Pavel Durov recommends

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photo: TechCrunch

Founder of VK and Telegram suggests the books that helped shape his thinking

“Flow: The Psychology ofOptimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In his interview to The Huffington Post Pavel Durov has named this book the one he is most likely to give out to a friend

Now a household word used mostly in a business context, the author’s book debut in 1991 unleashed a groundbreaking discovery – being at the top of your game takes complete concentration and involvement. The kicker is that the author uses psychological tools to show how this state can be achieved by choice. If the ability is manageable, so is your state of fulfillment and satisfaction. The eight elements include a lack of self-awareness as the focus shifts into uber-drive, and time awareness recedes. Good points are made about the difference between satisfaction in an absorbing task, rather than low-level entertainment or recreational drugs.

The Power Of Now” byEckhart Tolle

How to become enlightened?

Read The Power of Now by Tolle


Also mentioned in Self-Help Books Recommended By Oprah Winfrey

This Zen Buddhist work of philosophy has made quite an impression on a number of reading lists of famous celebrities, from Paris Hilton to Oprah Winfrey. As might be deduced from the title, Tolle promotes the perspective of living in the moment – but not in a shallow way. Styled as a spiritual teacher, Tolle goes beyond the practical necessity of living moment-to-moment, but says that the present is truly all that there is, and should be lived with intensity – because time is purely an illusion. The rejection of struggle by implementing mindfulness, and moving from inactive waiting to the integrity of action, are also intriguing themes.

“Tao Te Ching” by Laozi

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in his Instagram account

Also mentioned in Jack Dorsey’s 5 Favorite Books

This Book of the Way offers wisdom balanced by the experience of perspective. The book’s appeal rests on the idea that eternal principles can govern all that is mysterious and wonderful about life. This classic text dates back to the fourth century, but the applications of the 81 sections range from cosmological to political, all accessible through «the gate of many secrets», although the focus rests on awareness rather than naming (or blaming).

“The Black Swan” by NassimTaleb

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in one of his tweets

While it’s easy to be awed by the power and order of the universe, Taleb points out again that the orderly has a good deal of randomness attached for the ride. Moving on from statistics in Fooled by Randomness, he explains in this work that futuristic predictions contain many landmines. The path of past repetition gets marred by large and unplanned world events that throw all forecasters out of their Wall Street grooves. From Google’s unplanned success to the actual discovery of black swans in Australia, it’s possible to ignore the outlying areas outside of what man knows.

“Hackers & Painters:Big Ideas from the Computer Age” by Paul Graham

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in his interview to

Also mentioned in Evan Williams’ Book List, Chris Anderson’s Book Choice

Graham has developed the promotion of unpopular, go-against-the-grain habits of nerds to a fine art. A common pitfall for large companies, he says, is simply imitating and improving on someone else’s innovation, like Hollywood blockbusters that use a tried-and-true formula with a few new plot twists. Startup companies can nip around bureaucracy, please customers, and award those who get things done, joining in the true joy of wealth creation. InSITE, a New York City hub, featured his work on a top 10reading list for 2012, along with startup job promoter

The Art of Non-Conformity” byChris Guillebeau

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in one of his tweets

The author’s stated intent of giving away his profits to a personally meaningful charity in Ethiopia is a good indication of the message that doing good can work for both you and others. For those who love real-life adventures and the lure of vagabonding, mixing goal-setting with personal development has never felt so free. While corporations are slow to validate the growing tribes of non-conformists who want their visioneering to have an effect beyond themselves, Guillebeau’s message is that no one has to wait for them to catch up.

“An Introduction to Zen Buddhism” by D. T. Suzuki

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in his Facebook account

Perhaps the best link between Zen next to the famous ‘Motorcycle Maintenance’ guide, this book breaks down the barriers of the East to the readers of the West. The blending includes an introduction by famous psychologist Carl Jung, who recognized the value of the author who trained at the Kamakura Zen monastery. This book provides the philosophical background for those who seek balanced enlightenment in the here and now, through unconscious acts unspoiled by self-awareness or self-aggrandizing behaviors.

“The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene

Pavel Durov has recommended this book to one of his colleagues at VK

Presidential candidates and readers of ‘The Art of War’ will find a home for this work on their shelves. The 48 Laws are a summary of the principles of great wielders of invisible weapons, from Queen Elizabeth to P.T. Barnum. It’s possible to read the text in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, as a guide to avoidance of habits that become destructive in the long term, or as a real-life way to protect yourself against those who are just as ruthless in crushing their enemies in the boardroom as in the war room. At the very least, the tips on saying less than necessary and concealing one’s intentions can be good advice in a troubled business world.

