This is where Elon Musk gets his motivation

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk (R) discusses a vision of cars being lowered into tunnels to travel efficiently and eliminate traffic congestion.
Glenn Chapman | Getty Images

Tech CEO Elon Musk recently gave a TED Talk in which he discussed his portfolio of businesses, including Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX.

Musk, who's known for his prowess as a business leader as much as he is for his outlandish ideas, also revealed something deeply personal about his leadership style, namely his motivation and why he dreams up the companies he does.

"I'm just trying to think about the future," says Musk, "and not be sad."

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Musk is equally succinct about what he thinks he can achieve: "I want to be clear, I'm not trying to be anyone's savior."

Toward the tail-end of the conversation, curator for TED Talks Chris Anderson asks Musk, who credits his success to reading these eight books, about his motivation. The self-made billionaire's response is revealing and also suggests his optimism about the future through the companies he leads.

"I think the value and beauty of inspiration is very much underrated," he says. "No question."

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