this biography of one of the most amazing, strong, and engaging women in Russian history is described as “engrossing” (Los Angeles Times).

The remarkable tale of a little-known German princess who became Catherine the Great is Robert K. Massie’s latest masterwork of narrative biography. Catherine, who was raised in a modest noble family, rose to the position of the empress of Russia through sheer willpower.

33. Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down

J. E. Gordon 
Publication Date: July 10, 2003
An informal explanation of the fundamental forces that hold together the common and important things of this world, such as buildings and bodies, flying machines, and eggshells, is provided in the book Structures: Or, Why Things Don’t Fall Down.

This book will assuage your concerns and provide the answers you seek for anyone who has ever wondered how dams can hold back thousands of gallons of water or how suspension bridges can withstand eight lanes of traffic, or what principles govern the design of a skyscraper, a bias-cut dress, or a kangaroo.

34. The Foundation Series I:

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books are regarded as some of the most important in the history of science fiction and are renowned for their distinctive fusion of thrilling action, audacious concepts, and thorough worldbuilding.

The Galactic Empire held absolute power for twelve thousand years. It is currently close to passing away. The only person who can see into the future—to a terrible age of ignorance, savagery, and violence that will endure thirty thousand years—is Hari Seldon, the father of the groundbreaking science of psychohistory.

35. The Foundation Series II:
Foundation and Empire

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Foundation and Empire is the story of humanity’s ongoing struggle against the darkness that constantly threatens to overwhelm the light—and of how the courage of even a determined few can make all the difference in the world. It is filled with nail-biting suspense, nonstop action, and cutting-edge speculation.

The Foundation was able to endure the avarice and barbarism of its neighboring warrior planets under the direction of its founding father, the psychohistorian Hari Seldon, and with the aid of science and technology. Now, cunning and bravery might not be sufficient.

36. The Foundation Series III:
Forward the Foundation

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Forward the Foundation is a memorable, thought-provoking, and captivating novel of adventure and ideas set in a vast galaxy. It is a compelling account of humanity’s fight to protect the frail light of wisdom against the threat of its own dark barbarism.

The Foundation is in ruins after being destroyed by a mutant mind determined to wipe off humanity. However, there are rumors of a Second Foundation, which was set up as a backup to protect human knowledge, concealed someplace at the galaxy’s edge. A desperate race to uncover this final glimmer of humanity’s glorious past—and future hope—has now begun between the First Foundation survivors and an extraterrestrial creature.

37. The Foundation Series IV:
Foundation’s Edge

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: November 17, 2020
The bitter and expensive conflict between the two Foundations has finally come to an end. After coming out on top, the scientists of the First Foundation are going back to Hari Seldon’s well-established plan to create a new Empire out of the rubble of the last one.

In the meantime, it appears that someone—or something—outside of both Foundations is directing events to serve its own sinister agenda. Representatives of the First and Second Foundations will soon find themselves in a race toward the enigmatic planet Gaia and a frightening final destination at the cosmos’s edge.

38. The Foundation Series V:
Foundation and Earth

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: August 31, 2004
The fifth installment of Asimov’s well-known Foundation series begins with uncertainty. Councilman Golan Trevize is questioning whether it was the greatest decision for humanity to select a common thought versus the anarchy of displeased people, countries, and planets.

Former First Foundation councilman Golan Trevize has decided on Gaia as the future. Gaia, a superorganism, is a holistic world with a deeply unified awareness that allows every dewdrop, stone, and living thing to speak and feel for all.

39. The Foundation Series VI:
Prelude to Foundation

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
The Foundation series’ first book is titled Prelude to Foundation. But that was the second-to-last thing written. It stands out from the others because Hari Seldon is a real person, not merely a figurehead.

To present his astonishing theory of prediction on psychohistory, Hari Seldon traveled to Trantor. The young mathematician from the Outworld is unaware that he has already decided his and humanity’s fate.

