Bill Gates just revealed his summer reading list, and it’s as awesome as you’d expect
Your summer reading list is about to get a lot longer.
That’s because Microsoft founder, philanthropist, and avid reader Bill Gates revealed his summer book recommendations in a blog post on Monday — and you’re going to want to pore over all of these books during your next vacation.
Gates’ recommendations aren’t your typical summer books, though. Whether it’s a personal memoir or a heartfelt novel about grief, each focuses on understanding the larger world around us.
“Some of these books helped me better understand what it’s like to grow up outside the mainstream,” writes Gates. “As a child of mixed race in apartheid South Africa, as a young man trying to escape his impoverished life in rural Appalachia, or as the son of a peanut farmer in Plains, Georgia.”
He continues, “I hope you’ll find that others make you think deeper about what it means to truly connect with other people and to have purpose in your life. And all of them will transport you somewhere else—whether you’re sitting on a beach towel or on your own couch.”
Gates’ summer reading list has become an annual tradition, and usually includes a mix of beautifully written fiction and thought-provoking nonfiction. In the past, he’s recommended everything from The Gene, an intimate look at DNA, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, to Thing Explainer, which unpacks complex concepts using only very simple words, by “xkcd” creator Randall Munroe.
Check out Gates’ current favorites below.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
“Much of Noah’s story of growing up in South Africa is tragic. Yet, as anyone who watches his nightly monologues knows, his moving stories will often leave you laughing.” Full review here.
The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal
“While you’ll find this book in the fiction section at your local bookstore, what de Kerangal has done here in this exploration of grief is closer to poetry than anything else.” Full review here.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
“While the book offers insights into some of the complex cultural and family issues behind poverty, the real magic lies in the story itself and Vance’s bravery in telling it.” Full review here.
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harri
“I recommended Harari’s previous book Sapiens in last summer’s reading list, and this provocative follow-up is just as challenging, readable, and thought-provoking. Homo Deus argues that the principles that have organized society will undergo a huge shift in the 21st century, with major consequences for life as we know it.” Full review here.
A Full Life by Jimmy Carter
“Even though the former President has already written more than two dozen books, he somehow managed to save some great anecdotes for this quick, condensed tour of his fascinating life. I loved reading about Carter’s improbable rise to the world’s highest office.” Full review here.