Bill Gates: What the Man Behind Microsoft Reads

In 1975, Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft, which would eventually become the biggest software company on the planet and make Gates the richest man in the world. Since stepping down from his full-time duties at the company a decade ago, he and his wife, Melinda, have made significant donations to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through their foundation. In November of 2016, President Barack Obama presented the couple with The Presidential Medal of Freedom for their philanthropic efforts.

When Gates isn’t busy (literally) changing the world, he’s an avid reader. So, what does one of the richest men in the world read? Here are a few of his favorites:

The Great Gatsby

Virtually ignored upon its release in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterwork is now regarded as a prime example of “The Great American Novel.” Its impact isn’t lost on Gates, either, as he compares with courtship with Melinda with the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy, and even has a quote from the book engraved on the ceiling of his home library.

Also available in audio.

How Not to be Wrong

What if all the complexities in our world could be boiled down to mathematics? Jordan Ellenberg makes the jargon-free case that math can explain everything — from baseball to Italian Renaissance painting to Facebook’s info about you. How Not to Be Wrong will help you understand these and dozens of other topics in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Moonwalking with Einstein

In 2005, journalist Joshua Foer covered the United States Memory Championship. Over the next year, he set out to learn more about memory — and boost his own — by picking the very powerful brains of leading mnemonists, and wound up becoming the U.S. Memory Champion himself. His story is, yes, unforgettable.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Johnson contends that ideas can come from anywhere, and the more ideas we’re exposed to, the better our own ideas will be. An expert in both neurobiology and popular culture, Johnson uses a conversational style and compelling anecdotes to explore how various environments can spark the creativity and innovation that drive our lives, careers, and culture.

The Bully Pulpit

This critically acclaimed work by Pulitzer Prize-winning Doris Kearns Goodwin is really two captivating works in one. The first part deals with the intense friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, which was ripped apart as they vied for Republican nomination for president in 1912. It also tells the story of the muckraking press’ rallying behind Roosevelt to get the government to get tough on corrupt politicians, robber barons, and those hellbent on plundering our natural resources for their personal gain. Essential reading.

See Bill Gates’ full list of literary faves here.


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