Sheryl Sandberg recommends

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photo: JD Lasica/

Chief Operating Officer of Facebook talks about some great books that had a tremendous effect on her life and career

”Bossypants” by Tina Fey

– from interview to The New York Times

This is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at a comedienne who impersonates politicians with style and flair. Before her fame on Saturday Night LIve, there were nights of nerdhood extraordinary, and culinary habits that would grace any trailer park. All of these tidbits are nothing, next to the insights on males and females in the workplace, which make Dave Barry look like he’s met his female match. Fans of Fey’s work in person may not want to see behind the character mask, though the realistic humor of juggling mommy duties with make-up ring true to life.

 ”Now, Discover Your Strengths”by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

– from interview to The New York Times

  “The Lean Startup: HowToday’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically SuccessfulBusinesses” by Eric Ries

– from interview to The New York Times

Also mentioned in Best Books To Read Before Starting Business Due To Dustin Moskovitz

If you want to read only one book on startups you should choose The Lean Startup. It’s about one of the hottest startup theories today: startup is all about testing your ideas, hypothesis and then finding their best combination. Like a science, not casino

”How Companies Win” by RickKash, David Calhoun

– Sheryl’s review

If you don’t remember life before McDonald’s as a mega-corporation, or if you’ve ever wondered where your company falls on the supply-demand chain, Kash and Calhoun of the Cambridge Group offer insights into the marketplace’s financial chinks in the armor. Pricing and innovation tips are taken from a mashup of giants: HP, Bestbuy, Allstate, Google, andHersheys. Rather than a rehashed view of efficient supply-chain management, theauthors offer highly profitable pools of demand that lead to winning the powerwar of pricing.

  ”The Big Short” by MichaelLewis

– from interview to The New York Times

Who knew about the crash of 2008 before it happened? Fans of the author’s other works, Moneyball and The Blind Side, will appreciate this four-part perspective that sheds light on the murky world of high finance. While it might be comforting to only blame those at the top who make out like bandits (and act like it too), the truth in this fictional tale is that while some investors lost their shirts, some were able to predict and profit from a mess left by greed and lack of accountability – and huge gaps in data analysis.

  ”Home Game: An Accidental Guideto Fatherhood” by Michael Lewis

Not since Bill Cosby’s bestseller Fatherhood has a parenting book become famous so quickly. This account of a bewildered but persistent parent takes the mask off of the cover-up game that means, really, you just make up the rules as you go along. So do the children, from his daughter letting loose four-letter words and keeping brothers at bay with the power of pee in the swimming pool, to antics with the nanny. Fans of Liar’s Poker and The Next New Thing shouldn’t shirk at adding this gem to their collection.

 ”Conscious Business: How toBuild Value through Values” by Fred Kofman

– from interview to The New York Times

Can Level 5 Leaders (i.e. Collins’ Good to Great top tier of quality leaders) be developed? Consciousness, says Kofman, is the key making decisions based on a real-life understanding of your team’s obstacles and the intentional working out of good decision-making under pressure. This Google and Chrysler consultant’s message of authenticity, integrity, and helpfulness in the marketplace are much-needed for business leaders in search of the three indispensible tools that will enhance workplace culture – that blend of the impersonal and interpersonal that lead to emotional mastery.

 “A Wrinkle in Time”by Madeleine L’Engle

– from interview to The New York Times

Also mentioned in Jeff Bezos’ Exciting Book Choice

L’Engle’s novel, on time travel and the importance of family, is another classic children’s book that nearly never made it onto library bookshelves or anyone’s reading list. Like the unlikely heroine Meg, who stubbornly argues points with her teachers, L’Engle pitched the book to many publishers (says NPR) before finding one company who would give the metaphysics-laden novel a chance. Adult readers will be fascinated by this Newberry Award-winner, for its totalitarian themes of the IT-dominated Camazotz, and the power of love over hate.

“Harry Potter” series by J. K.Rowling

– from interview to The New York Times

These seven books may not have changed the face of Britain, but these simply written stories tends to grab the reader with a plot attraction that’s hard to resist. The appeal crosses age boundaries by its mixture of the battle and survival mentality of World War II with a world of teens, school, and magic. Harry Potter and his band of misfit renegades, aided and abetted by the soft-spoken but powerful Professor Dumbledore, manage to defy Lord Voldemort in his ceaseless quest for power – to rule both magical and non-magical folks worldwide.

