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Run Your Business Like Elon Musk with these 9 Book Recommendations

Love him or loathe him, Elon Musk is no stranger to success. He co-founded PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX. Now, he’s the firebrand CEO of X (formerly Twitter). Learn how he got where he is today with the advice from these nonfiction books.
by Rob Gillham | Aug 7 2023
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With a net worth of over $200 billion, Elon Musk is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs of our time. So, what’s his secret to success? One answer is that he reads— a lot. He’s said publicly that every CEO who wants to get ahead should dedicate a considerable amount of their time to reading, and he even credits books with teaching him how to build rockets.

To run your business like Elon Musk, there are some essential books you should read. From titles that cover his leadership strategies to his communication methods. Whether you’re a budding startup owner or a seasoned business veteran, these books offer invaluable insights and advice to propel your venture to new heights.

But, if you’re a CEO or entrepreneur, it can seem like an impossible task to find time for reading. That’s where Blinkist steps in. The award-winning knowledge app gives you the breakdown of a nonfiction book in as little time as it takes to prepare for a morning meeting.

“Blinkist has helped me read more — period. I love that I can get the key learnings from 10+ books a week, and immediately implement them in my own life. Blinkist has also helped me filter the books I purchase — if I couldn’t get enough of the Blinks, I buy it.”
–Hitha Palepu, entrepreneur and author.

Do you want to run your business like Elon Musk? Let’s see what titles you should be reading, each available in the Blinkist library.

9 Books Elon Musk Recommends for Running Your Business Better

1. Reinventing the Product by Eric Schaeffer and David Sovie

In 2008, when Elon Musk assumed leadership at Tesla Motors, the electric car market was facing an uphill battle. Musk’s approach was simple yet profound – he prioritized design and innovation. By pushing the boundaries of what electric cars could achieve, he shattered preconceived notions and turned Tesla into one of the most successful car companies in history.

Just as Elon Musk’s innovative mindset revolutionized the electric car industry, Reinventing the Product gives readers the tools to reimagine their products, processes, and entire business models. This captivating book is a treasure trove of insights, providing businesses with a roadmap to escape the clutches of the past and embrace a future where smart, digitally connected products reign supreme.

2. The Road to Reinvention by Josh Linkner

Elon Musk’s journey into the realm of reusable rocket boosters seemed like an improbable dream lifted straight from science fiction. But, Musk was determined; he delved into the complexities of rocket engineering, and when asked how he learned so much about the subject, he replied, “I read books.”

Musk’s drive to revolutionize space flight was not merely about rockets and propulsion systems; it was about reimagining the very essence of leadership and management. In The Road to Reinvention, Josh Linkner artfully unveils how curiosity and a willingness to embrace change are paramount in today’s ever-evolving business world.

3. Superhuman Innovation by Chris Duffey

According to Elon Musk, artificial intelligence is the biggest threat facing humanity. As a business owner or entrepreneur, understanding the risks and benefits posed by AI is crucial when navigating the dynamic landscape of the future. Superhuman Innovation by Chris Dufferey explores the impressive breadth of possibilities AI offers to all fields of business, from healthcare to fashion.

“The only limit to AI is human imagination.”
–Chris Duffey, Superhuman Innovation.

4. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Elon Musk’s secret to success lies in his lean startup approach—swift and iterative testing to validate or discard business ideas. This dynamic strategy allows him to swiftly spot and address potential issues, making adjustments on the fly. To master this approach, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries has everything you need to know. This book draws from techniques pioneered in lean manufacturing and agile development, to give entrepreneurs the tools to a build a business that grows year after year.

5. Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Think Like a Rocket Scientist, by Ozan Varo, a real-life rocket engineer, offers a fascinating exploration of the principles that Elon Musk used to ignite the commercial aerospace revolution. Delving into the strategies used by rocket scientists, the book uncovers techniques for innovation, problem-solving, and achieving the seemingly unimaginable.

6. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Discover how one of the richest men in the world built their fortune in Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. This book unravels his determination, ingenuity, and leadership techniques that can help your own business flourish. Gain priceless insights to run your own business like a visionary and create a lasting impact on the future.

7. Originals by Adam Grant

Elon Musk is a true original and is no stranger to standing out from the crowd, he famously told aspiring entrepreneurs to “question and challenge the status quo.”

Originals by Adam Grant delves into the origins of great ideas, offering unconventional rules to foster creativity in all aspects of life. Grant presents practical guidelines to enhance our own creativity, providing foolproof methods to identify truly original ideas and see them through to fruition.

Grant teaches you how to become a true original, like Elon Musk. By tapping into the realm of original thinking, you can redefine possibilities, challenge boundaries, and create a legacy that stands out from the crowd.

8. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

One of Elon Musk’s core drivers for successful leadership is his unwavering appreciation for feedback, be it positive or negative. He is a fan of the feedback loop, stating in an interview that, “it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

Drawing from Musk’s wisdom, Radical Candor by Kim Scott serves as a valuable roadmap for leaders seeking to build strong relationships with their employees. This insightful management approach unveils the secrets to creating a work environment where great ideas flourish, individuals reach their full potential, and employees take pride in following their boss’s lead.

9. The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias by Pamela Fuller & Mark Murphy with Anne Chow

Elon Musk’s leadership style is often hailed for its ingenious problem-solving approach known as “First Principles.” Unlike most people who begin by considering limitations, Musk starts by exploring the realm of possibilities. By adopting this mindset, he effectively removes biases and assumptions, both conscious and unconscious, that can hinder creativity and decision-making processes.

To foster a similar mindset in your own leadership, The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias serves as an invaluable resource. This comprehensive book sheds light on unconscious bias in the workplace, empowering leaders and managers to identify and address it effectively. You can even take your learning further with this guide on how to eliminate unconscious bias at work, led by Pamela Fuller.

Blinkist Guides Are A Playlist For Learning

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Whether you want to learn more about leadership or personal development, Blinkist Guides can offer you a deeper understanding. Dive into audio advice from experts that cover key advice from a range of books, arranged logically with charts, graphs, and interactive exercises to give you a more in-depth understanding of the subject.

Think of Blinkist Guides as your go-to playlists for knowledge. Just like a playlist is a collection of songs curated to set a specific mood, these guides are expertly curated collections of Blinkist explainers around specific topics or themes.

To unlock your business potential and learn the advice that Elon Musk swears by, check out Blinkist’s 7-day free trial. With Blinkist, you can access concise summaries of thousands of non-fiction titles, including the very books that have inspired Elon Musk on his extraordinary journey. Seize this opportunity to fuel your entrepreneurial drive and embark on a path of continuous learning, growth, and achievement.

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