40. The Foundation Series VII:
Forward the Foundation

Isaac Asimov 
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
The epic Foundation series by the late Grand Master of science fiction comes to a posthumous conclusion in this volume. Returning to the structure of prior volumes in the series, he divides the narrative into novella-length sections until finally confronting the adult Hari Seldon, the father of the Foundation and the founder of psychohistory, who stands at the center of the entire series.

The mighty Galactic Empire teeters on the verge of calamitous collapse as Hari Seldon attempts to develop his ground-breaking theory of psychohistory and guarantee a place for humanity amid the stars. Seldon and all he holds dear are caught in the tidal wave, used as props in the power battle.

41. The Fault in Our Stars

John Green
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, the number one bestselling author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and Turtles All the Way Down, is perceptive, brave, irreverent, and heartbreaking. The hilarious, exhilarating, and tragic aspects of being alive and in love are masterfully explored.

Hazel has never been anything other than terminally ill, with her final chapter having been written upon diagnosis, despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has given her a few extra years. But Hazel’s tale is about to be completely changed when a handsome plot twist named Augustus Waters shows up at Cancer Kid Support Group out of nowhere.

42. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel 
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar, says PayPal co-founder Thiel in his first book.

There are still unknown territories to discover and novel inventions to develop, which is our era’s great secret. Peter Thiel, a renowned investor, and entrepreneur demonstrates in his book Zero to One how we might come up with unique strategies to produce those new items.

43. Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar, says PayPal co-founder Thiel in his first book.

There are still unknown territories to discover and novel inventions to develop, which is our era’s great secret. Peter Thiel, a renowned investor, and entrepreneur demonstrates in his book Zero to One how we might come up with unique strategies to produce those new items.

44. The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien
Publication Date: July 12, 1986
The cover art, drawings, and watercolor paintings on this lovely gift edition of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are all created by the artist Alan Lee.

Hobbit Bilbo Baggins lives a cozy, unambitious life, rarely venturing beyond his pantry or cellar. But when the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves show up on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure, his tranquility is shaken.

45. The Lord of the Rings I:
The Fellowship of the Ring

J.R.R. Tolkien
Publication Date: August 12, 1986
Set out on your Middle-Earth adventure…
The Lord of the Rings, an epic adventure written by J.R.R. Tolkien, begins with The Fellowship of the Ring.
One Ring to gather them all together and bond them in the darkness. One Ring to control them all.

Frodo Baggins was aware that the Ringwraiths were looking for him in order to steal the Ring of Power from him, which would allow Sauron to destroy everything noble in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and Sam to carry the Ring to the very heart of Sauron’s evil domain, where it could be destroyed.

46. The Lord of the Rings II:
The Two Towers

J.R.R. Tolkien
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
The second installment of The Lord of the Rings, an epic tale by J.R.R. This jacketed hardback version of The Two Towers features full-color plates and endpaper maps depicting Middle-earth near the end of the Third Age. It is exquisitely drawn by renowned Tolkien artist Alan Lee.

Throughout their journey to destroy the Ruling Ring in the Cracks of Doom and prevent it from slipping into the hands of the Dark Lord, Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have encountered danger. In a conflict in the Mines of Moria, they have lost the wizard Gandalf.

47. The Lord of the Rings III:
The Return of the King

J.R.R. Tolkien
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
The third and final installment of J. is titled The Return of the King. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, after The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. The story opens in the country of Gondor, which the Dark Lord Sauron is about to invade.

Frodo and Sam battle deep inside the domain of the Dark Lord in Mordor as he sends legions of Orcs out to conquer all of Middle-earth. The Dark Lord has arisen. The One Ring must be consumed in Mount Doom’s flames in order to vanquish Sauron. But the journey is incredibly difficult, and Frodo is deteriorating. All who wear the Ring become corrupt, and Frodo’s time is running out.

48. Lying

Sam Harris
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Best-selling author and neurologist Sam Harris makes the case in his book Lying that by simply stating the truth in circumstances where others frequently lie, we may drastically simplify our lives and advance society.

