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Bill Gates's Top Book Recommendations

CEO/Microsoft

Want to know what books Bill Gates recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Bill Gates's favorite book recommendations of all time.

1

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Major New York Times bestseller
Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year
One of The Wall Street Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel...
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Barack ObamaA few months ago, Mr. Obama read “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman, about how people make decisions — quick, instinctive thinking versus slower, contemplative deliberation. For Mr. Obama, a deliberator in an instinctive business, this may be as instructive as any political science text. (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

Marc AndreessenCaptivating dive into human decision making, marred by inclusion of several/many? psychology studies that fail to replicate. Will stand as a cautionary tale? (Source)

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2
Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the...
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Bill GatesI loved Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and highly recommend this one too. (Source)

Barack ObamaThe Oval office can be a lonely place, so reading about your forefather’s experience could only help. “The biographies have been useful, because I do think that there’s a tendency, understandable, to think that whatever’s going on right now is uniquely disastrous or amazing or difficult,” said President Obama in an interview. (Source)

Kobe BryantI loved Team of Rivals, and Leadership really built on the things I had taken away from that book. Moving from basketball to building a company, I needed to learn new and different leadership skills, and Goodwin outlines the different skill-sets of Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Lyndon Johnson, accessibly. (Source)

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3
If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five...
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Bill GatesPinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new. I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected... (Source)

Yuval Noah HarariThere is of course much to argue about, but that’s what makes this book so interesting. (Source)

Sam Harris[Sam Harris picked this book as the first book in his Book Club.] (Source)

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4

Educated

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no...
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Bill GatesTara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. 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.... (Source)

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Alexander StubbIf you read or listen to only one book this summer, this is it. Bloody brilliant! Every word, every sentence. Rarely do I go through a book with such a rollecoaster of emotion, from love to hate. Thank you for sharing ⁦@tarawestover⁩ #Educated https://t.co/GqLaqlcWMp (Source)

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5
Why We Sleep is an important and fascinating book…Walker taught me a lot about this basic activity that every person on Earth needs. I suspect his book will do the same for you.” —Bill Gates

A New York Times bestseller and international sensation, this “stimulating and important book” (Financial Times) is a fascinating dive into the purpose and power of slumber.

With two appearances on CBS This Morning and Fresh Air's most popular interview of 2017, Matthew Walker has made abundantly clear that sleep is one of the most...
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Bill GatesExplains how neglecting sleep undercuts your creativity, problem solving, decision-making, learning, memory, heart health, brain health, mental health, emotional well-being, immune system, and even your life span. (Source)

Brad FeldSeveral friends, who know I both love to sleep and am intrigued with how sleep works, recommended that I read Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. It was excellent. While my self-assessment of my sleep habits are very positive, I learned a few things. More importantly, I now have a much better understanding of the “Why” surrounding sleep, especially around sleep’s importance to... (Source)

Alexis Ohanian Sr.Agree! Best book I've read this year. Wasted so many hours just proving to myself I'd be the last one up working at @reddit and for what??? Stupid. Diminishing marginal returns after enough hours without sleep. https://t.co/cT7fDNBF3A (Source)

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6
"Business Adventures remains the best business book I've ever read." --Bill Gates, The Wall Street Journal

What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.
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Warren BuffettIn 1991, Bill Gates asked Buffett for his favorite book. In reply, Buffett sent the Microsoft founder his personal copy of Business Adventures, a collection of New Yorker stories by John Brooks. (Source)

Bill GatesBrooks’s work is a great reminder that the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven’t changed. For one thing, there’s an essential human factor in every business endeavor. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect product, production plan, and marketing pitch; you’ll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans. (Source)

Michael DellIn this 1960s classic, Brooks, a longtime New Yorker contributor, tells the stories of 12 notable companies and how they navigated the trials and tribulations of corporate life in America back in the day. (Source)

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7
Believe it or not, today we may be living in the most peaceful moment in our species' existence. In his gripping and controversial new work, New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows that despite the ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism, violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history. Exploding myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious book continues Pinker's exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly enlightened world. less

Mark ZuckerbergMy second book of the year is The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. It's a timely book about how and why violence has steadily decreased throughout our history, and how we can continue this trend. Recent events might make it seem like violence and terrorism are more common than ever, so it's worth understanding that all violence -- even terrorism -- is actually decreasing over time.... (Source)

Eric SchmidtWhen you finish [this book], which takes a long time, you conclude that the world is in a much, much better place than it has been in the past. (Source)

Bill GatesYong succeeds in his intention to give us a 'grander view of life' and does so without falling prey to grand, unifying explanations that are far too simplistic. He presents our inner ecosystems in all their wondrous messiness and complexity. And he offers realistic optimism that our growing knowledge of the human microbiome will lead to great new opportunities for enhancing our health. (Source)

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8

The Gene

An Intimate History

La historia de cómo hemos descifrado el código fuente que nos hace humanos abarca todo el planeta y varios siglos -y probablemente defina el futuro que nos espera.

Entrelazando ciencia, historia y vivencias personales, Mukherjee hace un recorrido por el nacimiento, el crecimiento, la influencia y el futuro de una de las ideas más poderosas y peligrosas de la historia de la ciencia: el gen, la unidad fundamental de la herencia, y la unidad básica de toda la información biológica. Desde Aristóteles y Pitágoras, pasando por los descubrimientos relegados de Mendel, la revolución de...
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Bill Gates"Mukherjee wrote this book for a lay audience, because he knows that the new genome technologies are at the cusp of affecting us all in profound ways," Gates wrote. Mukherjee is what Gates calls a "quadruple threat." He's a practicing physician, teacher, researcher, and author. (Source)

Amit Paranjape@vikramsathaye @DrSidMukherjee @kiranshaw Great book. (Source)

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9

Homo Deus

A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and...
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Richard BransonI certainly wouldn’t consider myself a big reader of paleontology or anthropology – not good words for us dyslexics! – but I enjoy learning about how society has unfolded and history has developed in an exciting, easy to read way. The sequel, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, is a fascinating look into the future too. While these aren’t traditional business or leadership books, they are all... (Source)

Bill GatesHarari’s new book is as challenging and readable as Sapiens. Rather than looking back, as Sapiens does, it looks to the future. I don’t agree with everything the author has to say, but he has written a thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity. (Source)

Vinod KhoslaNot that I agree with all of it, but it is still mind-bending speculation about our future as a follow-up to a previous favorite, Sapiens. It’s directionally right. (Source)

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10

Principles

Life and Work

Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and grown into the fifth most important private...
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Mark CubanThe book I wish I had as a young entrepreneur. (Source)

Tony RobbinsI found it to be truly extraordinary. Every page is full of so many principles of distinction and insights—and I love how Ray incorporates his history and his life in such an elegant way. (Source)

Bill GatesRay Dalio has provided me with invaluable guidance and insights that are now available to you in Principles. (Source)

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Don't have time to read Bill Gates's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
11
The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper,...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Brad Feld, Andrew Chen, and 15 others.

Bill GatesA bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. 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... (Source)

Brad FeldEvery entrepreneur and VC should read this book. John Carreyrou has done something important here. Maybe this book will finally put a nail in the phrase “fake it till you make it”, but I doubt it. The amount of lying, disingenuousness, blatant and unjustified self-promotion, and downright deceit that exists in entrepreneurship right now is at a local maximum. This always happens when... (Source)

Andrew ChenFinished “bad blood” on the Theranos scandal. Wow. Just wow. It’s a must read for everyone in tech and startups. Just 1-click buy it :) Amazing how far charisma and social proof got them. Here’s the NYT review of the book https://t.co/PyMGxfoG2R (Source)

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12

When Breath Becomes Air

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the... more

Bill GatesI don’t know how Kalanithi found the physical strength to write this book while he was so debilitated by the disease and then potent chemotherapy. But I’m so glad he did. He spent his whole brief life searching for meaning in one way or another -- through books, writing, medicine, surgery, and science. I’m grateful that, by reading this book, I got to witness a small part of that journey. I just... (Source)

Ryan HolidayDespite its popularity, When Breath Becomes Air is actually underrated. It’s make-you-cry good. (Source)

Bethany S. MandelMore Shabbat reading recommendations: This book was breathtaking and such a powerful advertisement for the joy of parenthood. https://t.co/V8BH97eiL9 (Source)

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13
A debut from Forbes' third most powerful woman in the world, Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women's empowerment.

For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, invest in women.

In this candid and inspiring book, Gates traces her awakening to the link between...
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Reid HoffmanIn her instructive and inspiring book #TheMomentOfLift, @melindagates explains why effective "delivery systems" are key to achieving massive impact, and what the secret is to creating them. https://t.co/UBOXhZxFp8 https://t.co/eHeNHurocx (Source)

Warren BuffettI think this is one of the best books I've ever read. (Source)

Barack ObamaIn her book, Melinda tells the stories of the inspiring people she’s met through her work all over the world, digs into the data, and powerfully illustrates issues that need our attention―from child marriage to gender inequity in the workplace. (Source)

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14
In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30...
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Bill GatesThis memoir, by the co-founder of Nike, is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes. I’ve met Knight a few times over the years. He’s super nice, but he’s also quiet and difficult to get to know. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do. I don’t think Knight sets out to teach the reader... (Source)

Warren BuffettThe best book I read last year. Phil is... a gifted storyteller. (Source)

Andre AgassiI've known Phil Knight since I was a kid, but I didn't really know him until I opened this beautiful, startling, intimate book. And the same goes for Nike. I've worn the gear with pride, but I didn't realize the remarkable saga of innovation and survival and triumph that stood behind every swoosh. Candid, funny, suspenseful, literary - this is a memoir for people who love sport, but above all... (Source)

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15
Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us—the microbiome—build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery.

Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light—less as...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesHelped me see microorganisms in a whole new light. (Source)

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16

To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

For two and a half billion years, from the very origins...

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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesNick is one of those original thinkers who makes you say: More people should know about this guy's work. He is trying to right a scientific wrong by getting people to fully appreciate the role that energy plays in all living things. Even if the details of Nick's work turn out to be wrong, I suspect his focus on energy will be seen as an important contribution to our understanding of where we come... (Source)

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17

Being Nixon

A Man Divided

Evan Thomas delivers the best single-volume biography of Richard Nixon to date, a radical, unique portrait of a complicated figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. The New York Times bestselling author of Ike’s Bluff and Sea of Thunder, Thomas brings new life to one of American history’s most infamous, paradoxical, and enigmatic politicians, dispensing with myths to achieve an intimate and nuanced look at the actual man.

