Elon Musk is arguably one of the most influential inventors of our modern age. Head of both Tesla and SpaceX, he is at once a pioneer, entrepreneur, environmentalist, and disruptor extraordinaire.

Here are 12 books he recommends. They're almost as fascinating as Elon himself:

Been meaning to get educated on A.I.? This Huffington Post Definitive Tech Book of 2013 will help you grasp the far-reaching implications of artificial intelligence on human life and our world as a whole.

2. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

Based on newly released personal letters, this is an utterly engrossing, comprehensive biography of Albert Einstein. Why was he such a genius? Interestingly, Isaacson demonstrates that his incredible scientific imagination may have stemmed from his rebellious nature.

How do dams hold back thousands of gallons of water? Why don't suspension bridges collapse? What principles guide a kangaroo? Gordon gives jargon-free answers to these and other fascinating questions in funny, accessible ways.

Catherine rose from minor German princess to one of the most powerful women in history. In her time, she handled rebellion, wars, and the upheaval of political change instigated by the French Revolution. The Wall Street Journal called this book "a tale of power, perseverance and passion...a great story in the hands of a master storyteller."

There are around 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone, and an estimated 400 billion galaxies in the universe (that we know of so far). In a 14-billion-year-old cosmos, shouldn't there be a civilization at least as advanced as our own? This book seeks the truth about extraterrestrial life.

6. Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson

This had to be on the list. Nikola Tesla revolutionized electricity, helped develop radio and television, and competed with Thomas Edison, yet his life ended in poverty. Learn how, why, and what we can learn from a remarkable inventor and man.

7. Foundation by Isaac Asimov

A science fiction classic based on a prophecy of a dark age of fear and war that will last 30,000 years. To preserve knowledge and save humanity, the protagonist brings together the greatest minds in the Empire (scholars as well as scientists) to a sanctuary planet at the edge of the galaxy, called the Foundation.

The history of science itself is equally as fascinating as the findings that come out of it. Merchants of Doubt takes on an extra urgency now, as Elizabeth Kolbert notes that it "finally put[s] to rest the question of whether the science of climate change is settled. It is, and we ignore this message at our peril."

Thomas Edison is arguably first great celebrity of the modern age. Known as "the Napoleon of invention," he brought the world the phonograph, incandescent light, and the first motion picture cameras. Or did he? His assistants and rivals may have had more to do with it than originally thought....

10. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Heinlein won the Hugo Award for best novel a record-breaking four times. This acclaimed science fiction novel is widely considered his finest work--a haunting, inspiring, and ultimately galvanizing tale of rebellion, freedom, humanity, and love.

The human brain is what sets us apart from other animals. But how exactly did it develop, and what vulnerabilities does it have? We may be clever, but that trait may also expose us to unique dangers to which we should pay close attention.

When Churchill became prime minister, Great Britain faced Nazi Germany alone. This fascinating biography outlines how Churchill enlisted FDR to support his country, coordinated England's extraordinary military defense and response, and embodied the "never surrender" attitude that helped him turn the tide and ultimately triumph.

Published on: Feb 26, 2017
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