Billionaire Bill Gates recommends four books you must read this year


A TikTok favourite author’s newest release, a crash course in artificial intelligence and a how-to guide for making the most of philanthropic giving are among the reads—and watches—recommended by billionaire Bill Gates in the latest post for his Gates Notes blog.
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Bill Gates with a stack of his recommended summer reads and watches.

Gates Notes

Key Takeaways
  • Gates, who built a fortune after he co-founded Microsoft in the 1970s, has recommended four books and one TV show with a theme of service to others, specifically “why we do it, the things that can make it difficult and why we should do it anyway,” he wrote.
  • At the top of the list is “The Women” by Kristin Hannah, the story of a U.S. Army nurse in Vietnam that Gates called a “beautifully written tribute to a group of veterans who deserve more appreciation for the incredible sacrifices they made.”
  • Hannah, who skyrocketed to a new level of fame thanks to a loyal TikTok fan base, released “The Women” in February—it became the best selling adult book in February and March and was the second most-sold book in April, according to Circana data (it sold 661,630 print copies in its first three months).
  • Gates’ other three recommended books are all nonfiction, including a dive into how artificial intelligence stands to change the lives of students and teachers in “Brave New Words” by Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy.
  • The other two reads—“How to Know a Person” by David Brooks and “Infectious Generosity” by Chris Anderson—are about interpersonal relationships: The former is a guide to improving conversation and social skills and the latter a blueprint for how to amplify the impact of everyday generosity.
  • Gates also recommended watching the Apple TV+ show “Slow Horses,” a British spy thriller starring Gary Oldman about a dysfunctional group of MI5 spies operating as a special faction of the intelligence agency.
Key Background

Gates publishes books, song and show recommendations twice yearly, at the start of summer and near the end of the year.

Last summer, he recommended books “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin and “Born in Blackness” by Howard French, the political drama “Borgen” on Netflix and released a summer Spotify playlist with tracks from Vampire Weekend, Adele, Nat King Cole and others. His holiday list, a tradition he’s continued for more than a decade, included “The Song of the Cell” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, “Invention and Innovation: A Brief History of Hype and Failure” by Vaclav Smil and “Not the End of the World: How We Can be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet” by Hannah Ritchie.

Forbes Valuation

Gates has an estimated net worth of $131.2 billion Monday to make him the ninth richest person in the world.

He founded Microsoft in 1975 and still owned about 1.3% of the company’s shares when he stepped down from the board in March of 2020. Gates has donated tens of billions of dollars through his foundation, the Gates Foundation, and is a co-founder of The Giving Pledge, a charitable campaign that encourages the wealthy to give away at least half of their fortunes.

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