What drove a painfully shy outcast in elite Washington society—a man so self-conscious he refused to make eye...
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Walter IsaacsonWhat was it really like to be Richard Nixon? Evan Thomas tackles this fascinating question by peeling back the layers of a man driven by a poignant mix of optimism and fear. The result is both insightful history and an astonishingly compelling psychological portrait of an anxious introvert who struggled to be a transformative statesman. (Source)

Bill GatesI was a little surprised to learn what a bad manager Nixon was. Although it doesn’t compare to his other failings, Nixon’s management style offers some good reminders of how not to run a team. He avoided conflict at all costs. His staff frequently left meetings with diametrically opposed views on what he had just asked them to do. Or he would be crystal-clear about what he wanted, while actually... (Source)

Ryan HolidayOne of the best books I’ve ever read about a politician. It’s worth reading whatever country you live in and whatever your political beliefs are. (Source)

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18
From the former Treasury Secretary, the definitive account of the unprecedented effort to save the U.S. economy from collapse in the wake of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression

On January 26, 2009, during the depth of the financial crisis and having just completed five years as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy F. Geithner was sworn in by President Barack Obama as the seventy-fifth Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Now, in a strikingly candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, Geithner takes readers...
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Warren BuffettBuffett says that the former secretary of the U.S. Treasury's book about the financial crisis is a must-read for any manager. (Source)

Bill GatesThe central irony of Stress Test is that a guy who was accused of being a lousy communicator as U.S. Treasury Secretary has penned a book that is such a good read. 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... (Source)

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19
In Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, things are explained in the style of Up Goer Five, using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or "ten hundred") most common words. Explore computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the things you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you're made of (cells). less

Bill GatesThing Explainer is filled with cool basic knowledge about how the world works. If one of Munroe’s drawings inspires you to go learn more about a subject—including a few extra terms—then he will have done his job. He has written a wonderful guide for curious minds. (Source)

Kate Lee (St Paul's Girls' School)It’s about how to explain things using the simplest terms you possibly can, using only the top 1,000 words in the English language. It’s just ingenious. So many people will try and sound clever by using lots of fancy words, but this is exact opposite. It is being clever by using the most straightforward language you possibly can, without sacrificing accuracy. It’s beautifully drawn and... (Source)

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20
Now updated with new research — the book that has changed millions of lives.

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset — those who believe that abilities are fixed — are less likely to flourish than those with a growth...
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Tony Robbins[Tony Robbins recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Bill GatesOne of the reasons I loved Mindset is because it’s solutions-oriented. In the book’s final chapter, Dweck describes the workshop she and her colleagues have developed to shift students from a fixed to a growth mindset. These workshops demonstrate that ‘just learning about the growth mindset can cause a big shift in the way people think about themselves and their lives. (Source)

Dustin Moskovitz[Dustin Moskovitz recommended this book on Twitter.] (Source)

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Don't have time to read Bill Gates's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
21
A New York Times Bestseller

An eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally-renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesMark Miodownik’s personal and professional obsession, as he explains in his book Stuff Matters, is basic materials we often take for granted such as paper, glass, concrete, and steel -- as well as new super-materials that will change our world in the decades ahead. I’m pleased to report that he is a witty, smart writer who has a great talent for imparting his love of this subject. As a result,... (Source)

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22

Blueprint

The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all of our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.


In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the...
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Eric SchmidtTribalism is all around us, but it does not have to be. After all, we are all human. In lively and engaging prose, Christakis shows what is possible, and what we must do. (Source)

Bill GatesAre our similarities powerful enough to overcome our differences? “Blueprint” is an optimistic (and terrific) book that explores why humans have evolved to work together and cooperate. https://t.co/mQz07WvFgm (Source)

Steven PinkerNicholas Christakis is a pioneer in bridging the conceptual chasm between the choices of individual people and the shaping of an entire society. In this timely and fascinating book, he shows how the better angels of our nature, rooted in our evolutionary past, can bring forth an enlightened and compassionate civilization. (Source)

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23
This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesWhile she self-deprecatingly depicts herself in words and art as an odd outsider, we can all relate to her struggles. Rather than laughing at her, you laugh with her. It is no hyperbole to say I love her approach -- looking, listening, and describing with the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian. (Source)

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24

The Works of Theodore Roosevelt

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

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25
In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names — and opened their pocketbooks — in hopes of curing the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why aren’t we doing more to eradicate one of our oldest foes? And how does a parasitic disease that we’ve known how to prevent for more than a century still infect 500 million people every year, killing nearly one million of them?

In The Fever, the journalist Sonia...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Sue Desmondhellmann, and 2 others.

Bill GatesIf you want to read just one book about malaria, The Fever is probably the best choice. Author Sonia Shah doesn’t overwhelm you with data and analytics, but she does cover the whole history of the disease, which—as the title suggests—goes back further than you might think. The book was published in 2010, so it’s not totally up to date (most notably, we’ve made progress with rolling out bed nets... (Source)

Sue DesmondhellmannHere’s one for your #SummerReadingList 📚: #TheFever by @soniashah is a terrific book that puts #malaria work into historic context- one of my favorite genres of writing. 🤓 https://t.co/uB6coVU5sf (Source)

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26
A story of courage and risk-taking, House on Fire tells how smallpox, a disease that killed, blinded, and scarred millions over centuries of human history, was completely eradicated in a spectacular triumph of medicine and public health. Part autobiography, part mystery, the story is told by a man who was one of the architects of a radical vaccination scheme that became a key strategy in ending the horrible disease when it was finally contained in India.

In House on Fire, William H. Foege describes his own experiences in public health and details the remarkable...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Thomas Frieden, and 2 others.

Bill GatesThis book gives you a great view from the front lines of that battle. (Source)

Thomas FriedenHouse on Fire is a fantastic book about the fight to eradicate smallpox. Before becoming director, Foege led the efforts to eradicate smallpox in India and Africa and came up with a key innovation that led to eradication. As one of the staff at the CDC said of this book, “Even though we know how it comes out, it’s still a page-turner”. It’s so exciting. (Source)

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27
How shall we improve human health? One answer is: by eradication. The Gates Foundation announced in 2007 that their goal is malaria eradication; another of their priorities is polio eradication. Eradication means the complete elimination of a disease through deliberate human intervention. It stands for an absolute in public health.

This book by the award-winning historian of medicine Nancy Leys Stepan is an accessible, beautifully written, and deeply researched examination of one of the most controversial issues in public health today. The eradication of disease might seem like an...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesFinally, a word of warning: Eradication is written in a very academic style, and it may be a challenge for non-experts to get to Stepan’s valuable arguments. It’s worth the effort, though, because you come away from it with a clearer sense of what the world has learned about getting rid of diseases and how we can use that to guide the effort to save even more lives. (Source)

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28
The Freakonomics of matha math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and...
more

Bill GatesThe writing is funny, smooth, and accessible -- not what you might expect from a book about math. What Ellenberg has written is ultimately a love letter to math. If the stories he tells add up to a larger lesson, it’s that 'to do mathematics is to be, at once, touched by fire and bound by reason' -- and that there are ways in which we’re all doing math, all the time. (Source)

Auston BunsenI’ve got a few, one book that really impacted me early on as someone coming from a middle-class family was “Rich dad, Poor dad”. Since then I’ve read many books but one that really stands out is “How not to be wrong” by Jordan Ellenberg which really reignited my appetite & appreciation for math. (Source)

Nick GanjuWritten for an audience of people who have historically been intimidated by math [...] and introduces things in a very simple way, and then works up to more complex concepts. (Source)

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29

Interventions

A Life in War and Peace

Interventions: A Life in War and Peace is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia; and the geopolitical transformations following the end of the Cold War. With eloquence and unprecedented candor, Interventions finally reveals Annan’s unique role and unparalleled... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesIt was helpful to learn about the other side of Annan’s work at the UN -- peacekeeping issues and the work of the Security Council. It is clearly very challenging work. One day, the Secretary-General has to be an impartial arbiter of disputes among member states. The next, he has to challenge member countries he believes are not acting in the interest of world peace. Surviving in that position... (Source)

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30
America’s electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It’s not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources--solar, wind, and other alternatives--the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid according to twenty-first-century values. It’s a project which forces visionaries to work with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened communities,... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThis book, about our aging electrical grid, fits in one of my favorite genres: 'Books About Mundane Stuff That Are Actually Fascinating. (Source)

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31
Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, The New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before....
more

Barack ObamaThe president also released a list of his summer favorites back in 2015: All That Is, James Salter The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Source)

Bill GatesThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Climate change is a big problem—one of the biggest we’ll face this century—but it’s not the only environmental concern on the horizon. Humans are putting down massive amounts of pavement, moving species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, and more. Natural... (Source)

Jeff Bezos"In his autobiography, Walmart's founder expounds on the principles of discount retailing and discusses his core values of frugality and a bias for action — a willingness to try a lot of things and make many mistakes. Bezos included both in Amazon's corporate values," Brad Stone writes. (Source)

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32
Doris Kearns Goodwin, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Team of Rivals, captures the Progressive Era through the story of the broken friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, culminating in their running against one another for president in 1912. less
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI’m especially interested in the central question that Doris Kearns Goodwin raises in The Bully Pulpit. How does social change happen? Can it be driven by a single inspirational leader, or do other factors have to lay the groundwork first? Sometimes a single leader can make a big difference: In the field of global health, Jim Grant almost single-handedly created a global constituency for... (Source)

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33

The Man Who Fed the World

Dr. Norman Borlaug, one of the world's greatest heroes, is the most highly-decorated individual of our time. He is credited with saving over a billion prople from starvation. Dr. Borlaug is only one of five people in history to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In addition, Dr. Borlaug received the Padma Vibhushan, the higest civilian award the government of India can present to a non-citizen. The Man Who Fed the World has won three nation book of the year awards: USA Booknews best Biography of the Year. The American Farm Bureau for... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesNorm Borlaug is one of my heroes—and Leon Hesser’s biography is a fascinating account of Borlaug’s life and accomplishments. This is a story of genius, self-sacrifice, and determination. Borlaug was a remarkable scientist and humanitarian whose work in agriculture is rightfully credited with saving the lives of over a billion people. (Source)

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34
Moneyball meets medicine in this remarkable chronicle of one of the greatest scientific quests of our time—the groundbreaking program to answer the most essential question for humanity: how do we live and die?—and the visionary mastermind behind it.

Medical doctor and economist Christopher Murray began the Global Burden of Disease studies to gain a truer understanding of how we live and how we die. While it is one of the largest scientific projects ever attempted—as breathtaking as the first moon landing or the Human Genome Project—the questions it answers are meaningful...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesIt’s a highly readable account for anyone who wants to know more about Chris [Murray’s] work and why it matters. As Smith says, it is ‘the story of a huge independent effort, years in preparation, to do nothing less than chart everything that threatens the health of everyone on Earth, and make that information publicly available to doctors, health officials, political leaders, and private... (Source)

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35

String Theory

David Foster Wallace on Tennis

An instant classic of American sportswriting—the tennis essays of David Foster Wallace, “the best mind of his generation” (A. O. Scott) and “the best tennis-writer of all time” (New York Times)
 
Both a onetime "near-great junior tennis player" and a lifelong connoisseur of the finer points of the game, David Foster Wallace wrote about tennis with the authority of an insider, the showmanship of a literary pyrotechnician, and disarming admiration of an irrepressible fan. Including his masterful profiles of Roger Federer and Tracy Austin, String Theory...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Ben Shapiro, and 2 others.

Bill GatesI would say to anyone who likes tennis as much as I do, you have to read [this book]. (Source)

Ben ShapiroA fun bathroom book to read. The writing is really great. (Source)

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36
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 2 others.

Bill GatesAnyone who occasionally gets overly logical will identify with the hero, a genetics professor with Asperger’s Syndrome who goes looking for a wife. (Melinda thought I would appreciate the parts where he’s a little too obsessed with optimizing his schedule. She was right.) It’s an extraordinarily clever, funny, and moving book about being comfortable with who you are and what you’re good at. I’m... (Source)

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37

The Road to Character

“I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it.”—David Brooks
 
With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he...
more

Bill GatesThe insightful New York Times columnist examines the contrasting values that motivate all of us. He argues that American society does a good job of cultivating the “résumé virtues” (the traits that lead to external success) but not our “eulogy virtues” (the traits that lead to internal peace of mind). Brooks profiles various historical figures who were paragons of character. I thought his... (Source)

Howard SchultzA fantastic journey of learning from the lives of some of the greatest leaders and thinkers of our time. (Source)

Indra NooyiBeyond provoking valuable self-reflection and introspection, it sparked a wonderful discussion with my two daughters about why building inner character is just as important as building a career. In fact, the two go hand in hand—the moral compass of our lives must also be the moral compass of our livelihoods. (Source)

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38
Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever?
Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more.
Yet this narrative misses something important: by almost every meaningful measure, the modern world is better than it ever has been. In the United States, disease, crime, discrimination, and most forms of pollution are in long-term...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesBeing an optimist doesn't mean you get complacent. It means you constantly look for ways to make the world better. This is a great conversation with @EasterbrookG about his new book, “It’s Better Than It Looks.” https://t.co/ou4UdXuqnU (Source)

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39

Seveneves

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain...

