Bill Gates Shares His Summer Reading Recommendations

Posted by Cybil on May 20, 2019


Tech pioneer, co-founder of Microsoft, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and author Bill Gates is an avid reader who has become known for his excellent book recommendations. As we head into summer reading season, Gates is sharing some of the books he highly recommends to his fellow readers.

To see all of Bill Gates’ book recommendations throughout the year, be sure to follow him here.

I always like to pick out a bunch of books to bring with me whenever I get ready to go on vacation. More often than not, I end up taking more books than I could possibly read on one trip. My philosophy is that I’d rather have too much to read on a trip than too little.

If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to think about what’s on your summer reading list this year—and I can’t recommend the books below highly enough.

None of them are what most people think of as a light read. All but one deal with the idea of disruption, but I don’t mean “disruption” in the way tech people usually mean it. I’ve recently found myself drawn to books about upheaval (that’s even the title of the one of them)—whether it’s the Soviet Union right after the Bolshevik revolution, the United States during times of war, or a global reevaluation of our economic system.

If you’re looking for something that’s more of a typical summer book, I recommend Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Result. (And if you haven’t read the first two books in the Rosie trilogy, summer vacation is the perfect time to start!) I also can’t resist a plug for Melinda’s new book The Moment of Lift. I know I’m biased, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Here is my full summer reading list:

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I’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, or general malaise. It sounds a bit depressing, but I finished the book even more optimistic about our ability to solve problems than I started.



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If 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 super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood.



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It 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’ 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 everything Dostoyevsky wrote), A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story that anyone can enjoy.


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My 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.



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Collier’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.





Which of these books will you be adding to your Want to Read shelf? Tell us in the comments! And if you'd like even more of Gates' book recommendations, you can find them here.



Comments Showing 1-50 of 62 (62 new)


message 1: by Dendi (new)

Dendi Way to go BIll


message 2: by C I N D L E (new)

C I N D L E +1 to infinity for Amor Towles' 'A Gentleman in Moscow'

It is a superb example of exceptional literature. Simply divine! 💯


message 3: by Rizwan (new)

Rizwan Hussain Bill's recommendations are always exciting


message 4: by Sami (new)

Sami Thanks for these great recommendations!


message 5: by Anne (new)

Anne Only one fiction selection? For summer?


message 6: by Neil (new)

Neil What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed to think like him? Is that even a good idea?


message 7: by G.G. (new)

G.G. Melies Bill ... My novels for when? Ok, I'm going to read some of these books. Thank you.


message 8: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Nine Pints sounds fascinating!


message 9: by Tupps (new)

Tupps Middle Thank you Bill! Very cewl!


message 10: by Pat (new)

Pat Roberts Loved A Gentleman in Moscow. Not sure about the rest....blood is so not my thing. And I’m tired of anything political.


message 11: by Ione (new)

Ione Not interested in Gates' recommendations.


message 12: by Apeksha (new)

Apeksha Kshirsagar Great recommendations! Definitely would love to read some of these, including 'The Future Of Capitalism' and 'A Gentleman In Moscow'.


message 13: by Breslin (new)

Breslin White Wait... five books?!


message 14: by Lou (new)

Lou Let’s hope the conclusion of “ the future of capitalism “ is that there is no future.
A world organised by the few for the few. And bill gates is surely one of the few.


message 15: by Pat (new)

Pat Roberts Lou wrote: "Let’s hope the conclusion of “ the future of capitalism “ is that there is no future.
A world organised by the few for the few. And bill gates is surely one of the few."

And he’s given millions to making a better world. Have you, or are you one of those waiting around for “free stuff”?


message 16: by Yaaresse (new)

Yaaresse I've never thought much about Bill Gates one way or the other -- I'm neither a big fan nor a hater -- but I have to admit that I've read some good books I might have overlooked otherwise except for his reviews of them.