Life is just like Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello. Lies fuel and sustain the majority of personal vices and social vices. Acts of adultery and other forms of personal betrayal, financial fraud, political corruption, and even murder, and genocide, typically call for a second moral flaw: a readiness to lie.

49. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Simon Sebag Montefiore 
Publication Date: September 13, 2005
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • This highly praised history of a Soviet tyrant and his entourage during the terrible decades of his absolute power completely alters the way we think about the Russian emperor and Marxist leader.

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s exposĂ© of this hidden world’s dread and treachery, privilege, and revelry, family life, and homicidal savagery are based on ground-breaking research. This scholastic accomplishment, which was written with vivacious narrative vivacity, has gone down in the annals of modern history writing.

50. Franklin: An American Life

Walter Isaacson
Publication Date: June 1, 2004
In this authoritative and compelling full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, blockbuster author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most remarkable of America’s founders helped shape our national character.

Walter Isaacson narrates the adventures of the runaway apprentice who over the course of his eighty-four-year life became one of America’s best writers, inventors, media moguls, scientists, diplomats, and business strategists in a sprawling narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back. Franklin also became one of its most pragmatic and clever political leaders.

51. The Complete Story of Civilization

Will Durant 
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
The product of Will and Ariel Durant’s four decades of work, this is the standard reference on world history and is regarded as the most thorough general history ever published.

Writing a history of the nineteenth century was the original goal of this series, which Will Durant acknowledged could only be understood in the context of what had come before. The Durants then started an exhaustive study of every civilization, both Western and Eastern, ancient and modern.

52. What We Owe the Future

William MacAskill 
Publication Date: August 16, 2022
An Oxford philosopher argues for “longtermism”, the idea that shaping the long-term future in a favorable way should be our time’s top moral concern.

We are in control of the course of the world. The history of writing on Earth is only 5,000 years old. Millions more years could pass in our future, or it could end tomorrow. Depending on what we decide to do today, an incredible number of individuals could have lifetimes of immense happiness, unfathomable agony, or even death.

53. The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: From Marathon to Waterloo

Edward Shepherd Creasy
Publication Date: February 17, 2016
Edward S. Creasy’s Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, unquestionably the most well-known classic of the military history of the nineteenth century, has been read and reread for close to 150 years.

This book chronicles the fifteen military conflicts (from Marathon to Waterloo) that had a significant bearing on the course of human history. One battle was fought by European powers and former colonies in North America, and fourteen of the battles took place in the arc of historically connected military theatres that stretched from Persia through the Mediterranean Basin to Europe. This selection reflects the perspective of a 19th-century European with a classical education.

54. If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens … WHERE IS EVERYBODY?

Stephen Webb
Publication Date: May 29, 2015
Webb provides thorough, clear, and occasionally funny coverage of a wide range of subjects. He gives readers non-trivial insights into areas of science that they would not have previously known about.

Given that there are possibly 400 billion stars in our Galaxy alone and possibly 400 billion galaxies in the Universe, it is logical to assume that there is or once was a civilization at least as advanced as our own somewhere in the 14 billion-year-old cosmos. The sheer size of the statistics practically forces us to recognize the validity of this theory.

55. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Britannica Editors 
Publication Date: April 1, 2002
The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, a single volume, offers brief responses to frequent queries concerning history, art, science, and other branches of human knowledge.

The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, a thorough compilation of knowledge in a digestible volume, has 28,000 entries condensed from the venerable 32-volume Encyclopedia. The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia is reliable, easily accessible, and reasonably priced, and it has more articles than comparably priced one-volume encyclopedias.

56. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams
Publication Date: June 23, 1997
The best-selling pop culture classic by Douglas Adams sends logic into orbit, messes with time and physics, and makes witty observations about things like ballpoint pens, potted plants, and digital watches. . . and most significantly, it reveals the final solution to everything, including life and the cosmos.