Five thousand years later, their progeny -- seven distinct races now three billion strong --...
more

Barack ObamaJust like us, the president enjoys a good beach read while relaxing in the sun. In 2016, he released his list of summer vacation books: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, William Finnegan H Is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins Seveneves, Neal Stephenson The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Source)

Bill GatesSeveneves reminded me of all the things I love about science fiction. It is a great novel to get lost in, learn from, and think about. More than anything else, it has me thinking I should get back to reading sci-fi again. (Source)

Adam SavageA better book [than 'Snow Crash']. (Source)

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40
"If you're as interested in Japan as I am, I think you'll find that The Power to Compete is a smart and thought-provoking look at the future of a fascinating country." - Bill Gates, "5 Books to Read This Summer"



Father and son - entrepreneur and economist - search for Japan's economic cure
The Power to Compete tackles the issues central to the prosperity of Japan - and the world - in search of a cure for the "Japan Disease." As founder and CEO of Rakuten, one of the world's largest Internet companies, author Hiroshi Mikitani brings an...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThe book is a quick read at just over 200 pages. Although I don’t agree with everything in Hiroshi’s program, I think he has a number of good ideas. He talks about bringing more women into the workforce and encouraging more people to learn and use English. And I would love to see Japanese companies become more innovative -- not just because it will make them more competitive, but because the... (Source)

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Don't have time to read Bill Gates's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

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41
From one of the world’s preeminent political historians, a magisterial study of political leadership around the world from the advent of parliamentary democracy to the age of Obama less
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThis year’s fierce election battle prompted me to pick up this 2014 book, by an Oxford University scholar who has studied political leadership—good, bad, and ugly—for more than 50 years. Brown shows that the leaders who make the biggest contributions to history and humanity generally are not the ones we perceive to be “strong leaders.” Instead, they tend to be the ones who collaborate, delegate,... (Source)

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42
Paul Farmer has battled AIDS in rural Haiti and deadly strains of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the slums of Peru. A physician-anthropologist with more than fifteen years in the field, Farmer writes from the front lines of the war against these modern plagues and shows why, even more than those of history, they target the poor. This "peculiarly modern inequality" that permeates AIDS, TB, malaria, and typhoid in the modern world, and that feeds emerging (or re-emerging) infectious diseases such as Ebola and cholera, is laid bare in Farmer's harrowing stories of sickness and suffering. more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesIn this book he really opens your eyes to the vast differences between the health of the rich and the health of the poor. (Source)

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43
This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout history and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat's role in human evolution and its growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their costs, efficiencies and outputs. The major global trends of meat consumption are described: what part does meat play in changing modern diets in countries around the world? The heart of the book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory"... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI can’t think of anyone better equipped to present a clear-eyed analysis of this subject than Vaclav Smil. I have written several times before about how much I admire Smil’s work. When he tackles a subject, he doesn’t look at just one piece of it. He examines every angle. Even if I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, I always learn a lot from reading him. (Source)

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44
Winner of:
ALA Outstanding Academic Title This evidence-based survey presents a holistic vision of options for a sustainable future by going beyond efficient and clean production to the inclusion of material efficiency and the reduction of demand. Beginning with an all-encompassing examination of the uses of the five most important materials—steel, aluminum, cement, plastic, and paper—this exploration delves into the entire lifecycle of these materials, from smelting and goods manufacture to final recycling. Through evidence drawn from this analysis and real-world commercial...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

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45
A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was.

The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives.

Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Simon Sinek, and 22 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

Jeff Bezos[From the book "The Everything Store: and the Age of Amazon"] “The scholar argues that people are wired to see patterns in chaos while remaining blind to unpredictable events, with massive consequences. Experimentation and empiricism trumps the easy and obvious narrative,” Stone writes. (Source)

James AltucherAnd throw in “The Black Swan” and “Fooled by Randomness”. “Fragile” means if you hit something might break. “Resilient” means if you hit something, it will stay the same. On my podcast Nassim discusses “Antifragility” – building a system, even on that works for you on a personal level, where you if you harm your self in some way it becomes stronger. That podcast changed my life He discusses... (Source)

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46
The New York Times bestselling, groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. An essential read for understanding some of the egregious abuses of power that dominate today's news.

Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can--except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. They rebrand themselves as saviors of...
more

Bill GatesIn Anand’s thought-provoking book his fresh perspective on solving complex societal problems is admirable. I appreciate his commitment and dedication to spreading social justice. (Source)

Tim O'ReillyAnand is a deeply insightful thinker, whose view of justice tempered with mercy needs to be widely shared. His forthcoming book is brilliant and important. https://t.co/QIcy3bEZMS (Source)

Darren Walker[A] landmark new book. (Source)

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47

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today's most pressing issues.

How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted...
more

Bill GatesHarari is such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking. All three of his books wrestle with some version of the same question: What will give our lives meaning in the decades and centuries ahead? So far, human history has been driven by a desire to live longer, healthier, happier lives. If science is eventually able to give that dream to most people,... (Source)

Brajesh Kumar SinghHarari, currently, the world's best historian and future analyst, is a gay! He is a Jew and writes his books in Hebrew! Got universal acclaim for his first book Sapiens, followed by Homo Deus and now the latest, 21 lessons for the 21st century! Salute to this genius, keep it up! https://t.co/s7R6oEbwiN (Source)

Eh Bee Family@harari_yuval This book is amazing. After every chapter...I pause...then freak out...then gather myself and keep reading. (Source)

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48
Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye--and his heart--belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he... more

Bill GatesFascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history. (Source)

Daniel EkA brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning book about how the modern world was formed, analyzing how societies developed differently on different continents. (Source)

Yuval Noah HarariA book of big questions, and big answers. The book turned me from a historian of medieval warfare into a student of humankind. (Source)

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49

Tools and Weapons

The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

With a foreword by Bill Gates

From Microsoft's President and one of the tech industry's wisest thinkers, a frank and thoughtful reckoning with how to balance enormous promise and existential risk as the digitization of everything accelerates.

Microsoft President Brad Smith operates by a simple core belief: when your technology changes the world, you bear a responsibility to help address the world you have helped create. This might seem uncontroversial, but it flies in the face of a tech sector long obsessed with rapid growth and sometimes on disruption as...
more

Walter IsaacsonThis is a colorful and insightful insiders’ view of how technology is both empowering us and threatening us. From privacy to cyberattacks, this timely book is a useful guide for how to navigate the digital future. (Source)

Reid HoffmanIn the new book "Tools and Weapons," Microsoft president @BradSmi and @CarolAnnBrowne bring some of tech's current key issues to life through interesting stories from inside Microsoft and from history. An important and enjoyable read: https://t.co/KW4Dj12dgw (Source)

Bill GatesA clear, compelling guide to some of the most pressing debates in technology today. (Source)

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50

Outliers

The Story of Success

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player,...
more

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

James AltucherGladwell is not the first person to come up with the 10,000 hour rule. Nor is he the first person to document what it takes to become the best in the world at something. But his stories are so great as he explains these deep concepts. How did the Beatles become the best? Why are professional hockey players born in January, February and March? And so on. (Source)

Cat Williams-TreloarThe books that I've talked the most about with friends and colleagues over the years are the Malcolm Gladwell series of novels. Glorious stories that mix science, behaviours and insight. You can't go wrong with the "The Tipping Point", "Outliers", "Blink" or "David & Goliath". (Source)

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Don't have time to read Bill Gates's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

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51
The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.

Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What's more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it's so...
more

Bill GatesI recommend this book to anyone who reads nonfiction. It is very well written and full of great insights. (Source)

Fabrice GrindaI have lots of books to recommend, but they are not related to my career path. The only one that is remotely related is Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. That said here are books I would recommend. (Source)

Keith SlotterThese two gentlemen wrote the first book several years ago and SuperFreakonomics just came out. The books are very interesting on crime theory. Their theories are controversial. For example, they link a decrease in crime to the legalisation of abortion. In a nutshell they say that abortion stopped a whole new generation of criminals from being born. And that is because they say abortion is most... (Source)

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52

In April 1956, a refitted oil tanker carried fifty-eight shipping containers from Newark to Houston. From that modest beginning, container shipping developed into a huge industry that made the boom in global trade possible. "The Box" tells the dramatic story of the container's creation, the decade of struggle before it was widely adopted, and the sweeping economic consequences of the sharp fall in transportation costs that containerization brought about.
Published on the fiftieth anniversary of the first container voyage, this is the first comprehensive history of the shipping...
more

Bill GatesI picked this one up after seeing it on a Wall Street Journal list of good books for investors. It was first published in 1954, but it doesn’t feel dated (aside from a few anachronistic examples—it has been a long time since bread cost 5 cents a loaf in the United States). In fact, I’d say it’s more relevant than ever. One chapter shows you how visuals can be used to exaggerate trends and give... (Source)

Tobi LütkeWe all live in Malcolm’s world because the shipping container has been hugely influential in history. (Source)

Jason ZweigThis is a terrific introduction to critical thinking about statistics, for people who haven’t taken a class in statistics. (Source)

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53
Kids are naturally curious, but when it comes to school it seems like their minds are turned off. Why is it that they can remember the smallest details from their favorite television program, yet miss the most obvious questions on their history test?

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham has focused his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning and has a deep understanding of the daily challenges faced by classroom teachers. this book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn—revealing the importance...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, David Allen, and 2 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

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54

Steve Jobs

From the author of the bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, this is the exclusive, New York Times bestselling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal...
more

Elon MuskQuite interesting. (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

Gary VaynerchukI've read 3 business books in my life. If you call [this book] a business book. (Source)

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55

Abundance

The Future Is Better Than You Think

Providing abundance is humanity’s grandest challenge—this is a book about how we rise to meet it.

We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions. An antidote to pessimism by tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist, Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer...
more

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

Michael DellThe authors of Abundance go so far as to claim that "technology has the potential to significantly raise the basic standards of living for every man, woman, and child on the planet." Before you disagree, read the book. They make a fascinating argument, and make me happier than ever that I ditched my dream of being a doctor to enter the unpredictable world of IT. We live in exciting times. (Source)

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56
How America's high standard of living came to be and why future growth is under threat

In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue...
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Bill GatesI did find his historical analysis, which makes up the bulk of the book, utterly fascinating. (Source)

Brad FeldThe Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War: This book was a grind, but it had a lot of good stuff in it. It’s only 784 pages so it took more than a day to read it. If you are trying to understand what is going on in the current American economy, and why the future will not look like the past, this is a good place to start. (Source)

Satya NadellaCovering everything from the combustion engine to the flush toilet—and judging recent breakthroughs with a skeptical eye—this work of economic history “concludes that innovation is the ultimate source of dramatic improvements in the human condition,” says Nadella. (Source)

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57
How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial.

