The 5 Books Bill Gates Recommends Gifting This Holiday Season
Every time Microsoft co-founder and voracious reader Bill Gates—who devours 50 books a year—releases his short list of his most favorite reads, we get a revealing glimpse into the kind of topics and issues he finds fascinating.
His most recent list reveals that Gates is into mindfulness meditation (he and wife Melinda often do it together), how robots could change war, and, like the rest of us, grappling for ways to put the chaos of the 21st century into perspective.
His latest batch of favorites also provide some “highly giftable” stocking stuffers, he says. “A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required),” Gates writes on his personal blog.
Read on to learn more about Gates’ end-of-the-year book list.
'The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness' by Andy Puddicombe
“I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one,” Gates writes, “but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.”
Buy it: amazon.com, $16
'Educated' by Tara Westover
“Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17,” Gates writes. “I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.”
Buy it: amazon.com, $17
'Army of None' by Paul Scharre
“Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays,” Gates writes, “but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.”
Buy it: amazon.com, $26
'21 Lessons for the 21st Century' by Yuval Noah Harari
“I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception,” Gates writes. “While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.”
Buy it: amazon.com, $13
'Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou
“Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos (the health technology company),” writes Gates. “The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.”
Buy it: amazon.com, $13