If you’re stuck trying to find which book you’re going to read next, allow business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, and humanitarian Bill Gates to help you.
The founder of Microsoft has revealed on his blog the 5 books on his summer reading list, and it’s an interesting mix of non-fiction books about science, politics, and history, with one novel that somehow perfectly captures the themes of all the rest.
Scroll down to see which books he recommends…
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
Why Bill loved it: “Towles’s novel about a count sentenced to life under house arrest in a Moscow hotel is fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat.”
Synopsis: On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.
While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.
Buy it here.
The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties
by Paul Collier
Why Bill loved it: “Although I don’t agree with him about everything… his background as a development economist gives him a smart perspective on where capitalism is headed.”
Synopsis: Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies- thriving cities versus the provinces, 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 democracy. Drawing on his own solutions as well as ideas from some of the world’s most distinguished social scientists, Collier shows us how to save capitalism from itself – and free ourselves from the intellectual baggage of the 20th century.
Buy it here.
Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Mysterious, Miraculous World of Blood
by Rose George
Why Bill loved it: “It’s filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood.”
Synopsis: From a prize-winning writer, a fascinating exploration of blood: the stuff of life, the stuff of nightmares, and one of the most expensive liquids on the planet.
Most humans contain between nine and twelve pints of blood. Here Rose George, who probably contains nine pints, tells nine different stories about the liquid that sustains us, discovering what it reveals about who we are. Nine Pints reveals the richness and wonder of the potent red fluid that courses around our bodies, unseen but miraculous.
Buy it here.
Presidents of War
by Michael Beschloss
Why Bill loved it: “Beschloss’s broad scope lets you draw important cross-cutting lessons about presidential leadership.”
Synopsis: 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 American men and women to their deaths.
Buy it here.
Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change
by Jared Diamond
Why Bill loved it: “It sounds a bit depressing, but I finished the book even more optimistic about our ability to solve problems than I started.”
Synopsis: From ‘the master storyteller of the human race’ (Daily Mail), a brilliant new theory of how and why some nations recover from trauma and others don’t.
Jared Diamond shows us how seven countries have survived defining upheavals in the recent past – from the forced opening up of Japan and the Soviet invasion of Finland to the Pinochet regime in Chile – through selective change, a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation more commonly associated with personal trauma. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the United States, and the world, are squandering their natural advantages and are on a devastating path towards catastrophe. Is this fate inevitable? Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past?
Buy it here.
Watch the video below:
You can buy any of Bill Gates’ recommended reads here.
About the Contributor
Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.
Follow Olivia: Twitter