Bill Gates needs little introduction. As an entrepreneur who founded the world's largest software business, he is not only one of the richest, but also one of the most influential people alive today. Gates is known to take weeks off at a time to allow himself to think and read in a secluded cabin in the woods, proclaiming that reading is still the main way he learns new things and tests his understanding. We're taking stock of 5 titles Gates read in 2019 to help you start 2020 with some quality recommendations.
A deeply moving account of the devastating effects of incarceration on relationships, this is the story of a black man and his wife after he is convicted of a crime he did not commit. Recommended to Gates by his eldest daughter Jennifer, the book was also chosen by Opera for her book club in October 2018 and has received rave reviews from the likes of Barack Obama. Gates said that the book was 'heavy' and 'thought-provoking' and promised readers that they'll find themselves sucked into the story despite the heavy subject matter.
The co-founder of the top-performing Summit Public Schools network Diane Tavenner has used her experience as an educator to put together a practical guide on how parents can help their kids live a fulfilled life, not just get into the best college. Gates recommends this book for concerned parents whose kids are going through the transitional period of life after high school. “Preparing our kids for college, a career, and life is a long journey,” Gates wrote, adding that the book is "a wonderful guidebook to help all of us make the most of the adventure."
University of Manitoba professor Vaclav Smil is one of Gates' favorite authors. Vaclav's latest book is a study of society's obsession with growth that explores how we should reconcile infinite growth with finite resources and the long-term preservation of our planet. Gates has called Vaclav "one of the best thinkers out there at documenting the past and seeing the big picture," and claims he waits for a new Vaclav Smil book “the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie.” This is a fact-dense tome and Gates admits that the first chapter is heavy with technical language, but encourages readers not to give up, saying that it becomes "easier to follow."
Professor Matthew Walker is a preeminent neuroscientist and the Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab. In Why We Sleep, he reveals the science behind one of the most important yet least understood aspects of our life: sleeping. Walker explains how we can harness the power of sleep and how sleep is vital to good physical health as well as creativity and problem-solving. Gates described this book as "one of the most interesting and profound" books on human behavior, it influenced Gates to change his bedtime habits and for anyone trying to be healthier in 2020, this is an essential read.
This 800-page tome is an eye-opening account of American History. Lepore explores diverse viewpoints and traces the evolution of American politics, law, society, and technology from the age of discovery through the present day to show us how American history is fraught with ironies and contradictions. In his review, Gates wrote that "the book is packed with amazing details and is a great reminder that there is a lot more to be learned about American history than what most of us learn in school."