Bill Gates is a man of many trades, not only dominating the computer industry, but also playing a huge role in education. Having a knack for good reads, Gates recently published a list of books for the summer on his blog that he really thinks you should read. He said,
Summer is a great time to escape: to the beach, to the mountains, or to the world of a great book. This year, I found myself drawn even more than usual to books that took me outside (and I don’t mean the great outdoors). The books on this year’s summer reading list pushed me out of my own experiences, and I learned some things that shed new light on how our experiences shape us and where humanity might be headed.
Any opportunity to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (or at least the length of a book in someone else’s shoes) is one we should all take–especially when one of the world’s greatest philanthropists is telling us to do it.
Here are Bill Gates’s recommendations for your summer reading list!
1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Since appearing as the host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah has been given the highest praise for his comedic talent, as well as his ability to discuss the most difficult issues we face. Born a Crime details his experience growing up mixed-race during apartheid in South Africa, blending his skill for comedy with the reality of his situation. “As anyone who watches his nightly monologues knows,” Bill says, “his moving stories will often leave you laughing.”
2. The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal
Recommended to Gates by his wife Melinda, this is a tragic and beautifully-written work of fiction that dissects our most rudimentary feelings regarding death. The story takes place in the 24 hours after a boy is pronounced brain dead at the scene of a car accident, and follows his parents as they decide whether to donate his organs to a woman close to death. It is devastating and touching and, according to Bill Gates, a must-read.
3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
The term “Rust Belt” has come upon fairly frequently in the past year or two, regarding the impoverished, mostly white area of the United States that helped to determine the 2016 election. Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir, detailing Vance’s experience growing up in the Rust Belt in a working class family. “While the book offers insights into some of the complex cultural and family issues behind poverty,” Gates acknowledges “the real magic lies in the story itself and Vance’s bravery in telling it.” Another important book to try and gain a new worldview.
4. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
Homo Deus explores modern-day tragedy. As a species, Harari argues that we have developed the ability to combat almost any major disaster, like famine and war. Today, humans put themselves in situations that result in death more often than they are forced into it, and according to the author, this will result in a major shift in the 21st century. While controversial, this book is definitely eye-opening and an important read for this generation. According to Gates, “[Harari] has written a smart look at what may be ahead for humanity.”
5. A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter
Gates’s final recommendation is Jimmy Carter’s autobiography, which he released after his 90th birthday. “Even though the former President has already written more than two dozen books,” Bill notes “he somehow managed to save some great anecdotes for this quick, condensed tour of his fascinating life. I loved reading about Carter’s improbable rise to the world’s highest office.”
To read more in-depth reviews, visit his blog!