And given how much of GR's blog is focused on fiction and romance, I'm glad to have some non-fiction suggestions that aren't celebrity memoirs. For that matter, I welcome suggestions by someone who isn't just famous for being famous. I'd rather have suggestions from someone with his resume than some actress intent on marketing her lifestyle company or book club.


message 17: by Newly (new)

Newly Wardell I was gonna read Gentleman from Moscow any way!


message 18: by Newly (new)

Newly Wardell Nubero wrote: "It’s pathetic that Gates tries to sell himself as some sort of intellectual. Maybe it’s his way of trying to redeem himself after infesting the world with the garbage that is Windows and Office. My..." Hugs for you!


message 19: by David (new)

David Pat wrote: "Lou wrote: "Let’s hope the conclusion of “ the future of capitalism “ is that there is no future.
A world organised by the few for the few. And bill gates is surely one of the few."
And he’s give..."


He has, in fact, given billions to charity. About fifty billion, if I'm not mistaken. He'd be the richest man in the world if not for that. He's also paid 10 billion in taxes and gone on record numerous times that he believes fervently he should have paid more and preaches a progressive tax system whenever he can. Dude is one of the good ones, dunno why people hate on him.

And for the person lambasting windows, what the hell are you using? Linux? Mac? Have fun gaming on either, or doing any serious development work on the latter, lol. And if it's a mac, have fun paying twice as much as an equivalent spec windows pc for literally no reason. Anti-windows people are the silliest.


message 20: by Almira (new)

Almira Hear hear - thanks Pat for pointing that info out, about his charitable giving…..


message 21: by Warren (new)

Warren Hey Bill, thanks for sharing. Anybody who reads gets a green tick in my book. To see a public figure's recommendations can often transform my understanding of him or her. I'll follow up on a few of those, especially Jared Diamond's.

Best regards,
Warren


message 22: by Hazel Bee (new)

Hazel Bee A Gentleman in Moscow is one of my all time favorite book.


message 23: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Neil wrote: "What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed to think lik..."

If you didn't care about what he read, why did you even read the article? Did you know about any of these books before you read the list? Probably not, but maybe now that they've been brought to your attention, you might.


message 24: by Kaethe (new)

Kaethe Douglas I'm most keen to read Moment of Lift and Nine Pints, but the others look interesting, too. I appreciate a summer reading list with a lot of nonfiction.


message 25: by Madoson (new)

Madoson Bill: *whips out 50 shades of gay*
Bill: Also, one of my favorites-


message 26: by Neil (new)

Neil 1. The article was featured prominently on my home screen.
2. Yes.
3. I'm fine with folks bringing books to my attention, but I don't see why Bill Gates is so important. I don't have any problem with others taking his recommendations, but I don't get why he deserves top billing.

Relating to other points folks have made, I think some of his charitable giving is good, but some of it is problematic. There are lots of valid criticisms (available online), for instance, of what he has done to education in the US.


message 27: by Hamish (last edited May 20, 2019 07:01PM) (new)

Hamish I watched a video of Gates saying that he likes to write on the insides of books, in the margins, all over the book, etc.

No. NO. You don't do that. Ever.

Books are things of wonder, of mystery, of inspiration, not to be used as a drawing pad or like a wall for graffiti.

He lost me at that very moment.


message 28: by Sharni (new)

Sharni Benson +1 for Rosie Result.
A great list.


message 29: by Sharni (new)

Sharni Benson Hamish wrote: "I watched a video of Gates saying that he likes to write on the insides of books, in the margins, all over the book, etc.

No. NO. You don't do that. Ever.

Books are things of wonder, of mystery,..."


I work in a library and the thought of this pains me, but the most important thing is to engage people with literature and if that's a way that the reader connects better then it's a good thing (in their own copies. For the love of all things sacred, do not write in library books).

I went to a seminar on the future of libraries and annotated books are valuable artifacts to archival libraries.


message 30: by Dora (new)

Dora good job, Gates~


message 31: by Nina (new)

Nina Only 5 books for summer???


Bill you are crazy or what???


