5 books that inspired world’s most innovative persons

П’ять книг, які надихнули головних інноваторів планети

The literature that gave answers to questions about the technologies and world structure, raised by Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson.

World’s major business leaders have the cult of reading. Thus, when Elon Musk, CEO at SpaceX and Tesla, is asked how he managed to establish his phenomenally successful business and start building rockets, provides an answer as follows: “I read books”. Relying on Musk’s brother, Kimbal, intended billionaire used to read  two books a day from the age of his adolescence.

The study, conducted by Michael Simmons, author of Business Insider, shows that most of the present-day entrepreneurs pay considerable attention to reading – Microsoft founder Bill Gates reads at least 50 books a year, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks, Mark Cuban, who is billionaire, owner of Dallas Mavericks basketball team competing in NBA, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment media company and AXS TV television network reads at least three hours a day.

Innovation House chose five books, that according to most prominent innovators of our time, will be of service to everyone.

Пять книг, которые вдохновили главных инноваторов планетыElon Musk

“Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” by James Edward Gordon

The books written by James Gordon “The New Science of Strong Materials: Or Why You Don’t Fall Through the Floor” (1971) and “Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” (1980), despite their considerable “age”, still excite admiration of the readers. Moreover, “Structures” became the bedside book of Elon Musk, which made it included in Amazon’s best-selling list. Whenever Musk – bookworm – is asked to recommend good books, he names “Structures” among others: “It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design,” – SpaceX founder said.

James Gordon – Professor at the University of Reading (United Kingdom). Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War he was dealing with shipbuilding. When the military operations began we moved to Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. He worked with all kinds of materials used in planes, until he became head of plastic structures. And after several decades of practice and research Mr. Gordon started to write books. Thanks to his narrator’s excellence “The New Science of Strong Materials: Or Why You Don’t Fall Through the Floor” (1971) and “Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down” (1980) became a kind of bibles for those, who are interested in materials structure and load-bearing units. James E. Gordon can explain complex things in plain language. He tells in vigorous figurative style about all types of structures – natural and man-made.

Пять книг, которые вдохновили главных инноваторов планетыMark Zuckerberg  

“Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters” by Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley – fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the United Kingdom, former editor at The Economist magazine and genetics enthusiast. He strongly believes that “For we, this lucky generation, will be the first to read the book that is the genome”. To support of his opinion, in 1999 Mr. Ridley published his book “Genome”, in which he made simple and clear presentation of genetics development history. The scientist doesn’t split hairs, but turns discussion on genes into the guide to all aspects of a person’s life. Freedom of the will, sex, diseases, religion, cloning, old age, death – Matthew White Ridley believes that the possibility of DNA language decryption gave us much deeper knowledge of the origins, evolution and humanity than all the previous scientific discoveries.

Moreover, author is hot upon dispelling the myths related to genetics development – for instance, interpretation of this science as the tool that at some future day will allow us to understand some program that is supposedly embedded in the human and predetermines all all his life. According to Mark Zuckerberg, though the book was published more than 15 years ago, it is still relevant and providing a glimpse of the human history from the standpoint of genetics, rather than sociology.

Пять книг, которые вдохновили главных инноваторов планетыSteve Jobs

“The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail” by Clayton M. Christensen

The book of American scientist, business consultant, and professor at Harvard University, that was published 20 years ago, became cult-favorite and overgrown with rumors. It was well regarded by Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. Jeffrey Preston Bezos was so deeply inspired by this book that he developed Kindle. The Economist magazine named it as one of the six most important books about business ever written, in 2011 Forbes declared that Mr. Christensen is one of the most influential business theorists of the last 50 years.

Eminent expert wrote “The Innovator’s Dilemma” to formulate his revolutionary theory of disruptive innovations – those that reshape the market landscape and change its price ratio. Mr. Christensen explains why well-established behemoth companies tend to make way for more agile and innovative small startups, when it comes to something fundamentally new. He also brings up to speed on “creative destruction” meaning – phenomenon, when new technologies destroy old ones. “The Innovator’s Dilemma” – is a rare example of a really useful business literature, since the author clearly and seamlessly explains truly abstract laws adhered by major companies. Everything at its core – thoughts do not follow a circuitous path, reader doesn’t get down too far in the marketing weeds.

Пять книг, которые вдохновили главных инноваторов планетыBill Gates

“The Man Who Fed the World, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End World Hunger” by Leon Hesser

In the early 1940s, followed by several bad harvests, Mexico turned out to be on the verge of starvation. However, by 1956 it became the wheat exporter. This happened thanks to one person – American agronomist and plant breeder Norman Borlaug. The book by Leon Hesser “The Man Who Fed the World” is dedicated to this very person. This is Mr. Borlaug, who used his knowledge, intuition, and persistence to produce high-yielding, resistant to smut (fungal disease of grain), and very viable varieties of wheat. He had to break down the resistance of top management of foundations that paid for the research. He proved his “shuttle approach” – crop gathered in one region of Mexico, lowlands, was sown in another region – highlands. Thus, the period of about 7 to 8 years, that were usually needed to breed resistant wheat varieties, was reduced twofold.

As a matter of fact, the book by American plant selection breeder saved India and Pakistan from starvation death – thanks to the wheat varieties, produced by him, from 1965 till 1970 these countries have doubled their grain production. In 1970 Norman Borlaug got Nobel peace prize for “for his contributions to the ‘green revolution’ that was having such an impact on food production particularly in Asia and in Latin America”. “Although a lot of people have never heard of Borlaug, he probably saved more lives than anyone else in history,” – Bill Gates said. He believes that Hesser’s book about great agronomist shall be read by every person attached to his dignity.

Пять книг, которые вдохновили главных инноваторов планетыRichard Branson

“Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success” by Matthew Syed

According to Richard Branson, eccentric founder of Virgin Group, the book by Matthew Syed, famous British writer, journalist and columnist for The Times, is inspiring to the constant striving for growth. “Black Box Thinking” is dealing with mistakes. The author believes that mistakes are the integral part of the life of any person and one may properly learn only from mistakes. Despite the fact that this is an old idea, Mr. Syed has created rather fascinating reading matter. “Black Box Thinking” is basically a collection of stories about people and companies that managed to mould their failures and mistakes into success. Mr. Branson once said that he is keen on reading something like this before going to bed, because other people’s examples give pause for thought, and some stories may be put to good practical use. In his own book Syed was mainly focused on healthcare and aviation fields, but also made analytical field trips to the territories of science, technology, law, and sports.