How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do...
more

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Bill GatesAnyone who wants to discuss how artificial intelligence is shaping the world should read this book. (Source)

Elon MuskA compelling guide to the challenges and choices in our quest for a great future of life, intelligence and consciousness—on Earth and beyond. (Source)

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58

The New York Times bestselling author of Better and Complications reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist

We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies‚neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist.

First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists...

more

Bill GatesA great read. (Source)

David AllenAtul is really talking about how absolutely powerful checklists are, and I think he makes a very creative point: that checklist are not just some static, boring thing. They actually allow you to do excellent work and free up your brain by not having to keep remembering what you need to do when. That then allows your brain to be a lot more creative about whatever it is you’re doing. (Source)

Timothy FerrissRamit and I are both obsessed with checklists and love a book by Atul Gawande titled The Checklist Manifesto. I have this book on a shelf in my living room, cover out, as a constant reminder. (Source)

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59

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

In 2075, the Moon is no longer a penal colony. But it is still a prison...

Life isn't easy for the political dissidents and convicts who live in the scattered colonies that make up lunar civilisation. Everything is regulated strictly, efficiently and cheaply by a central supercomputer, HOLMES IV.

When humble technician Mannie O'Kelly-Davis discovers that HOLMES IV has quietly achieved consciousness (and developed a sense of humour), the choice is clear: either report the problem to the authorities... or become friends.

And perhaps overthrow the...
more

Bill GatesProbably the [science fiction book] I read the most when I was younger. (Source)

Elon Musk[Elon Musk recommended this book as one of his favorite books about space.] (Source)

Orson Scott CardRobert A Heinlein is, quite seriously, the creator of modern science fiction, in the way that Jane Austen is the creator of the modern novel. (Source)

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60

Einstein

His Life and Universe

Einstein was a rebel and nonconformist from boyhood days, and these character traits drove both his life and his science. In this narrative, Walter Isaacson explains how his mind worked and the mysteries of the universe that he discovered. less
Recommended by Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Sam Altman, and 8 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Elon MuskI didn't read actually very many general business books, but I like biographies and autobiographies, I think those are pretty helpful. Actually, a lot of them aren't really business. [...] I also feel it’s worth reading books on scientists and engineers. (Source)

Scott Belsky[Scott Belsky recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

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Don't have time to read Bill Gates's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

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61
LinkedIn co-founder, legendary investor and author of the NYT Bestseller The Start-up of You reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies.

For most of the world, the terms "Silicon Valley" and "startup" are synonymous. Indeed, Silicon Valley is home to a disproportionate number of companies that have grown from garage startups into global giants.
But what is the secret to these startups' extraordinary success? Contrary to the popular narrative, it's not their superhuman founders or savvy venture capitalists. Rather, it's that they have...
more

Eric SchmidtThe secret of Silicon Valley is that it keeps updating the playbook. Each new success - from Google to Facebook to Airbnb and Uber - develops new techniques for world-transforming products. Blitzscaling paints the picture, with key case studies, of what it really takes to build a market-leading company. If you want to learn how to manage growth amid the controlled chaos that has become the new... (Source)

Sheryl SandbergBlitzscaling shows how companies can build value for customers and shareholders in the digital age. A compelling inside view of how the new economy is being built and is transforming global business. (Source)

Bill GatesThe case studies you’re about to explore and the tools you’re about to gain have never been more relevant. This is an ideal moment to be reading this book. (Source)

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62

Poor Charlie's Almanack

The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

EXPANDED THIRD EDITION includes Charlie's 2007 USC Law School Commencement address. Edited by Peter D. Kaufman. Brand New. less

Warren BuffettFrom 1733 to 1758, Ben Franklin dispensed useful and timeless advice through Poor Richard's Almanack. Among the virtues extolled were thrift, duty, hard work, and simplicity. Subsequently, two centuries went by during which Ben's thoughts on these subjects were regarded as the last word. Then Charlie Munger stepped forth. (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Naval RavikantI always recommend [this book] as my top business book. (Source)

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63
Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth--and how it can help any organization thrive.

In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he'd just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to...
more

Reid HoffmanWhether you're a seasoned CEO or a first-time entrepreneur, you'll find valuable lessons, tools, and inspiration in the pages of Measure What Matters. I'm glad John invested the time to share these ideas with the world. (Source)

Walter IsaacsonIn this indispensable book, the most important venture capitalist of our era reveals a key to business innovation and success. This crisp and colorful book combines fascinating case studies with insightful personal stories to show how OKRs can add magic to organizations of any size. (Source)

Bill GatesJohn explains how OKRs [Objectives and Key Results] work and shows how you can apply them in all sorts of situations. I’d recommend John’s book for anyone interested in becoming a better manager (and I’d say that even if I hadn’t been interviewed for a super-nice chapter about the Gates Foundation). (Source)

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64
This program was previously published as Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day.

Quiet the mind, feel less stressed and less tired, and achieve a new level of calm and fulfillment in just ten minutes a day.

Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, the Voice of Headspace, and the UK's foremost mindfulness expert, is on a mission: to get people to take 10 minutes out of their day to sit in the here and now.

Like his readers and students, Andy began his own meditation practice as a normal, busy person with everyday concerns,...
more

Bill GatesI’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, 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. (Source)

Haralabos Voulgaris@Property531 Best way to start is to simply do - Try one of the following app courses @wakingup @Headspace @10percent They are all good choices. If you want to read a book https://t.co/yEwmKHTUUL is decent as well. (Source)

Alexandra StroeI am trying to bring some daily habits into my life, such as meditation, that would help me stay balanced and present in everyday moments. One of the books that helped me understand more about the practice of meditation is The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe. After reading this book, I understood that meditation does not have to be some sacred, difficult practice... (Source)

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65
Winner of the 2011 Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book of the Year Award

Billions of government dollars, and thousands of charitable organizations and NGOs, are dedicated to helping the world's poor. But much of their work is based on assumptions that are untested generalizations at best, harmful misperceptions at worst.

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have pioneered the use of randomized control trials in development economics. Work based on these principles, supervised by the Poverty Action Lab, is being carried out in dozens of countries....
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Harini Calamur, and 2 others.

Bill GatesDoes a great job of bringing alive the complexities of poor people’s lives. (Source)

Harini Calamur@ask0704 Read his book. I don't agree with some of the things he says. But, it is a great read on understanding poverty (Source)

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66

Open

From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography.

Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker. By the time he turns pro at sixteen, his new look promises to change tennis forever, as does his...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Yaro Starak, Ian Cassel, and 11 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Yaro StarakI don’t just read business biographies. I’m a huge tennis fan, so I’ve read a lot of tennis biographies: John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Scott Draper, Rod Laver. There’s so many I’ve read over the years, Jimmy Connors, great, I love it because I love reading the “behind the scenes” stories, the more “soap opera” aspect of tennis, I guess it’s a little bit like my soap opera sometimes. (Source)

Ian CasselSuch an amazing book https://t.co/IbVT7G9LDY (Source)

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67
Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for... more

Mark ZuckerbergMy next book for A Year of Books is The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. Two of the books I've read this year -- The Better Angels of Our Nature: and Why Nations Fail -- have explored how social and economic progress work together to make the world better. The Better Angels argues for that the two feed off each other, whereas Why Nations Fail argues that social and political progress ultimately... (Source)

Bill GatesIts subject is the history of humanity, focusing on why our species has succeeded and how we should think about the future. (Source)

Marc AndreessenSparkling explanation of how the economy evolves, producing the glorious cornucopia of goods and services available all around us. How to feel good about the future even in dark times. (Source)

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68
One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal," the Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in the New York Times reviewing The World is Flat in 2005. In this new edition, Thomas L. Friedman includes fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. Weaving new information into his overall thesis, and answering the questions he has been most frequently asked by parents and readers, this third edition also includes two new chapters - on how to be a political activist and social... more

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Jamie DimonCEO recommends this book (along with The Intelligent Investor) in his suggestion to JP Morgan summer interns. (Source)

Erik RostadI read this book in 2003 or 2004. I was out of college and working in my first job. Friedman convincingly showed that the world was rapidly changing and that I would soon be competing for jobs with people from around the world. I decided to go to graduate school as a direct result of being convinced of his argument in this book. What's interesting is that I don't think these two books would have... (Source)

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69
Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon...
more

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Bill GatesThis was a breakthrough to me. The framework Hans enunciates is one that took me decades of working in global development to create for myself, and I could have never expressed it in such a clear way. I’m going to try to use this model moving forward. (Source)

Nigel WarburtonIt’s an interesting book, it’s very challenging. It may be over-optimistic. But it does have this startling effect on the readers of challenging widely held assumptions. It’s a plea to look at the empirical data, and not just assume that you know how things are now. (Source)

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70

Why Nations Fail

The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra...
more

Mark ZuckerbergMy next book for A Year of Books is Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoğlu and James A. Robinson. This book explores the different kinds of social institutions and incentives that nations have applied to encourage prosperity, economic development and elimination of poverty. This is a good complement to our last book, Portfolios of the Poor, which focused on how people live in poverty. This one... (Source)

Bill Gates"I read two books that raise big, interesting questions about social change and technological progress. I’m planning to write longer reviews of each of these books, but let me flag them for you now. One is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.The topic of this book is why some countries have prospered and created great living... (Source)

George MagnusThe role of institutions is really important for societal development. (Source)

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71

On Immunity

An Inoculation

Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear--fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in your child's air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines. She finds that you cannot immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.

In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and 2 others.

Bill GatesThe eloquent essayist Eula Biss uses the tools of literary analysis, philosophy, and science to examine the speedy, inaccurate rumors about childhood vaccines that have proliferated among well-meaning American parents. Biss took up this topic not for academic reasons but because of her new role as a mom. This beautifully written book would be a great gift for any new parent. (Source)

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72

Energy

A Beginner's Guide

With one famous equation, E=mc2, Einstein proved all matter can be described as energy. It is everywhere and it is everything. In this newly updated and engaging introduction, renowned scientist Vaclav Smil explores energy in all its facets – from the inner workings of the human body to what we eat, the car we drive and the race for more efficient and eco-friendly fuels.

Energy: A Beginner's Guide highlights the importance of energy in both past and present societies, by shedding light on the science behind global warming and efforts to prevent it, and by revealing how our...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and 2 others.

Bill GatesThere is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil. (Source)

Mark ZuckerbergThis book is about physical rather than social sciences. It explores important topics around how energy works, how our production and use might evolve, and how this affects climate change. (Source)

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73
Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world’s economy.

