It’s that time of year again. Bill Gates just released a list of six “deeply informative and beautifully written” books he thinks should make your summer reading list.
“I learned a lot from these books, and I hope you enjoy them,” he says in a video about the selections.
Here’s what made the cut:
1. “Business Adventures” by John Brooks
This is Gates’ favourite business book of all-time. Although the collection of 12 “New Yorker” articles has been out-of-print since 1971, Gates says its lessons are as applicable now as ever.
“Even though Brooks wrote more than four decades ago,” Gates writes, “He offers sharp insights into timeless fundamentals of business, like the challenge of building a large organisation, hiring people with the right skills, and listening to customers’ feedback.”
2. “Stress Test,” by Timothy F. Geithner
Geithner, a former United States Treasury Secretary, lays out the arguement that financial crises are inevitable. He writes the government has unique powers to reduce (though not extinguish) the problem, but there’s a lot of hard choices involved.
“Geithner paints a compelling human portrait of what it was like to be fighting a global financial meltdown while at the same time fighting critics inside and outside the Administration as well as his own severe guilt over his near-total absence from his family,” Gates says. “The politics of fighting financial crises will always be ugly. But it helps if the public knows a little more about the subject.”
3. “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin
“I’m especially interested in the central question that Goodwin raises: How does social change happen?” Gates writes. “Can it be driven by a single inspirational leader, or do other factors have to lay the groundwork first?”
Although Goodwin’s book tackles events of the early 1900s, Gates says it’s quite relevant today and brilliantly written.
4. “The Rosie Project: A Novel,” by Graeme Simsion
This book is more of a “beach read” than any of the other suggestions.
Gates calls this novel about a genetics professor with Asperger’s Syndrome who goes looking for a wife a funny and profound book. Its message is about being comfortable with who you are and what you’re good at, and he says that he would laugh out loud when Melinda would read him passages. He started it at 11 pm one night and stayed up until 3 in the morning finishing it.
“I’m sending copies to several friends, he says.
5. “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” by Elizabeth Kolbert
“Natural scientists posit that there have been five extinction events in the Earth’s history (think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs), and Kolbert makes a compelling case that human activity is leading to the sixth,” Gates writes.
He describes “The Sixth Extinction” as a sobering read, but says Kolbert isn’t “beating you over the head” with facts, and that it’s quite readable.
6. “Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve Our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System,” by Ezekiel J. Emanuel
Ezekiel Emanuel helped design the Affordable Care Act, and explains why the old system needed reform.
“There’s no other book that takes the current situation and really educates you about how complex our health care system is and then lays out why they made certain approaches,” Gates says.
Check out the fun video that Gates included with his list of books: