Bill Gates Recommends Books for the Holidays

For the hol­i­day sea­son, Bill Gates has select­ed five book titles that you’ll hope­ful­ly enjoy read­ing. Here they are, list­ed in his own words:

An Amer­i­can Mar­riage, by Tayari Jones. My daugh­ter Jenn rec­om­mend­ed that I read this nov­el, which tells the sto­ry of a black cou­ple in the South whose mar­riage gets torn apart by a hor­ri­ble inci­dent of injus­tice. Jones is such a good writer that she man­ages to make you empathize with both of her main char­ac­ters, even after one makes a dif­fi­cult deci­sion. The sub­ject mat­ter is heavy but thought-pro­vok­ing, and I got sucked into Roy and Celestial’s trag­ic love sto­ry.

These Truths, by Jill Lep­ore. Lep­ore has pulled off the seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble in her lat­est book: cov­er­ing the entire his­to­ry of the Unit­ed States in just 800 pages. She’s made a delib­er­ate choice to make diverse points of view cen­tral to the nar­ra­tive, and the result is the most hon­est and unflinch­ing account of the Amer­i­can sto­ry I’ve ever read. Even if you’ve read a lot about U.S. his­to­ry, I’m con­fi­dent you will learn some­thing new from These Truths.

Growth, by Vaclav Smil. When I first heard that one of my favorite authors was work­ing on a new book about growth, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. (Two years ago, I wrote that I wait for new Smil books the way some peo­ple wait for the next Star Wars movie. I stand by that state­ment.) His lat­est doesn’t dis­ap­point. As always, I don’t agree with every­thing Smil says, but he remains one of the best thinkers out there at doc­u­ment­ing the past and see­ing the big pic­ture.

Pre­pared, by Diane Taven­ner. As any par­ent knows, prepar­ing your kids for life after high school is a long and some­times dif­fi­cult jour­ney. Tavenner—who cre­at­ed a net­work of some of the best per­form­ing schools in the nation—has put togeth­er a help­ful guide­book about how to make that process as smooth and fruit­ful as pos­si­ble. Along the way, she shares what she’s learned about teach­ing kids not just what they need to get into col­lege, but how to live a good life.

Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walk­er. I read a cou­ple of great books this year about human behav­ior, and this was one of the most inter­est­ing and pro­found. Both Jenn and John Doerr urged me to read it, and I’m glad I did. Every­one knows that a good night’s sleep is important—but what exact­ly counts as a good night’s sleep? And how do you make one hap­pen? Walk­er has per­suad­ed me to change my bed­time habits to up my chances. If your New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is to be health­i­er in 2020, his advice is a good place to start.

Pre­vi­ous books rec­om­mend­ed by Gates can be found in the relat­eds below.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Bill Gates Reads Books

Bill Gates Names 5 Books You Should Read This Sum­mer

Bill Gates Rec­om­mends Five Books for Sum­mer 2017

5 Books Bill Gates Wants You to Read This Sum­mer (2016)

Bill Gates, Book Crit­ic, Names His Top 5 Books of 2015

Sum­mer 2014

Sum­mer 2013

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