For Arthur Dent, this Thursday morning is typical. . . until his home is torn down. Arthur’s best buddy has just revealed that he is an alien, and the Earth soon after to make way for a new hyperspace fast route.

57. The Art of War

Sun Tzu
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
A thorough compilation of The Art of War’s most important iterations, the traditional Chinese military manual regarded by many as the ultimate strategy manual

The Art of War by Sun Tzu, written more than 2,000 years ago, is a study on the structure of armed organizations. It is probably the most prestigious and significant book on strategy in existence right now.

58. The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy

Adam Tooze 
Publication Date: March 22, 2007
Hitler’s ideas about the possibilities of a European army powerful enough to challenge America, as well as the flaws of Hitler’s troops, are traced in an understandable depiction of the Nazi war machine and its defeat.

Around the Third Reich, an incredible mythology has developed that continues to loom over political and moral discussion today. Adam Tooze’s controversial book examines how Hitler’s remarkably prescient vision was eventually thwarted by Germany’s inadequate resources and his own racial ideology by challenging the standard economic interpretations of the time.

59. Not Much of an Engineer

Sir Stanley Hooker
Publication Date: January 4, 1985
In 1949, Stanley Hooker joined the Bristol Aeroplane Firm and prodded the company into the jet age in an effort to seriously challenge Rolls-Royce.

An interesting account of Stanley Hooker, a Rolls Royce engineer. Even though he was never qualified, he was to create and improve the Super-Chargers and aircraft engines used in World War 11 that greatly aided Britain’s war effort. He was an applied mathematician who focused first on internal combustion engines and then on jet engines, where he gained significant understanding.

60. American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 – 1964

William Manchester
Publication Date: September 30, 1978
The #1 best-seller that perfectly portrays the lives and times of one of the most accomplished and divisive military leaders of the twentieth century.

Uplifting, outrageous A man of thundering paradox. One of only five men in history, Douglas MacArthur, held the position of General of the United States Army. Known for saying that “in combat, there is no substitute for victory,” he served in World Wars I, and II, and the Korean War.

61. Ignition!: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants

William Manchester
Publication Date: May 23, 2018
Ignition! is the gripping tale of the hunt for rocket fuel that could be relied upon to launch a man into space. 

Rival laboratories engaged in a risky search that went against accepted natural rules, with no assurance of success or safety. John Drury Clark, a renowned physicist and author of science fiction, writes with irreverence and eyewitness immediacy about the creation of explosive fuels potent enough to overcome the unrelenting constraints of gravity.

62. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Robert A. Heinlein 
Publication Date: June 15, 1997
The most influential science fiction author of his day was Robert A. Heinlein, whose effect was so great that, in the words of Samuel R. Delany, “contemporary critics attempting to wrestle with that influence find themselves dealing with an object rather like the sky or an ocean.”

It is a story of revolution, about how the old Lunar penal colony rose up in rebellion against the Lunar Authority, which rules over it from Earth. It tells the story of three unlikely characters who end up leading the rebel movement: a computer specialist, a fiery young female activist, and a professor in their eighties.

63. Das Kapital

Karl Marx 
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
Karl Marx’s Capital: Critique of Political Economy, published between 1867 and 1883, is a key text in the theory of communist philosophy, economics, and politics.

In contrast to traditional political economists like Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill, Marx sought to illuminate the economic trends that underlie the capitalist mode of production.

64. Modern Engineering for Design of Liquid Propellant Rocket Engines

Dieter K Huzel 
Publication Date: January 1, 1992
This how-to text bridges the gap between fundamental physical and design principles and actual rocket-engine design as it is carried out in the industry, covering everything from component design to subsystem design, engine systems design, engine development, and flight-vehicle application.

Rocket net propulsion has progressed from a crude engineering science to a sophisticated engineering art since World War II. The production of advanced liquid-propellant rocket engines that can launch scientific, commercial, and military spacecraft into low and high Earth orbits as well as to planets in our solar system is currently dominated by a small number of aerospace corporations in the United States and internationally.

