'Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down' by J.E. Gordon
This book is an informal explanation of the basic forces that hold together the ordinary and essential things of this world--from buildings and bodies to flying aircraft and eggshells. In a style that combines wit, a masterful command of his subject, and an encyclopedic range of reference, Gordon includes such chapters as "How to Design a Worm" and "The Advantage of Being a Beam," offering humorous insights in human and natural creation.
'Einstein: His Life and Universe' by Walter Isaacson
The book revolves around letters written by Einstein. The biography offers glimpses into then society and people and other unknown facts about the great physics prodigy that resided in dark for so many decades. His failure to be a good husband, father, and a teacher, the book explores how an ordinary man becomes the extraordinary who decoded the mysteries of the universe with the theory of relativity.
'Ignition! An informal history of liquid rocket propellants' by John D. Clark
This book has the right mix of technical details, descriptions of experiments with spectacular results, background info about the why's and how's, and about the politics involved. It is a very engaging and uplifting book because Clark captured a lot of the enthusiasm he had for rockets.
'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien
This classic fiction has been an all time favourite to Musk. In his interview with New Yorker, Musk once said that he would read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in his loneliness. He felt, the heroes of these fantasy books always thought it to be a duty to save the world.
'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams
During his mid teenage life, Musk had a terrible ‘existential crisis’. He started reading Nietzsche, Schopenhauer to understand the meaning of life. But that didn’t help much. He chanced to come upon this comic interstellar romp, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”. A supercomputer in that comic finds the "answer" to a meaningful life, which is interpreted as the number 42. In the interview to New Yorker, Musk said, "If you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part. So, to the degree that we can better understand the universe, then we can better know what questions to ask."