“We’ve got to get some foam down on the runway!” a sleepless Timothy Geithner,...
more

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Max Levchin[Max Levchin recommended this book as an answer to "What business books would you advise young entrepreneurs read?"] (Source)

John LanchesterThis is a minute-by-minute account of how the whole financial system nearly went over the brink in 2008, and the astonishing sense of tension and danger involved. (Source)

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74

Leonardo da Vinci

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo's astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo's genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy. He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued... more

Bill GatesI think Leonardo was one of the most fascinating people ever. Although today he’s best known as a painter, Leonardo had an absurdly wide range of interests, from human anatomy to the theater. Isaacson does the best job I’ve seen of pulling together the different strands of Leonardo’s life and explaining what made him so exceptional. A worthy follow-up to Isaacson’s great biographies of Albert... (Source)

Satya NadellaMicrosoft CEO has plunged into what must be an advance copy of Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Ben Franklin. Isaacson’s biography is based on the Renaissance master’s personal notebooks, so you know we’re going to be taken into the creative mind of the genius. (Source)

Ryan HolidayTruly excellent book about one of history’s all time greats. (Source)

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75
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set... more

Bill GatesAs a longtime fan of The Daily Show, I loved reading this memoir about how its host honed his outsider approach to comedy over a lifetime of never quite fitting in. Born to a black South African mother and a white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa, he entered the world as a biracial child in a country where mixed race relationships were forbidden. Much of Noah’s story of growing up in South... (Source)

Mark SusterPlease don't read @Trevornoah's book "Born a Crime." It's such a remarkable story that you need to hear him narrate it on @audible_com. You'll laugh out loud, cry, get angry, be in disbelief. You'll have many "driveway moments" where you can't stop even though you're home (Source)

Heather ZynczakSo excited for our latest speaker announcement for #PSLIVE19! Trevor Noah! I am a huge @TheDailyShow fan! And his book -Born a Crime -and life story are amazing. Can't wait! Join us! https://t.co/N6ykJq7TOy https://t.co/r0dIx5RFVI (Source)

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76

Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the...
more

Richard BransonOne example of a book that has helped me to #ReadToLead this year is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. While the book came out a few years ago now, I got around to it this year, and am very glad I did. I’ve always been fascinated in what makes humans human, and how people are constantly evolving, changing and growing. The genius of Sapiens is that it takes some daunting,... (Source)

Reid HoffmanA grand theory of humanity. (Source)

Barack Obamaeval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-leader-2','ezslot_7',164,'0','1'])); Fact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads. (Source)

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77
The New York Times bestselling author of The Origins of Political Order offers a provocative examination of modern identity politics: its origins, its effects, and what it means for domestic and international affairs of state

In 2014, Francis Fukuyama wrote that American institutions were in decay, as the state was progressively captured by powerful interest groups. Two years later, his predictions were borne out by the rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarian tendencies threatened to destabilize the entire...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Michael Mcfaul, and 2 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2018.] (Source)

Michael McfaulHeard a fantastic presentation today by @FukuyamaFrancis on his new book, Identity. Buy this book ! https://t.co/gzqBI7dV7d (Source)

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78
An epic true-tale of hubris and greed from two Pulitzer-finalist Wall Street Journal reporters, Billion Dollar Whale reveals how a young social climber pulled off one of the biggest financial heists in history--right under the nose of the global financial industry--exposing the shocking secret nexus of elite wealth, banking, Hollywood, and politics.

The dust had yet to settle on the global financial crisis in 2009 when an unlikely Wharton grad was setting in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude--one that would come to symbolize the next great...
more

Bill GatesAs Bad Blood is to biotech, Billion Dollar Whale is to international finance... a wonderful read... Thrilling. (Source)

Alexis OhanianAn incredible story.... If you need some billionaires to despise--look no further than these charlatans. (Source)

Morgan HouselThis book on the 1MDB scandal was great, hard to put down. Low sophistication + huge brazenness is a powerful fraud combo. https://t.co/nYpIJffcb5 (Source)

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79
In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.

Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals -- ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry's fleet, to the Soviet Union's attack on Finland,...
more

Bill GatesI’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... (Source)

Steven PinkerJared Diamond does it again: another rich, original, and fascinating chapter in the human saga, this one on how societies have extricated themselves from wicked crises-with vital lessons for our difficult times. (Source)

Yuval Noah HarariA riveting and illuminating tour of how nations deal with crises -- which might hopefully help humanity as a whole deal with our present global crisis. (Source)

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80
Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. 'My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ' He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.

If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how...
more

Bill GatesThe subtitle of the book is “Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions,” and that’s exactly what it is. People write Munroe with questions that range over all fields of science: physics, chemistry, biology. Questions like, “From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?” (The answer, it turns out, is “high enough that it would... (Source)

Rhett AllainAlso, this was covered in the @xkcdComic book What If (great book). https://t.co/WmFgsxpszL (Source)

Fabrice GrindaI have lots of books to recommend, but they are not related to my career path. The only one that is remotely related is Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. That said here are books I would recommend. (Source)

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Don't have time to read Bill Gates's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

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81
Addressing the sustainable energy crisis in an objective manner, this enlightening book analyzes the relevant numbers and organizes a plan for change on both a personal level and an international scale—for Europe, the Untied States, and the world. In case study format, this informative reference answers questions surrounding nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibilities of sharing renewable power with foreign countries. While underlining the difficulty of minimizing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks misinformation and clearly explains the... more

Bill GatesIf someone wants an overall view of how energy gets used, where it comes from, and the challenges in switching to new sources, this is the book to read. (Source)

Chris GoodallWhat the late David MacKay did was give us a rigorous understanding of the way that we use and generate energy. (Source)

Richard Betts@mark_lynas @nmrqip @ClimateAudit @Revkin @BillGates @UCSUSA @theCCCuk @rahmstorf Interesting that you think that. Maybe like Steve you encounter a vocal subset. I know many who are not anti-nuclear, especially since (a) Lovelock started talking about it (including at a Gaia meeting in Dartington in the mid-2000s) & (b) David Mackay published his famous book. (Source)

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82
In the most ambitious one-volume American history in decades, award-winning historian and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation, an urgently needed reckoning with the beauty and tragedy of American history.

Written in elegiac prose, Lepore’s groundbreaking investigation places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—"these truths," Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the...
more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Roman Mars, and 2 others.

Bill GatesThe most honest account of the American story I’ve ever read, and one of the most beautifully written. (Source)

Roman MarsJill LePore’s book These Truths is brilliant, but I highly recommend the audiobook that she narrates with such verve and personality. I really love it. (Source)

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83
In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America's most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. less

Bill GatesIf you want a good understanding of how the issues that cause poverty are intertwined, you should read this book about the eviction crisis in Milwaukee. Desmond has written a brilliant portrait of Americans living in poverty. He gave me a better sense of what it is like to be poor in this country than anything else I have read. (Source)

Satya NadellaNadella is using this season to learn more in a variety of subjects. By the looks of it, he is interested in, among other things, virtual reality, the refugee crisis, and housing for the urban poor. (Source)

Noah KaganSurprising insights into the lives of people who were evicted. I make a lot of assumptions about these people. Turns out I was wrong WHY they get evicted. (Source)

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84

Hit Refresh

As told by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Hit Refresh is the story of corporate change and reinvention as well as the story of Nadella’s personal journey, one that is taking place today inside a storied technology company, and one that is coming in all of our lives as intelligent machines become more ambient and more ubiquitous. It’s about how people, organizations and societies can and must hit refresh—transform—in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, relevance and renewal. At the core, it’s about us humans and our unique qualities, like empathy, which will become ever more... more

Bill GatesWith every new technology, there are challenges. How do we help people whose jobs are replaced by AI agents and robots? Will users trust their AI agent with all their information? If an agent could advise you on your work style, would you want it to? That is what makes books like Hit Refresh so valuable. Satya has charted a course for making the most of the opportunities created by technology... (Source)

Aviers LimI would recommend biographies of Elon Musk and Satya Nadella. (Source)

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85

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate... more

Bill GatesCapital sparked a fantastic global discussion this year about inequality. Piketty kindly spent an hour discussing his work with me before I finished my review. As I told him, although I have concerns about some of his secondary points and policy prescriptions, I agree with his most important conclusions: inequality is a growing problem and that governments should play a role in reducing it. I... (Source)

David Heinemeier HanssonThis is the book that was catapulted by its conclusion: r > g. That the rate of return on capital is greater than the growth rate of the economy. Which means that capital, and the people who own it, will end up with a larger and larger share of all wealth and income in the economy as time goes on. It’s a dense dive into the historical data on wealth, income, and economic growth from the optic of... (Source)

George MonbiotPiketty explains the economic crisis that we face in ways that also explain the political crisis. He does this by talking about the rise of what he calls ‘patrimonial capital’: wealth arising from inheritance, rent, and interest payments which greatly outweighs any wealth arising from hard work and enterprise. (Source)

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86
In Jared Diamond’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel, the author explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization

Environmental damage, climate change, globalization, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of societies around the world, but some found solutions and persisted. As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe, and weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of...
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Bill GatesI found this to be an interesting follow-up to the excellent Guns, Germs, and Steel. It examines the downfall of some of history's greatest civilizations. (Source)

Matthew YglesiasI wanted to get a book on my list that is actually enjoyable to read, so not everything is quite so dry and dull as a narrative. I also wanted to include something that reflects the growing importance of environmental and ecological concerns to progressive politics in America. This is relatively new to the agenda – it’s only been in the last 30 to 35 years. But going forward, one of the most... (Source)

Stefan LessardHe should read this book I’m almost finished with. Jared Diamond is one of my favorite historical authors. https://t.co/f9JLYlsc4v https://t.co/KtPgMZaWen (Source)

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87
The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory

An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an...
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Bill GatesOf the five books I finished over vacation, the one that impressed me the most – and that is probably of broadest interest – is Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by science writer Joshua Foer. This is an absolutely phenomenal book that looks at memory and techniques for dramatically improving memory. Foer actually mastered these techniques, which led him to... (Source)

Chelsea HandlerIt has changed my life and made me embarrass myself much less when meeting someone twice. (Source)

Deborah BlumThis book focuses not so much on the scientists but more on the consequence and meaning of memory for the rest of us. Within the framework of a memory championship, Foer looks at this almost obsessive interest in learning, how to remember everything. He asks the really interesting philosophical question, which is, are we defined by what we remember? (Source)

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88
Bill Gates's Five Books for Summer Reading 2019

From world-renowned economist Paul Collier, a candid diagnosis of the failures of capitalism and a pragmatic and realistic vision for how we can repair it.

Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of the United States and other Western societies: thriving cities versus rural counties, the highly skilled elite versus the less educated, wealthy versus developing countries. As these divides deepen, we have lost the sense of ethical obligation to others that was crucial to the rise of post-war social...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Trevor Ncube, and 2 others.

Bill GatesCollier’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. (Source)

Trevor Ncube"Our values, intertwined with practical reasoning, combine the heart and the head. POPULISM offers the headless heart; IDEOLOGY offers the heartless head." This book is a serious mind bender. Fascinating. #twitterbookclub https://t.co/TGdzOr9KXQ (Source)

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89
An elegant, text-only paperback edition of the New York Times bestseller that’s been hailed as the definitive authority on…everything.

Richard Dawkins, bestselling author and the world’s most celebrated evolutionary biologist, has spent his career elucidating the many wonders of science. Here, he takes a broader approach and uses his unrivaled explanatory powers to illuminate the ways in which the world really works. Filled with clever thought experiments and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena: How old...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Vote Dem For The Planet, and 2 others.

Bill GatesDawkins, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford, has a gift for making science enjoyable. This book is as accessible as the TV series Cosmos is for younger audiences—and as relevant for older audiences. It’s an engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, like “how did the universe form?” and “what causes earthquakes?” It’s also a plea for readers of all... (Source)

Vote Dem For The Planet@EJDuboisL7444 @realDonaldTrump It’s a great book, like all Dawkins’ books. (Source)

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90

The Sympathizer

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to... more

Bill GatesMost of the books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen about the Vietnam War focused on the American perspective. Nguyen’s award-winning novel offers much-needed insight into what it was like to be Vietnamese and caught between both sides. Despite how dark it is, The Sympathizer is a gripping story about a double agent and the trouble he gets himself into. (Source)

Andrew LiverisDow Chemical Company chairman and CEO Liveris will take this time to get away from heavier reading and enjoy some of the most highly acclaimed novels of the past year. (Source)

Michigan StudentsThe Sympathizer by @viet_t_nguyen is another one of my favorite books. With influences from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Nguyen tells a story not often heard by U.S. audiences in popular culture: the Vietnamese side of the Vietnam War. https://t.co/UzARPON6lL (Source)

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91
From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction?

You may think that with a last name like his, Buffett has enjoyed a life of endless privilege. But the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that the only real inheritance handed down from his parents was a philosophy: Forge your own path in life. It is a creed that has allowed him to follow his own passions, establish his own identity, and reap his own...
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Bill GatesPeter Buffett writes about the values he absorbed growing up as one of three children of Warren Buffett and the late Susan Buffett. (Source)

Ted TurnerWith home-spun, heart-felt wisdom, Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT is thought-provoking, worthwhile reading. (Source)

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92
A forceful argument against America's vicious circle of growing inequality by the Nobel Prize–winning economist.

America currently has the most inequality, and the least equality of opportunity, among the advanced countries. While market forces play a role in this stark picture, politics has shaped those market forces. In this best-selling book, Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz exposes the efforts of well-heeled interests to compound their wealth in ways that have stifled true, dynamic capitalism. Along the way he examines the effect of inequality...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Francisco Bethencourt, and 2 others.

Bill GatesI have mixed feelings about The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Stiglitz’s contributions are important in that he really does a good job of articulating the issues of inequality and the economic factors that underlie it. He raises important questions about whether it’s getting harder for people in the U.S. to move up the economic... (Source)

Francisco BethencourtI’m working now on a history of inequality, because while I was working on racism I was bumping into this issue all the time. It is indeed a political problem. (Source)

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93
Starting from scratch, simply by picking stocks and companies for investment, Warren Buffett amassed one of the epochal fortunes of the 20th century -- an astounding net worth of $10 billion and counting. That awesome record has made him a cult figure.

This illuminating biography reveals a man whose conscientiousness, integrity, and good humor exist alongside an odd emotional isolation. Buffett also masterfully traces his life: his enormously successful partnership; his early, inspired investments in American Express and Geico; his companionship and investment with...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesOther books have been written about Warren Buffett and his investment strategy, but until Warren writes his own book, this is the one to read. (Source)

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94
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From the longtime CEO and chairman of Starbucks, a bold, dramatic work about the new responsibilities that leaders, businesses, and citizens share in American society today--as viewed through the intimate lens of one man's life and work.

What do we owe one another? How do we channel our drive, ingenuity, even our pain, into something more meaningful than individual success? And what is our duty in the places where we live, work, and play?

These questions are at the heart of the American journey. They are also ones that Howard...
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Bill GatesHoward Schultz’s story is a clear reminder that success is not achieved through individual determination alone, but through partnership and community. Howard’s commitment to both have helped him build one of the world’s most recognized brands. It will be exciting to see what he accomplishes next. (Source)

Serena WilliamsFrom the Ground Up will resonate with anyone who knows what it’s like to overcome adversity. Howard Schultz’s dream to make the world more fair and welcoming for everyone is truly a breath of fresh air. (Source)

Adam GrantBefore becoming the CEO who grew Starbucks into an international powerhouse, Howard Schultz grew up in the Brooklyn housing projects and became the first person in his family to go to college. He intersperses his personal journey with his vision for building socially responsible companies and communities. (Source)

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95
An eye-opening exploration of blood, the lifegiving substance with the power of taboo, the value of diamonds, and the promise of breakthrough science

Blood carries life, yet the sight of it makes people faint. It is a waste product and a commodity pricier than oil. It can save lives and transmit deadly infections. Each one of us has roughly nine pints of it, yet many don’t even know their own blood type. And for all its ubiquity, the few tablespoons of blood discharged by 800 million women are still regarded as taboo; menstruation is perhaps the single most...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesIf 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... (Source)

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96

Principles for Success

An entertaining, illustrated adaptation of Ray Dalio’s Principles, the #1 New York Times bestseller that has sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Principles for Success distills Ray Dalio’s 600-page bestseller, Principles: Life & Work, down to an easy-to-read and entertaining format that’s acces­sible to readers of all ages. It contains the key elements of the unconven­tional principles that helped Dalio become one of the world’s most suc­cessful people—and that have now been read and shared by millions worldwide—including how to set...
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Mark CubanPrinciples is the book I wish I’d had as a young entrepreneur. (Source)

Tony RobbinsI found Principles to be truly extraordinary. (Source)

Bill GatesRay Dalio has provided me with invaluable guidance and insights. (Source)

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97
The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the #1 New York Times bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer

For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesBrilliant... a wonderful guide for curious minds. (Source)

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98
From a preeminent presidential historian comes a groundbreaking and often surprising narrative of America’s wartime chief executives

It sometimes seems, in retrospect, as if America has been almost continuously at war. Ten years in the research and writing, Presidents of War is a fresh, magisterial, intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and mobilized their country for victory. It brings us into the room as they make the most difficult decisions that face any President, at times sending hundreds of thousands of...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Tom Hanks, and 2 others.

Bill GatesMy 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. (Source)

Tom HanksOnce again, Beschloss captures our Presidents in terms both historic and human, showing that whoever holds the office will fearlessly—or fearfully—impact our world. (Source)

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99

An American Marriage

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to... more
Recommended by Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and 2 others.

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Bill GatesA moving look at how incarceration changes relationships. (Source)

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100
The era of autonomous weapons has arrived. Today around the globe, at least thirty nations have weapons that can search for and destroy enemy targets all on their own. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in next-generation warfare, describes these and other high tech weapons systems—from Israel’s Harpy drone to the American submarine-hunting robot ship Sea Hunter—and examines the legal and ethical issues surrounding their use. “A smart primer to what’s to come in warfare” (Bruce Schneier), Army of None engages military history, global policy, and cutting-edge science to explore... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesAutonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, 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... (Source)

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101
** A 2018 GoodReads Choice Award Nominee in the History & Biography category**

A captivating history of the universe -- from before the dawn of time through the far reaches of the distant future.

Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day -- and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence?
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Bill GatesDavid created my favorite course of all time, Big History. It tells the story of the universe from the big bang to today’s complex societies, weaving together insights and evidence from various disciplines into a single narrative. If you haven’t taken Big History yet, Origin Story is a great introduction. If you have, it’s a great refresher. Either way, the book will leave you with a greater... (Source)

Jason KottkeThis is a book based on Christian’s Big History concept, a story that weaves everything from quarks to water to dinosaurs to humans fighting entropy through greater energy & resource usage into one long history of the universe. (Source)

Corneliu BodeaOne of the books that had the biggest impact on me and my career. The explanation about how complexity is related to entropy and the cost behind it gave me a “wow” moment of understanding. Also, if we don’t understand the world we live in we will make no impact and progress. (Source)

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102

Lincoln in the Bardo

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented

Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, USA Today, and Maureen Corrigan, NPR - One of Time's Ten Best Novels of the Year - A New York Times Notable Book
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI thought I knew everything I needed to know about Abraham Lincoln, but this novel made me rethink parts of his life. It blends historical facts from the Civil War with fantastical elements—it’s basically a long conversation among 166 ghosts, including Lincoln’s deceased son. I got new insight into the way Lincoln must have been crushed by the weight of both grief and responsibility. This is one... (Source)

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103
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "A meditation on sense-making when there's no sense to be made, on letting go when we can't hold on, and on being unafraid even when we're terrified."--Lucy Kalanithi

"Belongs on the shelf alongside other terrific books about this difficult subject, like Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air and Atul Gawande's Being Mortal."--Bill Gates

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE

Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke Divinity School with a modest Christian upbringing, but she...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesWhen Bowler, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, she sets out to understand why it happened. Is it a test of her character? The result is a heartbreaking, surprisingly funny memoir about faith and coming to grips with your own mortality. (Source)

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104

A Champion's Mind

Lessons from a Life in Tennis

Pete Sampras is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, a man whose hard-nosed work ethic led to an unprecedented number one world ranking for 286 weeks, and whose prodigious talent made possible a record-setting fourteen Grand Slam titles. While his more vocal rivals sometimes grabbed the headlines, Pete always preferred to let his racket do the talking.

Until now.

In A Champion’s Mind, the tennis great who so often exhibited visible discomfort with letting people “inside his head” finally opens up. An athletic prodigy, Pete resolved from his earliest playing...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Yaro Starak, and 2 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Yaro StarakI don’t just read business biographies. I’m a huge tennis fan, so I’ve read a lot of tennis biographies: John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Scott Draper, Rod Laver. There’s so many I’ve read over the years, Jimmy Connors, great, I love it because I love reading the “behind the scenes” stories, the more “soap opera” aspect of tennis, I guess it’s a little bit like my soap opera sometimes. (Source)

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105
On December 31, 1999, after nearly a century of rule, the United States officially ceded ownership of the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama. That nation did not exist when, in the mid-19th century, Europeans first began to explore the possibilities of creating a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrow but mountainous isthmus; Panama was then a remote and overlooked part of Colombia.

All that changed, writes David McCullough in his magisterial history of the Canal, in 1848, when prospectors struck gold in California. A wave of fortune seekers descended on...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Holger Arians, and 2 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2013.] (Source)

Holger AriansHistorian David McCullough wrote one of the most factually accurate and detailed books about the construction of the Panama Canal. Why would such a book interest a leader? Because it shows how a great thing was achieved, and what it took to take the project from the paper and make it a reality. Great things are never simple and easy to achieve. It takes creativity. Mistakes happen and losses are... (Source)

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106

The Catcher in the Rye

The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this... more

Bill GatesOne of my favorite books ever. (Source)

Woody AllenIt was such a relief from the other books I was reading at the time, which all had a quality of homework to them. (Source)

Chigozie ObiomaHe sees everybody as phony because they take life too seriously. (Source)

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107
Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know—like the need for physical activity to get your brain working its best.

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget—and so important to repeat new knowledge? Is it true that men and women have different brains?

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences...
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Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

James AltucherDiscusses how to keep your brain healthy. (Source)

Dmitry DragilevThere’s a book called Brain Rules, also a great book, by John Medina, sort of like how your brain works. (Source)

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108

A Gentleman in Moscow

The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series

He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Henry Medine, and 2 others.

Bill GatesIt 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... (Source)

Henry MedineI promote range and diversity. Thus, I recommend readers to expose themselves to as many different topics as possible. I usually have 2-4 books I refer back to at any given time. They range in topics from management, art, spirituality and philosophy. Trying to get the engineering thing going but don't much of a mind for science. (Source)

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109
A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel-driven civilization.

I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years.
--Bill Gates, Gates Notes ,...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Chris Goodall, and 2 others.

Bill GatesSmil is one of my favorite authors, and this is his masterpiece. He lays out how our need for energy has shaped human history—from the era of donkey-powered mills to today’s quest for renewable energy. It’s not the easiest book to read, but at the end you’ll feel smarter and better informed about how energy innovation alters the course of civilizations. (Source)

Chris GoodallThere isn’t a page you don’t learn something from. (Source)

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110

The Best We Could Do

An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam from debut author Thi Bui.
 
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
 
At the heart of Bui’s story is...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThis gorgeous graphic novel is a deeply personal memoir that explores what it means to be a parent and a refugee. The author’s family fled Vietnam in 1978. After giving birth to her own child, she decides to learn more about her parents’ experiences growing up in a country torn apart by foreign occupiers. (Source)

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111

The Post-American World

"This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." So begins Fareed Zakaria's important new work on the era we are now entering.

