As I've complied those lists, I've noticed that a handful of science fiction titles kept popping up. Here are seven that seem to be particularly appealing the to billionaire entrepreneur set:
1. Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
5 Second Summary: In an alternate reality similar to our own, a group of industrialist individuals withdraw from the world and bring it crashing down.
Why Billionaires Love It: In most science fiction, corporations are the villains who are trying to destroy the world. Rand reverses that, setting up corporate CEOs as the heroes that a villainous world is trying to destroy.
Fun Factoid: The last film that Steve Jobs viewed before his untimely death was the critically-panned Atlas Shrugged, Part I.
Opening Line: "Who is John Galt?"
2. A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
5 Second Summary: A nerdy young girl travels to another dimension to save her father and brother from a mind-controlling entity who rules a world without individuality.
Why Billionaires Love It: The story celebrates individuality as a defense against "group-think" in a collectivist society.
Fun Factoid: A Wrinkle in Time is one of the few science fiction books that have inspired an opera.
Opening Line: "It was a dark and stormy night."
Author: Frank Herbert
5 Second Summary: A young nobleman stranded on a desert world inspires fanatic hordes in order to bring down and transform a decadent empire.
Why Billionaires Love It: Billionaires like to think that they're changing the world for the better. They're naturally drawn towards a hero who does the same for the entire known universe.
Fun Factoid: The sequel to Dune, Dune Messiah, is famous as one of the world's most disappointing sequels.
Opening Line: "In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul."
4. Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
5 Second Summary: An especially-talented player of computer simulations saves the world from bug-like alien invaders.
Why Billionaires Love It: Many of them built their fortunes on high tech, so a hero that saves the world using high tech is naturally attractive.
Fun Factoid: The author has frequently been vilified for his conservative political beliefs, even though science fiction authors, in general, tend to be right wingers.
Opening Line: "I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."
5. The Foundation Trilogy
Author: Isaac Asimov
5 Second Summary: A brilliant mathematician predicts the eventual fall of a galactic empire and founds a newer empire that will replace it.
Why Billionaires Love It: The book assumes that human progress, the growth of civilization and technological innovation are identical processes. Therefore, technology is necessary to change the world for the better.
Fun Factoid: Asimov's Laws of Robotics" (e.g. "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.") are still cited as providing ethical guidelines for the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Opening Line: "His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before."
6. Stranger in a Strange Land
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
5 Second Summary: A man born on Mars returns to Earth and becomes the founder of a hippie-like, corpse-eating sex cult.
Why Billionaires Love It: It's a Boomer thing.
Fun Factoid: This is also the favorite book of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Again, it's a Boomer thing.
Opening Line: "Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith."
7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author: Douglas Adams
5 Second Summary: A hapless Englishman has a series of surreal yet comic adventures.
Why Billionaires Love It: Even billionaires need a laugh now and then.
Fun Factoid: The book was originally a BBC radio broadcast. (Aside: I once rode in an elevator with Douglas Adams and "Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton.)
Opening Line: "The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the village."