Elizabeth Holmes recommends

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photo: a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Fortune Global Forum

Ambitious businesswoman and the CEO of Theranos recommends the books she is fascinated by

                  “The Odyssey” by Homer

–from interview to

Also mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner

Any classical scholar or schoolchild should know the basics of this work, especially as it appears on every book list from Trojan War history to Top 100 Must-Reads. The great Ithacan warrior Odysseus has spent ten years attempting to return to his homeland, after winning the war against Troy, enmeshed in struggles against nature and mythical creatures alike. His wife Penelope is besieged in waves after waves of suitors, not unlike her husband’s continual near-deaths at sea. His son Telemachus is considered a threat to the suitors, and there are plans to have him removed as an unwelcome obstacle. While gods debate and a nymph swoons over the imprisoned hero, his one thought is of home.

                  “The Iliad” by Homer

Also mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner

Equally well-known on college reading lists, this book covers a similar timeframe as the Odyssey – nine years after the Trojan War has begun. An Apollo priestess is under lock and key, which is the reason for a continual plague on the Greek armies. Two representatives of Greece and Troy are chosen to do battle: Paris and Menelaus. After Paris flees, many battles rage in Mount Olympus and on earth, by land and by sea. After refusing to fight due to a deadly insult, Achilles does a body-armor swap with a friend that ends disastrously, but he gets a new purpose and set of armor that helps him accomplish a temporary truce.

                  “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

Also mentioned in 5 Fiction Books Morgan Freeman Inspired By, Steve Jobs’ Reading List

Melville is a talented (if long-winded) author whose masterpiece remains the story about an elusive whale, and its mad pursuer, Captain Ahab. The narrator is not the only character with an exotic Biblical name (Ishmael), and there are as many themes to be had as fish in the sea. Moby Dick is a strangely destructive whale, who seems to take delight in capsizing and destroying the life of whaling vessels. Captain Ahab’s thirst for avenging his lost leg and ship prove to be his undoing. He makes a strange figure, teetering about his own ship on a leg made from a whale’s jawbone, and seeking the prophetic mutterings of a harpoon crew member for clues on Moby Dick’s location. Reading between the lines of whale oil and prophecy lies a fascinating tale of the nature of good and evil – and madness.

                  “The Complete Story of Civilization” by Will Durant and Ariel Durant

–from interview to

This eleven-volume set includes some rather forgotten eras of history, such as the ‘Age of Voltaire’ and the ‘Age of Napoleon’. The wedded pair of Nobel Prize-winning historians managed to work in many illustrations of women and domestic life, which is sometimes overlooked in historical accounts. The lively wording and primary source quotes put this set on the 1960’s Book of the Month club listings. While some readers complain that the section on Asia origins is rather thin, those in search of improving their grasp of Western Civilization should find this an insightful and entertaining read, especially if the readers enjoy puns.

                  “The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

–from interview to

Also mentioned in Top Books To Read According To Bill Clinton

Called a “must-read” by Steve Forbes, and praised for its manly tone of translation by Jacques Barzun, this book may become as much of a business classic as Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”. The emphasis on personal virtue despite others’ inclinations or pressures, reality versus fantasy thinking, and viewing obstacles as the road to improvement, are just as applicable now as in the second century A.D. Other readers who added this Aurelius work to their reading lists include the former leader of the US Ethics office (Stephen Potts), a former director of the CIA (Admiral Turner), and a Yale history professor. Hillsdale Academy included this book in its recommended summer reading list for students.

Marc Andreessen recommends

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photo: Wikimedia

Best business and sci-fi books suggested by famous entrepreneur, investor and the creator of Netscape

“The Lean Startup: HowToday’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically SuccessfulBusinesses” by Eric Ries

– Marc’s review

Also mentioned in Best Books To Read Before Starting Business Due To Dustin Moskovitz

If you want to read only one book on startups you should choose The Lean Startup. It’s about one of the hottest startup theories today: startup is all about testing your ideas, hypothesis and then finding their best combination. Like a science, not casino

  “Leaving Microsoft to Changethe World (An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Childen)” byJohn Wood

– Marc’s review

Also mentioned in Tremendous Reading List Of Tim Ferriss

Wood has been compared to two influential Carnegie’s – Dale and Andrew – in two different categories. The author clearly shows the influence of Dale Carnegie’s class (author of classic business book list addition How to Win Friends and Influence People) in his approach to people. At the same time, his deep business insights have led to the San Francisco Chronicle’s assessment of John Wood as the spirit of Andrew Carnegie let loose in third world countries, according to This is the story of Wood’s rejection of the corporate for the developing world, via the startup of a non-profit designed to inspire the love of reading in children.

