Bill Gates is a name that needs no introduction. We’ve all heard about him as children, back when he was the richest man in the world. Yet, for formality’s sake – Bill Gates is an American business magnate. Apart from this, he is also an author, a philanthropist, software developer, business tycoon and of course, the co-founder of Microsoft. He has also developed the charity institution, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his ex-wife. More importantly though, Bill Gates is an avid reader. Here are the list of 5 book recommendations by Bill Gates in the summer of 2021.
Bill Gates has a great tradition – he recommends his favourite books every summer to aspiring readers. His books are almost always great reads, and also highly influential ones. Available on his website, www.gatenotes.com, this is an incoherent list at face value. This reading list includes four non-fiction novels and just one work of fiction. Encompassing memoirs, eco-fiction and more, all these books are drastically different from each other. However, they’re wonderful, thought-provoking books in their own right.
This summer, Bill Gates found himself gravitating towards books that explore the conflict between man and nature. This is perhaps due to a pandemic ravaging the world or due to his concerns regarding climate disasters, he explains. This certainly reflects in his reading list as well. A common characteristic of all these books, Gates says, is that they made him think and gave him ideas.
5 Book Recommendations By Bill Gates In The Summer of 2021
Lights Out by Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann
This book talks about the downfall of General Electric, the corporation charged with electrifying America. It was founded in 1892, and flourished under the two decade long entrepreneurship of CEO Jack Welch. In the beginning of the millennium, GE was America’s most prized and profitable corporation. Yet within two decades, it was off the charts. This novel explores the mistakes and redemptive qualities of Jack’s successor, Jeff Immelt. Starting off with the history of GE as a company, the authors delve into the transformation of the company at the hands of Jack. We learn about the trajectory of the company, about all the mistakes and errors of judgement they made. Bill Gates recommends this book to all people in leadership roles and those aspiring for it – there are huge takeaways.
Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert
In this nonfiction, Kolbert takes a close speculative look at the environmental future of the world, based on our global activities today. She interacts with and talks about environmentalists from all over the world. These include Australian scientists trying to develop corals for warmer climates. There are also marine biologists trying to preserve the world’s rarest fish in Mojave and physicists contemplating shooting diamonds in the stratosphere to cool it. This book is different from most ecological novels in a fundamental way – it talks of redemption rather than destruction. It looks at the global crisis of environmental degradation in a hopeful rather than hopeless way. Yes, the planet is in trouble. But what are people all over the world doing to help it? And how can we aid the process? Bill Gates in particular likes the way Kolbert deals with genes and geoengineering, and finds this novel an enjoyable read.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
This is the first volume of US ex-president Barack Obama’s presidential memoirs and a deeply moving, intimate tale of the man who changed history. In this novel, Obama chronicles his journey from a young man searching for his identity to the leader of the only global superpower and the protector of democracy. He talks about his political education that shaped his thinking and the eventful first term as president.
Obama also deals with the subject of power – it’s meaning in the political context. His readers gain access to his thoughts and interpretations of monumental political events – a global financial crisis, Wall Street reforms and the death of Bin Laden. We are also privy to some of his quieter moments – his assemblage of the cabinet, his marriage and more. Obama doesn’t shy away from exposing his vulnerabilities, and that makes him stronger. Gates considers it fascinating, and we’re sure that’s what we’ll think too.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
The only piece of fiction on this list, this book is an ode to the natural world. It places at the central core of the novel trees, and then weaves stories around them. The Pulitzer Prize winning novel has an interesting structure – the first part is ‘roots’ and introduces our nine protagonists with their individual stories. These first part ends where these stories reach their individual climaxes. The second to forth parts of the novel focuses on the relationships between the protagonists, whose lives intersect in mysterious ways. Their actions are propelled by their love for trees, and this part is less character driven and slower in its exploration of the core – nature. A new entry of the tenth and final protagonist makes us ponder and reflect on our own relationship with nature. Bill Gates finds this book moving and passionate, and we agree.
An Elegant Defense by Matt Richtel
This book centres on a topic crucial in the present day global situation – the human immune system. In this novel, Richtel dextrously weaves the stories of many medical miracles and failures. These include a woman resistant to HIV, the recovery of a terminal cancer patient and an autoimmune system that turns a body against itself. In this novel, Richtel tries to unlock the secrets of immunology – a complex system designed to keep us safe. This book is a great answer to a survival riddle that has haunted mankind since ages. Bill Gates thinks that this is an especially important read in order to understand the nature of the COVID pandemic and the way to stop it. He also finds this book interesting and accessible, because it is told in the form of four stories rather than just dreary info.
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