"Books, and then my parents."
That's the official word on what and who raised Elon Musk, according to the successful innovator and billionaire himself. In a 2017 interview for a Rolling Stone cover story, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO revealed that he was, "raised by books."
"I didn't really have a primary nanny or anything," he remembers. "I just had a housekeeper who was there to make sure I didn't break anything," Musk details. "I was off making explosives and reading books and building rockets."
It is even said that he read the entirety of the Encyclopedia Britannica at age 9, and would read science fiction novels for more than 10 hours a day.
But why read this much? For Elon, some of these books provided inspiration for his career and ideal world:
"The lesson I drew from the works of Isaac Asimov, science fiction writer, is you should try to take the set of actions that are likely to prolong civilization, minimize the probability of a dark age and reduce the length of a dark age if there is one."
Reading so much also contributed to his introverted way of thinking. According to his brother, Errol,
"Elon has always been an introvert thinker...where a lot of people would go to a great party and have a great time and drink and talk about all sorts of things like rugby or sports, you would find Elon had found the person's library and was going through their books."
Admittedly, not all of us have the time or the stamina to pore over books for hours on end. But note that many top business entrepreneurs and leaders personally make sure reading is part of their regular routine -- one study of 1,200 wealthy people reported that they all have reading in common as a pastime.
Reading helps inspire, and many successful people specifically read biographies and autobiographies in order to gain guidance for career moves too.
Most of all, spending time with books can massively benefit your health -- reading has been shown to enhance confidence, decision-making, empathy, and can even prevent depression and relieve stress.
If you want to follow in the footsteps of successful businesspeople like Warren Buffett -- who reads six hours a day -- cozy up with a book for an hour.
Or, if you can handle it, 10.