 “Glasshouse” by Charles Stross

– Marc’s review

This sci-fi thriller could be summed up in four words: censorship, virus, wormhole, and mindwipe. If ever a book needs to be turned into a Vin Diesel screenplay, this is it – especially because Robin crosses gender and also technological-mammalian boundaries (Robin spent time as a tank). Those who are intrigued by the confused surrealism of life, as depicted by Kafka and Tiptree, will want to find out if Robin can unravel the mystery of his own identity as he fights to escape assassination and the effects of demobilization.

“Accelerando” by Charles Stross

– Marc’s review

Along the lines of a dystopian thriller, this singular shorts collection describes a post-human age that has produced a breeding ground of Artificial Intelligence. Molecular technology has mixed with extraterrestrial life and the Macx clan is caught in between (along with a cyber cat). From amplification techniques applied in business, to runaway indentured astronauts, there’s enough plot and drama twists for three or four stories inside one novel. Programmers will appreciate the nods to their craft, and discerning readers will want to weaver their own connecting story loops between the nine separate short stories in this book.

“Altered Carbon” by Richard K.Morgan

– Marc’s review

In four centuries, humans’ bodies will merely be holding shells for individual consciousnesses that get held in the intergalactic version of cloud computing until such time as a body is necessary for a download. Murder doesn’t quite have the same impact, and neither do sociological boundaries. The United Nations still exists in a much more Big Brother fashion, so when an ex-envoy gets transported to a new ‘sleeve’ (body), the resulting mystery surrounding the reason why he gets given a worn-out drug-addled sleeve are just the beginning of the conspiracy.

“Revelation Space” by AlastairReynolds

– Marc’s review

The annihilation of the Amarantins once prevented the miracle of space flight; Sylveste the scientist is determined to prevent a second annihilation standing between him and the solving of the mystery. Also, his survival against the shield mechanisms of the Shroud will come in handy with his struggles on board a lightship which houses an assassin and two bodiless beings. Sylveste is wanted by cyborgs to heal their captain from a deadly disease, and meanwhile – space is cold and unforgiving.

“Spin State” by Chris Moriarty

– Marc’s review

Quantum physics and the state of the human heart don’t seem like natural teammates, but Major Catherlne Li is a mixture in many ways. Secrets lay traps for the unwary, and Li walks a tightrope between keeping her own secrets and uncovering a few on her home planet that could lead to a power struggle between the U.N. and the Syndicates. Li is a complex character, and her struggles to recover a lost memory and uncover a troubled family history (involving clones) add a level of social consciousness unusual to a sci-fi futuristic thriller.

“Blindsight” by Peter Watts

– Marc’s review

Watts’ Hugo Award-winning work has resulted in many ‘Best Science Fiction’ lists on Goodreads, as well as ‘best aliens’, which is doubtless due to the extraterrestrial objects that shriek as they burn through Earth’s atmospheric shield. The team from Earth, sent out to make contact with the aliens, are a mismatched crew: an MPD linguist, a cyborg biologist, a vampire recalled from the grave, and a peaceful warrior. Perhaps those who have been rejected by Earth can forge an alliance with those who may want to either befriend or dominate the planet.

Max Levchin recommends

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The best business books for aspiring entrepreneursr ecommended by one of the PayPal-founders

                  “Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel

– Max Levchin on

Also mentioned in Best Books To Read Before Starting Business Due To Dustin Moskovitz

Also enjoy Favorite Non-Fiction Of Influential Investor Piter Thiel

                  “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz

Also mentioned in Best Books To Read Before Starting Business Due To Dustin Moskovitz

                  “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

Also recommended by Steve Jobs, Evan Williams, Mark Cuban, Andrew Grove, Guy Kawasaki, Malcolm Gladwell

Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.

