I always find it interesting to see what smart people are reading. Here is a peak at what Bill Gates is reading this summer.
The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker
Gates writes, “I’m absolutely nuts about (this book.) … Pinker makes the case that over time, humans have become much less violent and more humane. This got me thinking about how we can achieve more positive outcomes in the world today through the work of our foundation.”
The Quest by Daniel Yergin
Gates says, “For anyone interested in the dynamics shaping our energy future and all of the innovation around energy, it’s a fantastic book.”
Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China by Ezra Vogel
Gates writes, “It’s a biography of the former Chinese communist leader, who was well-known both for the brutal 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protestors and other oppressive tactics, and for the market reforms in the last quarter of the 21st century that transformed the country economically, socially, and politically. It’s also a bit on the long side, but completely worthwhile.”
The Cost of Hope by Amanda Bennett
No one who reads this book will ever forget it. It is the moving, funny, heartbreaking, sober, inspiring, important story of a man and a woman energized to their limits by their stormy high-pitched love for each other. Interwoven throughout is a brilliant piece of reporting about the costs and agonies of the American healthcare system. Amanda Bennett has created, in beautifully crafted prose, something truly exquisite—and unique.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Behind the Beautiful Forevers offers a rebuke to official reports and dry statistics on the global poor…Boo is one of few chroniclers providing this picture. She’s a moral force and an artist of reverberating power.
Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella Meadows
Updated for the second time since 1992, this book, by a trio of professors and systems analysts, offers a pessimistic view of the natural resources available for the world’s population. Using extensive computer models based on population, food production, pollution and other data, the authors demonstrate why the world is in a potentially dangerous “overshoot” situation. Put simply, overshoot means people have been steadily using up more of the Earth’s resources without replenishing its supplies. The consequences, according to the authors, may be catastrophic: “We… believe that if a profound correction is not made soon, a crash of some sort is certain. And it will occur within the lifetimes of many who are alive today.”
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Since the dawn of humanity, a privileged few have lived in stark contrast to the hardscrabble majority. Conventional wisdom says this gap cannot be closed. But it is closing—fast. The authors document how four forces—exponential technologies, the DIY innovator, the Technophilanthropist, and the Rising Billion—are conspiring to solve our biggest problems. Abundance establishes hard targets for change and lays out a strategic roadmap for governments, industry and entrepreneurs, giving us plenty of reason for optimism.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.
The Man Who Stayed Behind is another interesting book by Amanda Bennett
“The Man Who Stayed Behind” is the remarkable story of Sidney Rittenberg, an American student activist and labour organiser who joined the military, became fluent in Chinese, was sent to China by the U.S. military in the 1940s, became caught up in the turbulence that engulfed that country, and remained there until the late 1970s. Here he tells how he argued dogma with Mao Zedong, mused philosophy with Zhou Enlai, and danced with Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing. But he also gives a harrowing account of his struggle over madness and despair in prison during six years in solitary confinement on trumped-up spy charges.
See what Bill’s friends are reading this summer.