65. Storm of Steel

Ernst Jünger 
Publication Date: May 4, 2004
Ernst JĂĽnger’s Storm of Steel, translated by Michael Hofmann for Penguin Modern Classics, depicts the frantic First World War through the perspective of a regular German soldier.

Storm of Steel, a memoir by a common German soldier, illustrates both the horrors and the attraction of total war. It is a book of astounding strength, brutality, and ashen lyricism. Jünger reveled in the Great War, which he saw not only as a great national conflict but—more importantly—as a singular personal struggle. He was young, tough, patriotic, but also unsettlingly self-aware.

66. A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success

Maye Musk
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
A Woman Makes A Plan offers readers a lifetime of hard-won advice and is warm, honest, and true. It also has a good dose of humor.

Maye Musk, a stylish, endearing, jet-setting supermodel who is 71 years old, has an interesting and close-knit family and social group. But life was not always simple or spectacular; at age 31, she gave birth to her three children on her own and struggled to support them while living in poverty.

67. Daemon

Daniel Suarez
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Computer programs called daemons quietly run in the background while they await a particular occasion or period of time to execute. Almost every service is run by them. They enable our networked society. But they also leave it open to attack.

A previously dormant daemon awakens when the obituary of renowned video game architect Matthew Sobol surfaces online, starting a series of events that start to tear our interconnected world apart. This daemon follows human followers, examines newspaper headlines, and issues assassination orders.

68. Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness

Donald L. Barlett & James B. Steele 
Publication Date: September 17, 2004
The life that served as the basis for Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The public has always been captivated by Howard Hughes’ combination of secrecy, a stylish lifestyle, and seclusion. This is the book that pierces the façade to reveal the real man.

69. Starhammer

Christopher B. Rowley
Publication Date: January 12, 1986
A human slave named Jon Iehard is sent by the Laow in charge of Imperium to track down Eblis Bey, an Old Earth terrorist with the capability of destroying their empire.

The Laowon Imperium had ruled The Worlds of Man for at least a millennium. The aliens loved breeding new species because they believed that humans made better slaves and pets. Additionally, the Laowon took care to prevent their toys from becoming overly strong.

70. The Stainless Steel Rat

Harry Harrison
Publication Date: December 30, 2020
Harry Harrison, who also wrote Deathworld and Make Room!, is the author of Stainless Steel Rat. Make Space! (adapted into the movie Soylent Green), the well-known Stainless Steel Rat novels and numerous other well-known SF works.

Jim thinks he has pulled off a successful bank heist, but he is tricked into joining the Special Corps, an elite law enforcement and spy organization that is primarily made up of former felons like him and is directed by the past Galaxy’s biggest thief, Harold P. Inskipp. He meets his love interest, Angelina, who is also a criminal genius but lacks Jim’s rather rigid moral standards and prohibitions against killing, and he believes he has escaped the Corps.

71. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Edward Gibbon
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
The six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, written by Edward Gibbon between 1776 and 1788, is one of the most majestic and ambitious works of literature in Europe.

Its focus is on the thirteen-century history of one of the world’s greatest civilizations, including the rulers, conflicts, and social structures that contributed to its terrible demise. Gibbon eloquently describes the waves of barbarian invasions led by leaders like Alaric and Attila who overran and ultimately devastated the West in volumes three and four. Then he turns his attention to what is happening in the East, where the Byzantine emperor Justinian’s accomplishments and the military campaigns of the brilliant general Belisarius were unable to mask the basic flaws in their empire.

72. Twelve Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure

William Bolitho
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Twelve fearless people from history were profiled in this 1929 bestseller, along with what they did to stand out from the crowd.

Bolitho explains the challenges and triumphs that made these people so famous and shows how they all defied expectations and norms to acquire enduring popularity and notoriety.

73. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Sean Carroll
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
The immediately successful New York Times bestseller explores how we understand the universe and our place in it.