                  “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

                  “Too Big to Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin

– Max Levchin on

While the title phrase has become a household term for ‘bailout’, the lead-up to the collapse of Bear Sterns and others are just appetizers for the backdrop of the Washington-Wall Street financial destruction of 2008. After 500 hours listening to government officials, spread over 200 interviews and bolstered by even more emails, the journalist’s research has been intertwined with human and humorous moments that make reading through 600 pages a fascinating tour of a system meltdown.

                  “The Ascent of Money” by Niall Ferguson

For those tempted to return to the good old days of Mesopotamian sea shells, Ferguson can disabuse you of that notion – and a few others. For instance, Mesopotamia bought and sold goods and services on the barter system, whereas wealth creation and storage was accomplished by precious metal coins and jewelry. Finances are the key to wars and national dominance, insists the author, who pulls out gold bar stockpiles leading to the Waterloo disaster and the Rothchild’s role in the South’s defeat in the Civil War. His conclusions about ‘Chimerica’ are disturbing but worth reading.

                  “When Genius Failed” by Roger Lowenstein

The story of the rise and fall of a firm from 1993 to 1998 is truly remarkable in its speed and scope. The firm of Long-Term Capital Management had been making headlines and creating envy until the moment it crashed. The two-year profit margin of over $1.5 billion would be impressive in any firm’s case, but the meteoric fall from $140 billion in assets took months rather than years. The resulting bailout story, in which the Federal Reserve explained the concept of a falling tide sinking all ships (i.e. stock market destabilization) is gripping and applicable today.

                  “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely

– Max Levchin on

It’s not surprising that humans act irrationally, says the author. What is surprising is how predictable our irrational behavior can be, especially when we truly think that we’re only doing what common sense would have us to do. From consistent overpayments to understimation of the effect of emotions, Professor Ariely lays out 20 years of research (largely on MBA students) into behavioral economics and how we can overcome our own biases toward making better decisions.

                  “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini

Also recommended by Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, mentioned in Guy Kawasaki On Books Every Businessmen Should Read

A book that’s earned its spot on the New York Times bestseller book list, Cialdini has concentrated over 30 years of research into how and why people respond with a “yes” instead of a no. Forbes magazine hailed Cialdini’s work on their favorite “75 Smartest” business books list, with its explanation of how people feel obligated to return favors (reciprocity) and why commitment is so powerful. Charlie Munger, the co-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and leader of Wesco Financial, also has a copy on his favorite reading list as one of the top three business books necessary for negotiation success.

                  “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov

– Max Levchin on

Also mentioned in Jack Dorsey’s 5 Favorite Books

Though it took over 20 years for this book to be published in Russia (due to Stalin’s control over literature), the originality of Bulgakov’s work is undimmed. There are similarities to C.S. Lewis’ work The Screwtape Letters, except that the devil’s influence, and justification for his evil, are explained in novel rather than letter form. The powerlessness of humans is emphasized by two types of external forces (political and spiritual), and the moral confusion surrounding characters such as married Margarita add to the novel’s complexity. Both Daniel Radcliffe and Simon McBurney (director of British theatre company Complicite) keep this book on their top reading lists.

                  “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs” by Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman

– Max Levchin on

Elon Musk recommends

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Best science fiction books and biographies according to Elon Musk

photo: OnInnovation

The Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder, PayPal co-founder, Internet tycoon shares a list of best science fiction books that inspire him. By the way, don’t miss his latest biography “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance

                  “Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” by J.E. Gordon

-Elon Musk

As a former naval architect and professor at Reading University, Gordon is more than qualified to explain the purpose of underlying structures – from chariot wheels to Chinese boats. Concepts of design are key to upholding or destroying powerful weapons, such as naval boats (like the H.M.S. Captain) and spaceships. A discussion on load-bearing is just as important here as a chapter on compression. It’s not hard to understand why this was one of the best books of the required reading in military academies, from the United States to the former Soviet Union, and still in high demand today.

                  “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson

“I like biographies. I think they are really helpful. I like Franklin’s biography by Isaaksson, it’s really good. He was an entrepreneur, he started of nothing, just like a runaway kid. It was interesting to see how he is creating his business, then go to science and politics. I could say he is one of the people I most admire. Franklin is pretty awesome. He did what needed to be done at the time it needed to be done.”

-Elon Musk in Kevin Rose’s Foundation

                  “Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness” by Donald L. Barlett

“May be a cautionary tale, he is sort of an interesting fella.”

-Elon Musk in Reading for leading

                  “Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age” by B. Carlson

“I also like biographies of scientists. Obviously, about Tesla, absolutely great person.”