Following on the success of his best-selling The Future of Freedom, Zakaria describes with equal prescience a world in which the United States will no longer dominate the global economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm cultures. He sees the "rise of the rest"—the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others—as the great story of our time, and one that will reshape the world.
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Barack ObamaFact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads: Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Evan Osnos Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman Moral Man And Immoral Society, Reinhold Niebuhr A Kind And Just Parent, William Ayers The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria Lessons in Disaster, Gordon Goldstein Sapiens: A Brief History of... (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

David MarquandZakaria is Indian by origin and he went to America in his youth. He is now a very prominent journalist in America. His thesis is that America, while still being a superpower, has got to contend with the rise of other countries. It can no longer call the shots in the new world that is developing. This is not a new thesis, but he puts it forward very powerfully and very well. He also looks at the... (Source)

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112
In this brilliant, essential book, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas L. Friedman speaks to America's urgent need for national renewal and explains how a green revolution can bring about both a sustainable environment and a sustainable America.

Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a dangerously unstable planet--one that is "hot, flat, and crowded."  In this Release 2.0 edition, he also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the...
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Barack ObamaHe may have the country’s finest experts at his fingertips, but it still doesn’t hurt to read up on environmental and economic issues. (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Jonathon PorrittThomas Friedman is an American commentator and a bit of a business guru. This book is lively, beautifully written, full of personal anecdotes. I should say that Friedman used to piss me off more than most other writers because he never talked about resources, climate change, population growth – these were invisible issues for him. Then, a few years ago, something changed and he started to address... (Source)

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113

The Great Gatsby

A young man, newly rich, tries to recapture the past and win back his former love, despite the fact that she has married. less

Barack ObamaWhen he got to high school, the president said, his tastes changed and he learned to enjoy classics like “Of Mice and Men” and “The Great Gatsby.” (Source)

Bill GatesMelinda and I really like [this book]. When we were first dating, she had a green light that she would turn on when her office was empty and it made sense for me to come over. (Source)

Marvin LiaoFor Non-Business, I'd have to say Dune (Herbert), Emergency (Strauss), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) or Flint (L'Amour). I re-read these books every year because they are just so well written & great stories that I get new perspective & details every time I read them. (Source)

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114
In his major New York Times bestseller, Jimmy Carter looks back from ninety years of age and “reveals private thoughts and recollections over a fascinating career as businessman, politician, evangelist, and humanitarian” (Booklist).

At ninety, Jimmy Carter reflects on his public and private life with a frankness that is disarming. He adds detail and emotion about his youth in rural Georgia that he described in his magnificent An Hour Before Daylight. He writes about racism and the isolation of the Carters. He describes the brutality of the hazing regimen at...
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Recommended by Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and 2 others.

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Bill GatesEven though the former President has already written more than two dozen books, 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. The book will help you understand how growing up in rural Georgia in a house without running water, electricity, or insulation shaped—for... (Source)

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115
This powerful and inspiring book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, and Home Town. He has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the "master of the non-fiction narrative." This powerful and inspiring new book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story...
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Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Roger ThurowYes, and I have chosen this is in connection with social entrepreneurship and what Yunus does with social business. So, this is on the medical and health side, and poverty and hunger and malnourishment are distinctly a part of that. Mountains Beyond Mountains looks at the work of Dr Paul Farmer setting sail against the inequities in the healthcare world. It’s practical and inspirational. It’s... (Source)

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116

Becoming Steve Jobs

The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

#1 New York Times Bestseller There have been many books—on a large and small scale—about Steve Jobs, one of the most famous CEOs in history. But this book is different from all the others.

Becoming Steve Jobs takes on and breaks down the existing myth and stereotypes about Steve Jobs. The conventional, one-dimensional view of Jobs is that he was half-genius, half-jerk from youth, an irascible and selfish leader who slighted friends and family alike. Becoming Steve Jobs answers the central question about the life and career of the Apple cofounder and CEO: How...
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Bill GatesHas me thinking of my old friend. A true visionary. (Source)

Jim Collins[Gives a] fresh perspective on Steve Jobs’ journey from inspiring but immature entrepreneur into an inspired and mature company-builder. (Source)

Jack DorseySquare would not exist without the work and persistence of Steve Jobs. I am forever grateful. Amazing read. (Source)

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117
Critically acclaimed, award-winning British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard details his childhood, his first performances on the streets of London, his ascent to worldwide success on stage and screen, and his comedy shows which have won over audiences around the world.

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Eddie Izzard has proven himself to be a creative chameleon, inhabiting the stage and film and television screen with an unbelievable fervor. Born in Yemen, and raised in Ireland, Wales and post-war England, he lost his mother at the age of six. In his teens, he dropped out of...
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Bill GatesIzzard’s personal story is fascinating: he survived a difficult childhood and worked relentlessly to overcome his lack of natural talent and become an international star. If you’re a huge fan of him like I am, you’ll love this book. His written voice is very similar to his stage voice, and I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading it. (Source)

Raluca RaduIt is funny cause I am currently reading the books of Woody Allen - he is my favorite movie director and screenwriter of all times and I had no idea he wrote books. I am expecting to laugh a lot and reading his books (just like watching his movies) feels a lot like a very interesting and ironic conversation. I am in quite a stressful period - we are preparing GPeC SUMMIT November 14-15 - so a bit... (Source)

Gabriel CoarnaI've just started Eddie Izzard's "Believe Me". This is one of those books I'm reading just-because, so I'm not *expecting* to gain anything from it. I only expect things from books I read because I'm studying/researching a particular subject. The reason why I'm reading this book is because I'm very, very fond of Eddie Izzard the comic and Eddie Izzard the actor. Hopefully, this book is a glimpse... (Source)

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118
From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a...
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Barack ObamaFact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads (Source)

Bill GatesKatherine Boo spent three years getting to know the people of Annawadi, a slum of about 3,000 people on the edge of a sewage-filled lake in India’s largest city. Her book is a poignant reminder of how much more work needs to be done to address the inequities in the world. But it’s also an uplifting story of people striving to make a life for themselves, sacrificing for their families, and in... (Source)

Adam MinterVivid scenes of walking down Mumbai’s Airport Road, lined by shacks and trash pickers, and behind them are walls, and behind them are the finest five star hotels in India. (Source)

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119
Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they're about to face a new challenge because - surprise - Rosie is pregnant.

Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he's left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.

As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThe hilarious follow-up to The Rosie Project, one of the best novels I’ve read in ages. There’s no sophomore slump here. Simsion brings back some of the best characters and gags from the first novel while also bringing in enough new elements to keep it fresh. It’s a funny novel that also made me think about relationships: what makes them work and how we have to keep investing time and energy to... (Source)

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120
Hardly a week passes without some high-profile court case that features intellectual property at its center. But how did the belief that one could own an idea come about? And how did that belief change the way humankind lives and works?

William Rosen, author of Justinian's Flea, seeks to answer these questions and more with The Most Powerful Idea in the World. A lively and passionate study of the engineering and scientific breakthroughs that led to the steam engine, this book argues that the very notion of intellectual property drove not only the invention of the...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI just finished reading The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry and Invention by William Rosen. It focuses on the Industrial Revolution basically from the Newcomen atmospheric engine in 1712 to the Stephen Rocket Locomotive in 1850. It does a great job of explaining how thousands of innovations were driven during this period by many elements coming together: increased... (Source)

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121
Governor Ed Rendell explains why America's leaders rarely call for sacrifice for the greater good--to avoid making any sacrifices themselves!

Rendell has seen job security become the primary consideration of any person with power in America--their own job security! Most politicians and bureaucrats can see no further ahead than the next election, sometimes no further than the next press conference. Americans are rarely afraid of sacrifice and hard work when they mean building a better future, but when was the last time you heard of a leader of anything making a sacrifice for the...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesOne of the shorter, fun books I read this summer is A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. It’s by Ed Rendell, who was district attorney, mayor of Philadelphia and then two-term governor of Pennsylvania. If you’ve heard him speak or seen him on TV, you know he’s a colorful and outspoken observer of political life in the U.S. No surprise, then, that this book is... (Source)

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122
An interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistoric hunting to modern energy production.

The biosphere--the Earth's thin layer of life--dates from nearly four billion years ago, when the first simple organisms appeared. Many species have exerted enormous influence on the biosphere's character and productivity, but none has transformed the Earth in so many ways and on such a scale as Homo sapiens. In Harvesting the Biosphere, Vaclav Smil offers an interdisciplinary and quantitative account of...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThere is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil. Here he gives as clear and as numeric a picture as is possible of how humans have altered the biosphere. The book is a bit dry and I had to look up a number of terms that were unfamiliar to me, but it tells a critical story if you care about the impact we’re having on the planet. (Source)

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123
This long-awaited successor to Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer Prize–winning The Prize provides an essential, overarching narrative of global energy, the principal engine of geopolitical and economic change


Renowned energy authority Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize–winning book, The Prize, in this gripping account of the quest for the energy the world needs—and the power and riches that come with it. A master storyteller as well as one of the world's great experts, Yergin proves that energy is truly the engine of...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesAnother great book I read recently was The Quest, by Daniel Yergin. For anyone interested in the dynamics shaping our energy future and all of the innovation around energy, it’s a fantastic book. In addition to my review of his book, I’ve also posted a response from the author to the follow-up questions I had about the important topics covered in his book. (Source)

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124
Joy is not for just the lucky few–it’s a choice anyone can make. In this groundbreaking book, based on his popular course, James Baraz helps you discover a path to the happiness that’s right in front of you, offering a step-by-step program that will reorient your mind away from dissatisfaction and distraction and toward the contentment and delight that is abundantly available in our everyday lives.

You can decide to be happy. For years, James Baraz’s online Awakening Joy course has offered participants from around the world the benefits of this simple but profoundly radical...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesMuch more upbeat is Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness, by James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander. I don’t read a lot of self-help or inspirational books, but even if you never read anything in this genre, this book is one you should try. It’s about enjoying your life, consciously picking the things that make life more enjoyable and purposefully thinking about... (Source)

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125
In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor’s degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they’re born. Almost everyone strives to go, but almost no one asks the fundamental question posed by Academically Adrift: are undergraduates really learning anything once they get there?

For a large proportion of students, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s answer to that question is a definitive no. Their extensive research...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThe most troubling reading I did on vacation was Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, by two sociologists, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, who examine the evidence on what college students actually learn. I was surprised how little data there is on this important question. Even more disturbing, the data cited by the authors indicates that students may not learn very much. In... (Source)

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126
Unorthodox success principles from a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist
Eli Broad's embrace of "unreasonable thinking" has helped him build two Fortune 500 companies, amass personal billions, and use his wealth to create a new approach to philanthropy. He has helped to fund scientific research institutes, K-12 education reform, and some of the world's greatest contemporary art museums. By contrast, "reasonable" people come up with all the reasons something new and different can't be done, because, after all, no one else has done it that way. This book shares the "unreasonable"...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesEli Broad is definitely not a wuss. I enjoyed his succinct memoir, The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking. Broad has had huge success in business, as the leader of KB Home and then SunAmerica. Now retired, he’s become an important philanthropist in areas including education,which is how I’ve gotten to know him. He attributes a lot of his success to his willingness to... (Source)

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127
How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization.

Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesOne of Smil’s books makes my list of favorites pretty much every year. This time it’s his look at the world’s use of materials, from silicon to wood to plastic and cement. If anyone tries to tell you we’re using fewer materials, send him this book. With his usual skepticism and his love of data, Smil shows how our ability to make things with less material—say, soda cans that need less... (Source)

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128

How Asia Works

“Pithy, well-written and intellectually vigorous . . . Studwell’s thesis is bold, his arguments persuasive, and his style pugnacious. It adds up to a highly readable and important book.” —Financial Times

In the 1980s and 1990s many in the West came to believe in the myth of an East-Asian economic miracle, with countries seen as not just development prodigies but as a unified bloc, culturally and economically similar, and inexorably on the rise. In How Asia Works, Joe Studwell distills extensive research into the economics of nine countries—Japan, South Korea,...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesStudwell produces compelling answers to two of the greatest questions in development economics: How did countries like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China achieve sustained, high growth? And why have so few other countries managed to do so? His answers come in the form of a simple—and yet hard to execute—formula: (1) create conditions for small farmers to thrive, (2) use the proceeds from... (Source)

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129
In 1980, the iconoclastic economist Julian Simon challenged celebrity biologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet. This book shows how the fight between Ehrlich and Simon - between environmental fears and free-market confidence - helped create the gulf separating environmentalists and their critics today. less
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesSabin chronicles the public debate about whether the world is headed for an environmental catastrophe. He centers the story on Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon, who wagered $1,000 on whether human welfare would improve or get worse over time. Without ridiculing either proponent, Sabin shows how their extreme views contributed to the polarized debate over climate change and other issues that... (Source)

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130

Why Does College Cost So Much?

Much of what is written about colleges and universities ties rapidly rising tuition to dysfunctional behavior in the academy. Common targets of dysfunction include prestige games among universities, gold plated amenities, and bloated administration. This book offers a different view. To explain rising college cost, the authors place the higher education industry firmly within the larger economic history of the United States. The trajectory of college cost is similar to cost behavior in many other industries, and this is no coincidence. Higher education is a personal service that relies on... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesThe title is a question that seems to get more attention every year. The authors are good about not pointing fingers but instead talking about how America’s labor market affects the cost of college. My view is that as long as there’s a scarcity of college graduates, a college degree will be quite valuable. So people will pay more to get one. And if they will pay more, then colleges and... (Source)

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131
One of the most urgent challenges in African economic development is to devise a strategy for improving statistical capacity. Reliable statistics, including estimates of economic growth rates and per-capita income, are basic to the operation of governments in developing countries and vital to nongovernmental organizations and other entities that provide financial aid to them. Rich countries and international financial institutions such as the World Bank allocate their development resources on the basis of such data. The paucity of accurate statistics is not merely a technical problem; it has... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesJerven, an economist, spent four years digging into how African nations get their statistics and the challenges they face in turning them into GDP estimates. He makes a strong case that a lot of GDP measurements we thought were accurate are far from it. But as I argue in my longer review, that doesn’t mean we know nothing about what works in development. (Source)

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132
The bestselling author of Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel surveys the history of human societies to answer the question: What can we learn from traditional societies that can make the world a better place for all of us?

Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former...

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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesIt’s not as good as Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. But then, few books are. Diamond finds fascinating anecdotes about what life is like for hunter-gatherers and asks which ones might apply to our modern lifestyles. He doesn’t make some grand pronouncement or romanticize tribal life. He just wants to find the best practices and share them. (Source)

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133
There are many misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists--wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge. When will the world run out of oil? Should nuclear energy be adopted on a larger scale? Are ethanol and wind power viable sources of energy for the future?... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesVaclav Smil is probably my favorite living author. If you care about energy issues, I recommend this volume, though its unvarnished look at the realities of energy use and infrastructure may be disconcerting to anyone who thinks solving our energy problems will be easy. Smil provides a rational framework for evaluating energy promises and important lessons to keep in mind if we’re to avert the... (Source)

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134
As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty--and even happiness.Kenny shows how the spread of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, and ideas, such as political rights, has transformed the world. He also shows... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI know from personal experience that stepping into the public square to announce that foreign aid is important and effective can be lonely work. Charles Kenny’s elegant book on the impact of aid carefully documents how the quality of life—even in the world’s poorest countries—has improved dramatically over the past several decades. With reams of solid data to support his case, he argues that... (Source)

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135
The definitive story of American health care today—its causes, consequences, and confusions

In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It was the most extensive reform of America's health care system since at least the creation of Medicare in 1965, and maybe ever. The ACA was controversial and highly political, and the law faced legal challenges reaching all the way to the Supreme Court; it even precipitated a government shutdown. It was a signature piece of legislation for President Obama's first term, and also a ball and chain for his second.

Ezekiel...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesReinventing 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. One of the architects of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) makes the case for why the U.S. health care system needed reform and how Obamacare sets out to fix the problems. Although he was... (Source)

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136
Warren Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway into something remarkable— and Fortune journalist Carol Loomis had a front-row seat for it all. When Carol Loomis first mentioned a little-known Omaha hedge fund manager in a 1966 Fortune article, she didn’t dream that Warren Buffett would one day be considered the world’s greatest investor—nor that she and Buffett would quickly become close personal friends. As Buf­fett’s fortune and reputation grew over time, Loomis used her unique insight into Buffett’s thinking to chronicle his work for Fortune, writ­ing and proposing... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI already posted a full review of Tap Dancing to Work, a collection of writings about Warren Buffett put together by his friend Carol J. Loomis. I can’t resist an opportunity to recommend this book again. It's very, very good. The pieces go back more than 40 years some of them, and it’s very interesting to see how Warren framed things years ago and how he’s dealt with certain challenges since.... (Source)

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137
One of Wall Street Journal's Best Ten Works of Nonfiction in 2012

New York Times Bestseller

"Not so different in spirit from the way public intellectuals like John Kenneth Galbraith once shaped discussions of economic policy and public figures like Walter Cronkite helped sway opinion on the Vietnam War…could turn out to be one of the more momentous books of the decade."
-New York Times Book Review

"Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century."
-Rachel Maddow, author of Drift

"A serious...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesAnyone interested in politics may be attracted to Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don't. Silver is the New York Times columnist who got a lot of attention last fall for predicting—accurately, as it turned out–the results of the U.S. presidential election. This book actually came out before the election, though, and it’s about predictions in many... (Source)

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138
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story...
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Bill GatesThe disadvantaged world of poor white Appalachia described in this terrific, heartbreaking book is one that I know only vicariously. Vance was raised largely by his loving but volatile grandparents, who stepped in after his father abandoned him and his mother showed little interest in parenting her son. Against all odds, he survived his chaotic, impoverished childhood only to land at Yale Law... (Source)

Ryan HolidayIn terms of other surprising memoirs, I found JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy to be another well-written gem. (Source)

Ben ShapiroA very well-written book. [...] The whole thing is a critique of individual decisions. (Source)

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139
Part of the hugely popular Without the Hot Air series, this book is accessibly written from an engineering perspective on a wide range of materials

Presenting a vision of change for how future generations can still use steel, cement, plastics, etcetera, but with less impact on the environment, this book is a wake-up call first, and then a solutions manual. By providing an evidence-based vision of change, the book can play a significant role in influencing our future. Written for designers; engineers; operations, technical, and business managers; traders; and government and...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesI was surprised to learn how many opportunities there are to reduce overall use of materials. For example, although I knew about basic recycling efforts like collecting aluminum cans at the office, I hadn’t realized how much reuse is possible at an industrial level. The authors argue that when a product -- say, a building or car -- is discarded, the materials in it are often still usable.... (Source)

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140
The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery--these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson's answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines. From Darwin and Freud to the halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates the innovation hubs throughout modern time and pulls out the approaches... more

Bill GatesQuite good at giving examples of how you create environments that can encourage good ideas. (Source)

Tony HsiehAuthor Steven Johnson argues in his 2010 book that innovation comes from the collision of ideas. This can happen when an individual working in isolation builds off years of existing knowledge to fuel his insights, or it can happen much more quickly when several creative types bounce ideas off each other in a community like Silicon Valley. This theory is one of the reasons why Hsieh decided to... (Source)

James AltucherAlso add to this: “How We Got to Now” by Steven Johnson. Basically: don’t believe the myth of the lonely genius. Ideas come from a confluence of history, “the adjacent possible” specific geographic locations, etc. The connections Johnson makes are brilliant. For instance, The Gutenberg Press (which, in itself, was invented because of improvements in sewing looms), made everyone realize they had... (Source)

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Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

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141
Malaria sickens hundreds of millions of people—and kills one to three million—each year. Despite massive efforts to eradicate the disease, it remains a major public health problem in poorer tropical regions. But malaria has not always been concentrated in tropical areas. How did other regions control malaria and why does the disease still flourish in some parts of the globe?

From Russia to Bengal to Palm Beach, Randall Packard’s far-ranging narrative traces the natural and social forces that help malaria spread and make it deadly. He finds that war, land development, crumbling...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, Christian W. McMillen, and 2 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Christian W. McMillenThis book is far and away the best introduction for anybody seeking to understand malaria’s importance in world history. (Source)

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142
Recommended by Bill Gates, Bob Johnstone, and 2 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Bob JohnstoneI chose this one because we depend on electricity for just about everything we do, and yet most of us have absolutely no idea of how this stuff gets to us, or what it is, for that matter. Philip Schewe, the author, refers to it as ‘bottled lightning’. He quotes the National Academy of Engineering saying that the grid is the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century, and also the... (Source)

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143

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

The legendary introduction to physics from the subject's greatest teacher
"The whole thing was basically an experiment," Richard Feynman said late in his career, looking back on the origins of his lectures. The experiment turned out to be hugely successful, spawning a book that has remained a definitive introduction to physics for decades. Ranging from the most basic principles of Newtonian physics through such formidable theories as general relativity and quantum mechanics, Feynman's lectures stand as a monument of clear exposition and deep insight. Now, we are reintroducing the...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, David Bainbridge, and 2 others.

Bill GatesYou don't have to take a course [to learn physics]. If you're hardcore, read the Feynman book and do the problems. (Source)

David BainbridgeI think that he is one of the most intelligent people to live in the 20th century. Yet at the same time, surprisingly, he is an amazingly good teacher. This is quite an unusual combination. (Source)

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In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that fifty failed states--home to the poorest one billion people on Earth--pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first century. The book shines much-needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized West, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world's people, often falling into an absolute decline in living standards. A struggle rages within each of these nations between reformers and corrupt leaders--and the... more
Recommended by Bill Gates, Nicholas Kristof, and 2 others.

Bill GatesOn the short list of books that I recommend to people. (Source)

Nicholas KristofThere’s been a tendency for people looking at global poverty to either emphasise the extraordinary difficulty in making a difference or to make it seem almost too easy. What I really liked about The Bottom Billion is that he acknowledges how difficult it can be to end poverty, but also offers some important ideas about how one can actually make a difference. (Source)

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145
Science starts to get interesting when things don’t make sense.

Science’s best-kept secret is this: Even today, there are experimental results and reliable data that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. In the past, similar “anomalies” have revolutionized our world, like in the sixteenth century, when a set of celestial anomalies led Copernicus to realize that the Earth goes around the sun and not the reverse, and in the 1770s, when two chemists discovered oxygen because of experimental results that defied all the theories of the day. And so, if...
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Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

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A World-Class Education

Designed to promote conversation about how to educate students for a rapidly changing, innovation-based world, this comprehensive and illuminating book from international education expert Vivien Stewart focuses on understanding what the world's best school systems are doing right for the purpose of identifying what U.S. schools at the national, state, and local level might do differently and better. less
Recommended by Bill Gates, and 1 others.

Bill GatesLooks at five countries—Singapore, Canada, Finland, China, and Australia—where students are doing significantly better on global assessments than students in the U.S. (Source)

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