The philanthropist and American businessman Bill Gates published a list of his favorite books for the summer holidays of 2018. It is a yearly tradition that he started in 2013.
“I’ve read some terrific books lately. When I pulled together this list of five that you might enjoy this summer, I realized that several of my choices wrestle with big questions. What makes a genius tick? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where does humanity come from, and where are we headed?” says Gates in his blog.
Despite these big questions, the Microsoft co-founder says his recommendations are “pretty fun to read.”
Leonardo da Vinci (by Walter Isaacson), 2017: The author of this book, who wrote the biographies of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, tells the life and work of the famous painter through scientific research. “I 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,” says Gates.
Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved (by Kate Bowler), 2018: The author of this book tells about her search for answers after she was diagnosed with cancer. “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,” says the philanthropist.
Lincoln in the Bardo (by George Saunders), 2017: “I 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,” Gates says in his blog.
Origin Story: A Big History of Everything (by David Christian), 2018: “David 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,” says Microsoft’s co-founder.
Factfulness (by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund), 2018: “I’ve been recommending this book since the day it came out. Hans, the brilliant global-health lecturer who died last year, gives you a breakthrough way of understanding basic truths about the world—how life is getting better, and where the world still needs to improve. And he weaves in unforgettable anecdotes from his life. It’s a fitting final word from a brilliant man, and one of the best books I’ve ever read,” Gates said.