Books recommended by
Bill Gates

Founder of Microsoft



Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

A brief history of humankind


Science

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I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history. Like Big History, it left me with an overarching historical structure which I can build on as I learn more. At the same time, Harari tells our history in such an approachable way that you’ll have a hard time putting it down.

Gates Notes

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman

The semi-autobiographical memoirs of Nobel Prize winning physicist and bongo player Richard Feynman.


Science Biography Physics

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On Immunity by Eula Biss


Medicine Sociology Social Science

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What makes this book so good and unusual is how effortlessly Biss moves around different topics. Her father is an oncologist and her mother a poet, which probably helps to explain how Biss so easily navigates the worlds of science and literature.

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Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson


History Biography

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Although today he’s best known as a painter, Leonardo had an absurdly wide range of interests, from human anatomy to the theater. Isaacson does the best job I’ve seen of pulling together the different strands of Leonardo’s life and explaining what made him so exceptional

GatesNotes

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe


Wellness

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If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou


Business Crime

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This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

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Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Legendary statistician Hans Rosling explains why the world isn't as bad as you think.


Economics

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This was a breakthrough to me. The framework Hans enunciates is one that took me decades of working in global development to create for myself, and I could have never expressed it in such a clear way.

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Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari


TechnologyScience

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It is a deeply engaging book with lots of stimulating ideas and not a lot of jargon.

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari


Politics Social Science

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If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

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I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood.

Gates Notes

Army of None by Paul Scharre


Artificial Intelligence Engineering Technology

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...his fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

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Everything Happens for a Reason by Kate Bowler


biography

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Everything Happens belongs on the shelf alongside other terrific books about this difficult subject, like Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air and Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal.

GatesNotes

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