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Top 10 Bill Gates Book Recommendations You Need To Read

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Bill Gates is an entrepreneur probably known best for his involvement in Microsoft, and also for many of his philanthropic adventures. He loves to read! He reads about 50 books a year on average. It’s safe to say he will have some good book recommendations.

Today, we are going to look at some of Bill Gates’ book recommendations.

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future was written by Elizabeth Kolbert and published in 2022.

Bill Gates loves the author’s previous books, so he had to pick this one up as well! He wrote, “I’m glad I picked it up.” Excellent!

Here’s a bit about Under a White Sky.

A prophecy that has come true is that man will have dominion "over all the land, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the ground." Because of how much effect humans have had on the environment, the Anthropocene geological period has begun.

Elizabeth Kolbert takes a serious look at the new world we are building in her book Under a White Sky. She runs into biologists working to protect the world's rarest fish, which is found in a single, tiny pool in the middle of the Mojave, engineers in Iceland turning carbon emissions into stone, Australian scientists trying to create a "super coral" that can survive on a hotter planet, and physicists who are thinking about firing tiny diamonds into the stratosphere to cool the earth.

Kolbert suggests that one way to see human civilization is as a 10,000-year exercise in nature defiance. She investigated how human damage has altered the natural environment in The Sixth Extinction. She now looks at how the very actions that have put our world in danger are now being viewed as its sole hope of survival. Under a White Sky is a wholly unique investigation of the difficulties we encounter, at once uplifting, horrifying, and darkly humorous.

How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil

How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We're Going is by Vaclav Smil, one of Bill Gates’s favorite authors.

Bill Gates said “A new masterpiece from one of my favorite authors… [How The World Really Works] is a compelling and highly readable book that leaves readers with the fundamental grounding needed to help solve the world’s toughest challenges.”

Despite having access to more information than ever before, the majority of us are unaware of how the world actually operates. Seven of the most fundamental truths influencing human survival and success are explained in this book. How the World Really Works delivers a much-needed reality check on everything from energy and food production to hazards, our environment, and its future. Before we can successfully address problems, we must comprehend the realities.

Our societies have been steadily increasing their dependence on fossil fuels, such that any promises of decarbonization by 2050 are a fairy tale. For instance, we see in this ambitious and thought-provoking book that globalization isn't inevitable—the folly of allowing 70% of the world's rubber gloves to be made in just one factory became glaringly obvious in 2020. For instance, each tomato purchased at the grocery store that is produced in a greenhouse requires the manufacture of five tablespoons of diesel, and we are unable to produce steel, cement, or polymers at the necessary scales without creating significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

Smil ultimately provides a response to the most important question of our time: are we condemned forever, or is there hope for a better utopia? This marvelously comprehensive, multidisciplinary guide, which is compelling, data-rich, and revisionist, identifies flaws in both extremes. This quantitative perspective on the universe uncovers unspoken realities that alter our perceptions of the past, present, and unknown future.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles is around 592 pages long, and is wildly entertaining.

Bill Gates said “Once again, I was wowed by Towles’s writing—especially because The Lincoln Highway is so different from A Gentleman in Moscow in terms of setting, plot, and themes. Towles is not a one-trick pony. Like all the best storytellers, he has range.”

In June 1954, the warden of the juvenile work farm where Emmett Watson, then 18 years old, had recently completed a fifteen-month sentence for involuntary homicide, drove him back to Nebraska. Emmett plans to travel to California with his brother Billy, age 8, so they may begin a new life there after losing their mother and father, respectively, and the family farm to bank foreclosure. However, as the warden pulls away, Emmett notices that two of his work farm pals had snuck inside the car's trunk. They have come up with a completely new strategy for Emmett's future, one that will send them all on a perilous voyage in the opposite direction—to the City of New York.

Towles' third book, which spans barely 10 days and is recounted from many points of view, will please admirers of his multi-layered literary style while offering readers a variety of fresh and vividly conceived locales, characters, and topics.

The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

The Code Breaker is by Walter Isaacson, the famous author behind biographies like Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs. It was published in 2021.