Readers discover the differences between how the world functions at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level—and then how one ties to the other—in brief chapters filled with fascinating historical events, personal asides, and rigorous exposition.

74. Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
The New Yorker called Walter Isaacson’s “enthralling” biography of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, a worldwide bestseller.

Jobs stands as the pinnacle of ingenuity and applied imagination at a time when America is looking for methods to maintain its competitive edge in innovation. He was aware that fusing creativity and technology was the best approach to generating value in the twenty-first century. He established a business that combines incredible engineering marvels with imaginative leaps.

75. The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith
Publication Date: November 5, 2018
Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations provides a detailed analysis of the Industrial Revolution’s economics. Smith discusses the advantages of a free market economy by demonstrating how it creates a society that is more productive.

This landmark text on political economy served as the modern market economy’s starting point when it was first published in 1776. Adam Smith’s work of economic analysis, which is rich in historical context and astute observations of the 18th-century scene, is also a wise work of political philosophy.

76. The Machine Stops

E.M. Forster
Publication Date: May 10, 2018
Forster imagines a future in which practically all people are no longer able to live on the surface of the Earth in this brief science fiction story.

The majority of people on Earth today reside underground. People live in their own rooms, communicating with each other only sometimes through distant messaging. The Machine meets all demands for delays.

77. Our Final Invention

James Barrat 
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
The dangers of the reckless pursuit of advanced AI are examined in James Barrat’s Our Final Invention through profiles of tech visionaries, industry watchdogs, and ground-breaking AI systems.

AI might rival and eventually surpass human intelligence in as little as ten years. The Holy Grail of AI, human-level intelligence, is being pursued with billions of dollars from businesses and government organizations. Scientists contend that whenever AI achieves it, it will possess survival instincts similar to human own.

78. Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control

Stuart Russell 
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
The successful coexistence of humans and increasingly intelligent machines is made possible by a novel approach to AI presented by a renowned artificial intelligence researcher.

Superhuman artificial intelligence is seen as an impending tidal wave that threatens not only jobs and interpersonal relationships but also civilization as a whole. Human-machine conflict is viewed as inevitable, with a predetermined ending.

79. Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX

Eric Berger
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
The gripping insider account of the historic flights that transformed SpaceX—and Elon Musk—from a precarious start-up into the most cutting-edge rocket company in the world.

An amazing ten years have passed for SpaceX. In less than 20 years after its inception, it has developed reusable rockets, boasted the largest array of commercial satellites in orbit, and in 2020 became the first private firm to launch people into orbit.

80. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture

David Kushner
Publication Date: May 11, 2004
The fascinating actual account of John Carmack and John Romero, the Lennon and McCartney of video games, can be found in Masters of Doom. They dominated large businesses as a unit. They changed the face of civilization. And they started a big national debate.

Video games are more expensive in America than cinema tickets. Written by one of the most respected analysts of the genre, Masters of Doom is the first book to recount this business’ greatest tale. David Kushner immerses readers in the rags-to-riches story of two disobedient businessmen who grew up to influence a generation.

81. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
Publication Date: September 13, 2013
The format of Franklin’s autobiography is an extended letter to his son. This book is the first “How to Succeed” book in America since the author includes advice for living a successful life while also recounting the events of his life.

Video games are more expensive in America than cinema tickets. Written by one of the most respected analysts of the genre, Masters of Doom is the first book to recount this business’ greatest tale. David Kushner immerses readers in the rags-to-riches story of two disobedient businessmen who grew up to influence a generation.

82. The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe

Dr. Steven Novella
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Steven Novella, an academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, and his SGU co-hosts have created a comprehensive handbook to skepticism that Richard Wiseman considers “the excellent primer for anyone who wishes to differentiate fact from fiction.”

Video games are more expensive in America than cinema tickets. Written by one of the most respected analysts of the genre, Masters of Doom is the first book to recount this business’ greatest tale. David Kushner immerses readers in the rags-to-riches story of two disobedient businessmen who grew up to influence a generation.

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