-Elon Musk in Kevin Rose’s Foundation

                  “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

-from and

One of the best books to read in the science fiction realm, it can’t be beat for pure craziness. There are morose androids, philosophical discussions in swamps with mattresses, and alien invasions of quiet country golf courses – by a couch gone mad. There’s the all-important answer to the question on the meaning of life, and travel tips on what to bring on intergalactic journeys. There are big keg parties in the sky. Frankly, there’s not a lot that isn’t covered. If you find something missing, it’s sure to be in another Adams novel, though this is one of his best.

                  “Lord of the Rings” series by J. R. R. Tolkien

Musk names this book among his favorite ones during his teen-years in South Africa.


Reading such a set will take time and concentration, though it doesn’t take a die-hard fan to follow the story line. The epic war between citizens of Middle Earth is carried out by the humble and the great, from Lord Elrond (the Elf) of Rivendell, to Gandalf the wizard, Gimley the dwarf, Aragorn the returning king, and Frodo the hobbit of the Shire. The side of evil has Sauron the bodiless Eye, the wizard Saruman, Denethor of Gondor (who plays both sides), and his sons – besides legions of wicked goblins and orcs. While Sauron unleashes the forces of evil to restore his biggest weapon (the Ring), Frodo’s quest is to destroy it – without getting destroyed in the process.

                  “The Foundation Series” by Isaac Asimov

-Elon Musk

Besides Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, perhaps no other series has found its way into the hearts of the reading public and critics alike. Winner of the prestigious Hugo Award, this series covers philosophy, man’s origins, the laws of science, and whether or not man really can conquer space travel. As in Star Wars, politics and robots often determine the fate of …well, the Galaxy. Unlike in either Star Wars or Blade Runner, the hero (Hari Seldon) is a mathematician who has caught the attention of the Emperor. Seldon’s powerful tool will eventually prevent humans from devolving into savage beasts, thus securing a win for the future and civilization.

                  “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert Heinlein

Musk recommends this book as one of his favorite sci-fi books during his interview with Design&Architecture show host Frances Anderton. “…Robert Heinlein, obviously. I like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”, Musk says.

Another Hugo award-winner besides Isaac Asimov, Heinlein writes about a prison rebellion – on the Moon. The Lunar colony is in a state of uprising against their Earth-bound overlords, led by a trio of unlikely dissidents: a technician, a female rabble-rouser, and a Professor. The inhuman cog in the rebellion is the intelligent super-computer, named Mike. Free trade, and Mike’s future projection of starvation, provide the necessary fuel to wage war against a most powerful (and desperate) enemy. Reading this science fiction book can either inspire you to see revolution from a political light, make you consider the nature of intelligence, or help you root for the underdog.

                  “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein

Musk recommends this book as one of his favorite sci-fi books during his interview with Design&Architecture show host Frances Anderton. “I like Stranger in a Strange Land, although it kind of goes off the rails at the end”, Musk says.

Considered one of Heinlein’s absolute best books, it has eerie similarities to Ray Bradbury’s gloomy classic, The Martian Chronicles. Space explorers set out to discover Mars, and are lost for a generation. A second team is sent, discovers two of the original explorers’ children living free, and the children are brought to Earth for questioning and legal wrangles about economics and planet ownership. After hospital imprisonment by a calculating government official, Mike the Martian is helped by an intrepid reporter and his girlfriend to start a new and freeing Church of All Worlds. However, there’s still the problem of whether or not humans will accept this new church’s teachings on freedom, and cast off all restraints – or not.

                  “Ignition!: An informal history of liquid rocket propellants” by John D Clark

-Elon Musk

                  Star Wars: The Complete Saga

-Elon Musk

                  Star Trek

-Elon Musk


Bill Gates recommends

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Bill Gates: Top 10 books to read

photo: OnInnnovation

One of the richest men in the world recommends novels and a couple books on business. Here is his book list.

“My Years with General Motors” by Alfred Sloan

– Bill Gates

“My Years with General Motors” was published in 1963 and straight after that it became a bestseller and one of the books to read for every businessman. Not only this is the story of one of the world´s leading company in the automobile industry, but also it can be used as a manual for future business tycoons as it contains the unique experience of a leader who led the company to the prosperity.

