Technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Elon Musk started the SpaceX mission in 2002, followed by Tesla in 2003. And now, his net worth is $43.6 billion according to a report by Forbes! But did you know that it was Elon Musk’s love for science fiction books that really inspired him to start his SpaceX journey? Yes, you read that right!
In 2018, Musk shared with his followers how philosophy had underlined his actions and influenced him. Revealing the two authors who shaped him to be the successful person that he is today, he wrote, “Should prob articulate philosophy underlying my actions. It’s pretty simple & mostly influenced by Douglas Adams & Isaac Asimov.”
While Douglas Adams is best known for his series ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, some of his other popular works include ‘The Meaning of Liff’, ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ and ‘The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul’ among various others. On the other hand, scientist and author Isaac Asimov was considered as one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers of his time, along with Arthur C Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein. No wonder then that Musk credits the two popular science fiction writers for shaping his thoughts.
Continuing his love for the science-fiction genre, more recently in February 2020 Musk recommended a book to his fans and followers on social media. He tweeted about Isaac Asimov’s novel ‘Foundation’ calling it “worth reading”.
Asimov’s ‘Foundation trilogy’ (1951–53) describes “the collapse and rebirth of a vast interstellar empire in the universe of the future”, according to Britannica. Asimov won a special Hugo award in 1966 for the ‘Foundation trilogy’.
It’s noted that this is not the first time that Musk has spoken about being influenced by ‘Foundation Trilogy’. In an interview to The Guardian in 2013, Musk had revealed that he was inspired by Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series. Praising the series, Musk had said, “It’s sort of a futuristic version of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Let’s say you were at the peak of the Roman empire, what would you do, what action could you take, to minimise decline?
“The lessons of history would suggest that civilisations move in cycles. You can track that back quite far – the Babylonians, the Sumerians, followed by the Egyptians, the Romans, China. We’re obviously in a very upward cycle right now and hopefully that remains the case. But it may not. There could be some series of events that cause that technology level to decline. Given that this is the first time in 4.5bn years where it’s been possible for humanity to extend life beyond Earth, it seems like we’d be wise to act while the window was open and not count on the fact it will be open a long time.” Have you read any of Isaac Asimov’s or Douglas Adams’ works? Tell us in the comments below!