Bill Gates Recommends 5 Thought-Provoking Books to Read This Summer

Have free time on your hands? Then let Bill Gates suggest five books to fill your days. Most take you deeper into thinking about our challenging times. At least one provides a mental escape. Bill writes:

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, by Jared Diamond. I’m a big fan of everything Jared has written, and his latest is no exception. The book explores how societies react during moments of crisis. He uses a series of fascinating case studies to show how nations managed existential challenges like civil war, foreign threats, and general malaise. It sounds a bit depressing, but I finished the book even more optimistic about our ability to solve problems than I started. More here.

Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Mysterious, Miraculous World of Blood. If you get grossed out by blood, this one probably isn’t for you. But if you’re like me and find it fascinating, you’ll enjoy this book by a British journalist with an especially personal connection to the subject. I’m a big fan of books that go deep on one specific topic, so Nine Pints (the title refers to the volume of blood in the average adult) was right up my alley. It’s filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood. More here.

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. It seems like everyone I know has read this book. I finally joined the club after my brother-in-law sent me a copy, and I’m glad I did. Towles’s novel about a count sentenced to life under house arrest in a Moscow hotel is fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat. Even if you don’t enjoy reading about Russia as much as I do (I’ve read every book by Dostoyevsky), A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story that anyone can enjoy. More here.

Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times, by Michael Beschloss. My interest in all aspects of the Vietnam War is the main reason I decided to pick up this book. By the time I finished it, I learned a lot not only about Vietnam but about the eight other major conflicts the U.S. entered between the turn of the 19th century and the 1970s. Beschloss’s broad scope lets you draw important cross-cutting lessons about presidential leadership. More here.

The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, by Paul Collier. Collier’s latest book is a thought-provoking look at a topic that’s top of mind for a lot of people right now. Although I don’t agree with him about everything—I think his analysis of the problem is better than his proposed solutions—his background as a development economist gives him a smart perspective on where capitalism is headed.

Find another additional list of books Gates considers worth reading here.

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Related Content:

How Bill Gates Reads Books

Bill Gates Describes His Biggest Fear: “I Rate the Chance of a Widespread Epidemic Far Worse Than Ebola at Well Over 50 Percent” (2015)

Bill Gates Names 5 Books You Should Read This Summer (2018)

Bill Gates Recommends Five Books for Summer 2017

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


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  • Lonnie says:

    I can’t stand when Gates’ and Obama’s summer reading lists come out. It’s like they are preaching instead of recommending interesting books.

  • S. mattinski says:

    So….why do you read them? Clearly you have identified that you are not the target audience so look elsewhere or stop complaining of your own stupidity.

  • Kevin Fitzmaurice-Brown says:

    Bill Gates is a supreme sociopath and eugenicist a little research will reveal this is fact. For example his videoed talk to the Pentagon advising then on his inoculations for mind control.
    The man make his crooked money from virus’s and is obsessed with control of humanity with a virus. WAKE UP

    Meanwhile I think its time your website was displayed to the world and what you have done. Promoted a monster and his pals.

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