 “Better Angels of Our Nature” by Steven Pinker

During reddit’s AMA Bill Gates said that “Better Angels of Our Nature” is his “favorite book of the last decade”. He added that “it is long but profound look at the reduction in violence and discrimination over time”

– Bill Gates on reddit’s AMA

Pinker is a Pulitzer finalist and a professor of psychology at Harvard, so when he writes about the decline of violence, it matters. He cites Biblical references, Grimm’s fairy tales, and historical true stories about actual whipping boys meant to take lashes on behalf of royal princes. Full of statistics, and references to history and psychology, Pinker makes an argument against common sense: that our generations are more anti-violent on a moral basis than prior generations. Named a global thinker by Foreign Policy, and a top influencer by Time Magazine, his best books come highly recommended to those who need to wrestle with large concepts.

“Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street” by John Brooks

– Bill Gates

Also mentioned in Warren Buffett: Best Business Books

“Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger

– from interview to

Also mentioned in Haruki Murakami Recommends 5 Good Books To Read, Woody Allen Recommends What To Read Next

Catcher in the Rye is undoubtfully a classical work of the American literature and is very popular in “Top 10 books” lists. This novel was the peak of J.D. Salinger’s career, as after it was published, he decided to live a life of a hermit. The main character being an expelled student named Holden Caulfield, the book is a first-person story written in the accordingly stylized language. Though he is just 16, he encounters many events that tend to preclude adults. Catcher in the Rye is about a youth of 1960-s,but it is still actual today.

“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles

– from interview to

The story about two friends, Gene and Phineas, by John Knowles is an undisputed American classic. It tells us about the life of two boys studying in a boarding school in the early 1940-s. They face a number of obstacles, even have something like the WWII itself between them, making for the life of adults. It is not a very popular book to read, but quite respectable.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

– from June 13, 2000 BusinessWeek article on Gates

Also recommended by Chuck Palahniuk, mentioned in 5 Good Books To Read According To Haruki Murakami

The Great Gatsby, the crowning achievement of the literary career of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in the Jazz Age, that is, 1920s. This is the story of Jay Gatsby, very wealthy and powerful billionaire, who is in love with Daisy Buchanan. As almost every man of power, Gatsby likes to throw luxurious parties, gather the Beautiful People in his house. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of XXth century literature.

“Life Is What You Make It” by Peter Buffett

– from Bill Gates’s website

Also recommended by Bill Clinton, Jamie Dimon, mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner


Though the author bears such famous last name, Buffet, he claims that he hasn´t inherited much from his parents, concerning materialistic issues. He was gifted with a family philosophy: “Everybody must find his own way in this life”. This warm, mind broadening, and inspirational book asks every reader, what will he choose: the way of least resistance or the way greatest satisfaction? In some sense this is the life story of Peter Buffet himself.

“SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance” by Steven D. Levitt

– from Bill Gates’s website

Also recommended by Malcolm Gladwell

After publishing Freakonomics in 2005, Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner didn’t stop. Having worked a lot, unrevealling new sides of current situation in the world, they present SuperFreakonomics, a book that will twist our way of thinking once again! Can television rise crime levels? What do prostitutes and department store Santas have in common? These and many other at first sight looney questions that can arise in the head of everybody are answered by the authors. It’s not an analysis, it is a freakalysis!

“That Used to be Us” by Thomas Friedman

– from Bill Gates’s website

This book written by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, two quite famous sholars and thinkers, discusses the modern problems that are faced by the USA and the whole world itself. Those are globalization, information revolution, deficits and consumption patterns. The authors come up with several solutions so that the American nation continue to be the Force N1 in the world: collaboration and interchange. The problem is not only in the system itself, but in the minds of the Americans.

   “For the Love of Physics” by Walter Lewin

– from Bill Gates’s website

Probably, many of you have had a problem with physics in school. It was complicated, uninteresting, contained many formulas, one is similar to the other. It is time to change this situation. This marvellous book, written by MIT professor Walter Lewin, is made for your convenience. No need to bone up on formulas, everything is written in such way that you will be surprised about how could you even dislike the science. Simply thrilling.

“The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language” by Steven Pinker

Bill Gates recommends everyone this book to read

Also recommended by Charlie Munger

Language is a matter that cannot be neglected in everyday life. It is made to communicate. But few people question themselves: what is a language? How is it structurized, who made it, how come we can understand each other? Steven Pinker can answer all those questions. Using multiple examples that are easy to understand, he guides us through the mysterious world of language.

                  “The Ten Commandments for Business Failure” by Donald R. Keough

– Bill Gates

Also recommended by Warren Buffett

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