5 books are the books that I read in 2 weeks


message 32: by Deniss (new)

Deniss Uncle please sit


message 33: by Ziemowit (new)

Ziemowit LoL 5 books - I read maybe 2 - 4 in month in good wind...
Nice Day Mr. Gates ;)


message 34: by Regina (new)

Regina Tula Great selection. Thank you. I will be adding a few to my list. One can never have too many books to read. As for The Future of Capitalism, do you think history will repeat itself and a new currency will be formed?


message 35: by arkadi cloud (new)

arkadi cloud Pat wrote: "Loved A Gentleman in Moscow. Not sure about the rest....blood is so not my thing. And I’m tired of anything political."

i was thinking the same thing.

such a boring 'safe' list. bereft of personality, just like Mr. Gates himself.


message 36: by Adam (new)

Adam Anxious to read Nine Pints. Sounds fascinating. Thx!!


message 37: by Regina (new)

Regina Tula Hamish wrote: "I watched a video of Gates saying that he likes to write on the insides of books, in the margins, all over the book, etc.

No. NO. You don't do that. Ever.

Books are things of wonder, of mystery,..."


I think it is important to write in books. I am able to form my own thoughts from the content at the point I first had them to reference later. It is a compliment to the author; they have inspired me to think beyond or revel in their guidance. Food for thought.


message 38: by Christian (new)

Christian Ekman Neil wrote: "1. The article was featured prominently on my home screen.
2. Yes.
3. I'm fine with folks bringing books to my attention, but I don't see why Bill Gates is so important. I don't have any problem ..."


Dude. They give recommendations by different celebrities all the time. Why are you more interested in book recommendations from actor X than by Bill Gates? Why are any of them relevant?

Goodreads does this because it's interesting to see what celebrities like to read. That's it. If you don't like it, don't read the articles. It's that simple. Even though you're not interested doesn't mean other people aren't. Bill Gates usually gives great book recommendations so I'm happy to have it featured on this website.


message 39: by Joy (new)

Joy Hurst Neil wrote: "What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed to think lik..."
Anyone can recommend good books. Readers have their own community! Be kind.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for the suggestions. Since I'm mainly a non-fiction reader, I appreciated these. Want to read all of them except for the one on US presidents. Even the one fiction book, A Gentleman in Moscow, which was already on my TBR list. Nine Pints sounds fascinating!


message 41: by Paul (last edited May 21, 2019 07:11AM) (new)

Paul Montgomery If you like non-fiction and enjoy reading about Russia, try Milk From Sand: a Memoir, by Leonila V. Montgomery.


message 42: by Mark (new)

Mark Neil wrote: "What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed to think lik..."

At least he's trying! I don't see Neil's 5 books for the summer. When is that coming out?


message 43: by Suzan (new)

Suzan A Gentleman in Moscow was one of my favorite reads last year. I also enjoyed the first book of the Rosie Trilogy. Thanks for the recommendations.

I always enjoy seeing what others recommend. Sometimes I find another good book to explore.


message 44: by B (new)

B I know you're an Amazon company now, but enough with the billionaire worship.


message 45: by Noreen (new)

Noreen Castellano I just spent most of my morning reading Bill's list of books and his reviews. I added several of his recommendations to my running booklist of "to read" books. What a great list! I love the diversity of areas into which his reading interests delve.


message 46: by Tina (new)

Tina Neil wrote: "What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed to think lik..."

To Neil: I think you missed the message... This is his "recommendations" - he is not pushing everyone to read it. We don't have to if we don't want to.


message 47: by Shane (new)

Shane Papendorf Mark wrote: "Neil wrote: "What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed..."

from a glance at this basic, boring list, it seems like bill is hardly trying


message 48: by Shane (new)

Shane Papendorf Joy wrote: "Neil wrote: "What is it that makes Bill Gates an authority on what to read? Is he really great when it comes to knowing and identifying good books? If we read the books he likes, we're all supposed..."

it would be nice if bill gates stayed with his tiny little community of exploitative billionaires and left this one alone


message 49: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Roberts I'm a Mac girl, but I like little bite-sized lists of suggestions from famous people. It takes me two minutes to read the list and sometimes I find something incredible. (I am, however, still peeved at Michael Palin for the suggestion of "The Famished Road.")

So, that said...I'm a sucker for Mary-Roach-type books, so I'll be checking out 9 Pints thanks to Mr. Gates.


message 50: by Elena (new)

Elena Ione wrote: "Not interested in Gates' recommendations." Interested enough to take the time to go through them AND comment.


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