Every year, genius-philanthropist Bill Gates comes out with his reading list, and let’s face it, when a billionaire advises you on something, it’s best to sit up and listen. A bibliophile, Gates has often spoken about the kind of books he loves and the lessons one can learn from the many reads. Known to devour almost a book a week, he regularly posts his favourite books on his blog GatesNotes.
This year, Gates’ pick is an eclectic mix of topics, “from tennis to tennis shoes, genomics to great leadership. They’re all very well written, and they all dropped me down a rabbit hole of unexpected insights and pleasures”.
So, if you want to catch up on your reading this holiday season, here’s his pick to take inspiration from:
String Theory by David Foster Wallace
The book is a collection of five of Wallace’s best essays on tennis. “You don’t have to play or even watch tennis to love this book. The late author wielded a pen as skillfully as Roger Federer wields a tennis racket,” writes Gates.
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
The memoir by Nike co-founder has been called a “refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes”.
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
A doctor and a Pulitzer Prize– winning author, “Mukherjee guides us through the past, present, and future of genome science, with a special focus on huge ethical questions that the latest and greatest genome technologies provoke”.
The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown
Apparently inspired by the fierce presidential election battle in the US, Gates says the author “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, and negotiate—and recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers.”
The Grid by Gretchen Bakke
This book about the US’ ageing electrical grid found itself as an honourable mention that apparently fits into the 61-year-old business magnate’s genre of Books About Mundane Stuff That Are Actually Fascinating. “I think this book would convince you that the electrical grid is one of the greatest engineering wonders of the modern world,” says Gates.