5 Books That Bill Gates Thinks You Should Read

  • By: mvadmin
  • Date: July 9, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Successful people’s books can provide an insight into their thoughts with their choice of literature, giving us a peek into their world.

William Henry Gates is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, and co-founder of Microsoft. Later in his career, Gates pursued several philanthropic endeavours, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

He has written several books, including:

The Road Ahead, written with Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson, was published in November 1995. It summarized the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway.

Business @ the Speed of Thought was published in 1999 and discusses how business and technology are integrated and shows how digital infrastructures and information networks can help to get an edge on the competition.

Here are five books that Bill Gates thinks you should read in the summer:

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
  • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • More than one million copies sold! A “brilliant” (Lupita Nyong’o, Time), “poignant” (Entertainment Weekly), “soul-nourishing” (USA Today) memoir about coming of age during the twilight of apartheid “Noah’s childhood stories are told with all the hilarity and intellect that characterizes his comedy, while illuminating a dark and brutal period in South Africa’s history that must never be forgotten
  • ”—Esquire Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor and an NAACP Image Award • Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Time, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Esquire, Newsday, and Booklist
  • Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth
  • Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison
  • Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away

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by Trevor Noah

Gates wrote that as a longtime fan of The Daily Show, he loved reading this memoir about how its host honed his outsider approach to comedy over a lifetime of never quite fitting in.

Born to a black South African mother and a white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa, he entered the world as a biracial child in a country where mixed-race relationships were forbidden. Much of Noah’s story of growing up in South Africa is tragic. Yet, as anyone who watches his nightly monologues knows, his moving stories will often leave you laughing.

The Heart: A Novel
  • One of Bill Gates' "Five Best Summer Reads"
  • The basis for the critically-acclaimed film, Heal the Living, directed by Katell Quillévéré and starring Tahar Rahim and Emmanuelle Seigner
  • Albertine Prize Finalist
  • Winner of the Wellcome Book Prize and the French-American Foundation Translation Prize
  • Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing

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by Maylis de Kerangal

While you’ll find this book in the fiction section at your local bookstore, what de Kerangal has done here in this exploration of grief is closer to poetry than anything else. At its most basic level, she tells the story of a heart transplant: a young man is killed in an accident, and his parents decide to donate his heart. But the plot is secondary to the strength of its words and characters. The book uses beautiful language to connect you deeply with people who may be in the story for only a few minutes. For example, de Kerangal goes on for pages about the girlfriend of the surgeon who does the transplant even though you never meet that character.

He also added that his wife recommended this book. “I’m glad Melinda recommended this book to me, and I recently passed it along to a friend who sticks mostly with nonfiction,” he said.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • "—The Economist "A riveting book
  • "—The Wall Street Journal"Essential reading
  • "—David Brooks, New York TimesHillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans
  • The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside

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by J.D. Vance

“The disadvantaged world of poor white Appalachia described in this terrific, heartbreaking book is one that I know only vicariously,” Gates writes of his experience with this book.

The book’s main character Vance was raised chiefly by his loving but volatile grandparents, who stepped in after his father abandoned him and his mother showed little interest in parenting her son. Against all the odds, he survived his chaotic, impoverished childhood only to land at Yale Law School.

While the book offers insights into some of the complex cultural and family issues behind poverty, he said the real magic lies in the story itself and Vance’s bravery in telling it.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
  • Official U
  • S
  • edition with full color illustrations throughout
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods
  • Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war

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by Yuval Noah Harari

Bill Gates recommended Harari’s previous book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind in last summer’s reading list and claims that this provocative follow-up is just as challenging, readable, and thought-provoking.

Homo Deus argues that the principles that have organized society will undergo a massive shift in the 21st century, with significant consequences for life as we know it. So far, the things that have shaped culture—what we measure ourselves by—have been religious rules about living a good life or more earthly goals like getting rid of sickness, hunger, and war.

“What would the world be like if we achieved those things? I don’t agree with everything Harari has to say, but he has written a smart look at what may be ahead for humanity,” Gates said.

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety
  • In his major New York Times bestseller, Jimmy Carter looks back from ninety years of age and “reveals private thoughts and recollections over a fascinating career as businessman, politician, evangelist, and humanitarian” (Booklist)
  • At ninety, Jimmy Carter reflects on his public and private life with a frankness that is disarming
  • He adds detail and emotion about his youth in rural Georgia that he described in his magnificent An Hour Before Daylight
  • He writes about racism and the isolation of the Carters
  • He describes the brutality of the hazing regimen at Annapolis, and how he nearly lost his life twice serving on submarines and his amazing interview with Admiral Rickover

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by Jimmy Carter

Even though the former President has already written over two dozen books, he somehow saved some great anecdotes for this quick, condensed tour of his fascinating life, Gates writes.

“I loved reading about Carter’s improbable rise to the world’s highest office,” Gates said, adding that the book will help you understand how growing up in rural Georgia in a house without running water, electricity, or insulation shaped his time in the White House. Although most of the stories come from previous decades, A Full Life feels timely in an era when the public’s confidence in national political figures and institutions is low.

“Some of these books helped me better understand what it’s like to grow up outside the mainstream: as a child of mixed race in apartheid South Africa, as a young man trying to escape his impoverished life in rural Appalachia, or as the son of a peanut farmer in Plains, Georgia,” Gates wrote on his blog.

I hope you’ll find that others make you think deeper about what it means to truly connect with other people and have a purpose in your life. And all of them will transport you somewhere else—whether you’re sitting on a beach towel or your couch.