Bill Gates said, “When I heard that one of my favorite authors, Walter Isaacson, was working on a book about CRISPR and its inventor, I was eager to read it. The title, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, suggests that the book is a biography of Doudna, but its scope is broader than that. In fact, Isaacson goes into detail about every CRISPR researcher the foundation is supporting (and many others as well). I found the book to be valuable on a number of levels.”

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When sixth-grader Jennifer Doudna returned home one day, she discovered that her father had placed a paperback copy of The Double Helix on her bed. She set it aside, assuming it was one of her favorite detective stories. She found that, in a way, she was correct when she read it on a wet Saturday. She skimmed the pages quickly, intrigued by the gripping drama surrounding the race to crack the code of life. Despite what the high school guidance counselor had advised her, she made the decision to pursue a career in science.

She would contribute to the creation of what the book's author, James Watson, informed her was the most significant biological advancement since his codiscovery of the structure of DNA. She was driven by a zeal to understand how nature functions and to transform findings into innovations. She and her team transformed a natural curiosity into a creation that will change the human race: a simple instrument that can tweak DNA. The so-called CRISPR gene revolutionized medicine and raised ethical dilemmas.

We will move more quickly into the next major technological revolution thanks to the invention of CRISPR and the race to produce coronavirus vaccinations. A digital era centered on the microchip, computer, and internet has existed for the past fifty years. A revolution in biological sciences is now underway. Children who study the genetic code will join those who study digital coding.

Should we utilize our new ability to manipulate evolution to make ourselves more resistant to viruses? What a great blessing that would be! What about guarding against depression? Hmmm… Should we permit parents to give their children more height, muscular mass, or IQ if they can afford it?

After aiding in the development of CRISPR, Doudna rose to prominence in the discussion of these ethical dilemmas and, together with her colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier, was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize. According to Bill Gates, her tale is an enthralling detective thriller that touches on the deepest natural phenomena, from the beginnings of existence to the destiny of our species.

Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein

Why We’re Polarized was one of Bill Gates’s “5 books to read this summer.” It was written by Ezra Klein of Vox.

The structural and psychological factors that led to America's decline into division and dysfunction are revealed in the book Why We're Polarized. This book provides a clear framework for analyzing everything from Trump's ascent to the Democratic Party's leftward tilt to the politics of ordinary culture.

Identity is the primary factor that divides America. Everyone who participates in American politics does so to some extent through identity politics. Our party identities have converged with our racial, religious, regional, ideological, and cultural identities during the past fifty years in America. These fused identities now carry a weight that is shattering our politics and ripping apart the links that bind this nation.

Klein explains how and why American politics in the 20th century became divided along lines of identity, as well as the effects that division had on how we view the outside world and one another. And he examines the feedback loops that are pushing our system into crisis between divided political identities and polarized political institutions.

Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Hail Mary is one of the best science fiction books according to Bill Gates. He said “Even if you aren’t a big science fiction fan, Project Hail Mary is a lot of fun. I recently finished Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and couldn’t wait to recommend it.”

In a desperate, last-ditch effort, Ryland Grace is the last survivor; if he fails, mankind and the world itself will die.

Except that he isn't aware of that at the moment. Even his own name escapes him, let alone the details of his task or how to carry it out.

He just is aware that he has been dozing off for a very, very long time. He just woke up to discover that he was millions of kilometers from his home and that his only companions were two dead bodies.

Ryland discovers his crewmates are dead and that he is now faced with an impossible mission as his memories begin to blur. He must solve an unfathomable scientific enigma while traveling across space on this tiny ship in order to defeat a danger to our species' annihilation.

He must complete the task alone since time is running out and the closest human is light-years distant.

...or does he?

Project Hail Mary is an enthralling interstellar adventure that only Andy Weir could create. It rivals The Martian as a story of discovery, supposition, and survival while taking us to locations that the latter had never even considered.

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award and Christopher Award. It was published in 2018. Bill Gates recommended The Choice on his website.

Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz at the age of sixteen. Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele had Edie dance for his entertainment and for her survival hours after her parents were slaughtered. When American forces freed the camps in 1945, they found Edie among a mass of dead bodies.

Edie, who was determined to remain silent and run away from the past, struggled with flashbacks and survivor's guilt for decades. She went back to Auschwitz 35 years after the war was over and was finally able to fully recover and forgive the one person she had been unable to forgive—herself.

Edie interweaves the inspiring tales of others she has helped recover with her own personal journey. She investigates how we might become prisoners of our own thoughts and demonstrates how to unlock our freedom. Generations of readers will find solace and hope in The Choice, a book that has the power to change lives.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

When Bill Gates recommended Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro he said “Klara and the Sun made me think about what life with super intelligent machines might look like.” This book was published in 2022.

This is the tale of Klara, an Artificial Friend with exceptional observational skills who, from her perch inside the shop, attentively observes the behavior of both passersby on the street outside and those who enter to browse. She continues to believe that a client will select her shortly.

Klara is designed to have a keen sense of empathy and curiosity. We experience everything from her point of view in the book since it is written in the first person, which is both interesting and strange. You'll nearly forget that she isn't a person for extended periods of time.

Intriguing novel Klara and the Sun examines the central query, "What does it mean to love?" while providing a glimpse into our evolving world through the eyes of a fascinating narrator.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power was written by Naomi Alderman, and was published in 2019. Bill Gates said, “And at the suggestion of my daughter Jenn, I recently read The Power, by Naomi Alderman, which finds a clever way to look at gender roles.”

The world depicted in The Power is a familiar one: there is a wealthy Nigerian boy who lazes by the family pool; a foster child whose religious foster parents conceal their actual selves; an aspirational American politician; and a fierce London lady from a murky background.

But later, a crucial new power establishes itself and grows, bringing about a tragic convergence in their lives. Teenage females today have incredible physical strength and are capable of killing or inflicting excruciating harm. And the world is completely reset by this minor natural shift. The Power, by the acclaimed novelist Naomi Alderman, is science fiction at its most ambitious and controversial. It simultaneously transports us to a fascinating parallel universe and exposes our own society in shocking and daring ways.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land was written by former president Barack Obama. He takes you through his presidency in detail. Bill Gates said, “President Obama’s memoir is a terrific read, no matter what your politics are.”

Barack Obama describes his unlikely journey from a young man seeking his identity to the leader of the free world in the stirring, eagerly awaited first volume of his presidential memoirs. He gives a strikingly personal account of both his political education and the pivotal moments of his historic first term as president—a period of profound change and upheaval.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey that starts with his earliest political ambitions and ends with the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States and became the first African American to hold the nation's highest office. This victory in the Iowa caucuses proved the effectiveness of grassroots activism.

In his reflections on the office, he provides a singular and nuanced analysis of the enormous reach and bounds of presidential authority, as well as unique insights into the workings of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama takes readers to places like Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, the Situation Room at the White House, and other locations. We have access to his innermost thoughts as he puts together his cabinet, battles the world financial crisis, assesses Vladimir Putin, surmounts seemingly insurmountable challenges to pass the Affordable Care Act, quarrels with generals over the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, takes on Wall Street reform, reacts to the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon blowout, and approves Operation Neptune's Spear, which kills Osama bin Laden.

The narrative of one man's wager with history and the faith of a community organizer put to the test on the global scale is told in the incredibly personal and introspective novel A Promised Land. Obama is open about the balancing act involved in running for government as a Black American, meeting the moral demands of making important decisions, but also fulfilling the expectations of a generation that has been inspired by promises of "hope and change." He is upfront about how living in the White House affected his wife and girls, candid about the forces working against him at home and abroad, and fearless to express self-doubt and disappointment. But he never abandons the conviction that advancement is always possible inside the vast, continuous American experiment.

Sources:

“Books | Gates Notes. The Blog of Bill Gates” Gates Notes. November 11, 2022. https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books

“Bill Gates Book Recommendations: What Books Does He Read?” Ninth Books. October 31, 2022. https://ninthbooks.com/bill-gates-book-recommendations/

“Bill Gates Book Recommendations (235 Books)” Most Recommended Books. https://www.mostrecommendedbooks.com/bill-gates-books

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