Books Recommended by Bill Gates
Why We Sleep
Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Source: "Explains how neglecting sleep undercuts your creativity, problem solving, decision-making, learning, memory, heart health, brain health, mental health, emotional well-being, immune system, and even your life span." - Bill Gates
The Most Powerful Idea in the World
A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
Source: "An entertaining narrative weaving together the clever characters, incremental innovations and historical context behind the steam engines that gave birth to our modern world." - Bill Gates
The New Psychology of Success
Carol S. Dweck
Source: "Dweck and her research have helped my foundation colleagues and me understand more about the attitudes and habits that allow some students to persevere in school despite big challenges." - Bill Gates
The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies
Source: "The case studies you’re about to explore and the tools you’re about to gain have never been more relevant. This is an ideal moment to be reading this book." - Bill Gates
Rebooting for the New Talent Economy
Andrew S Rosen
Source: "Builds a persuasive case that many non-traditional students, such as working adults, parents and those at risk of dropping out, are not well served by traditional institutions." - Bill Gates
A World-Class Education
Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation
Source: "Looks at five countries—Singapore, Canada, Finland, China, and Australia—where students are doing significantly better on global assessments than students in the U.S." - Bill Gates
Without the Hot Air
David JC MacKay
Source: "If someone wants an overall view of how energy gets used, where it comes from, and the challenges in switching to new sources, this is the book to read." - Bill Gates
The World Until Yesterday
What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
Source: "Made me think about how we have had to overcome some deeply ingrained behaviors in order to develop a modern, interconnected society." - Bill Gates
The Magic of Reality
How We Know What's Really True
Source: "An engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, from how the universe formed to what causes earthquakes." - Bill Gates
Leadership Lessons from Patrick McGovern, the Visionary Who Circled the Globe and Built a Technology Media Empire
Source: "Patrick McGovern shaped the way that millions of people grew to understand the enormous potential of computers and how they would change the world." - Bill Gates
Breath from Salt
A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever
Bijal P. Trivedi
Source: "Documents a story of remarkable scientific innovation and how it has improved the lives of almost all cystic fibrosis patients and their families." - Bill Gates
Moonwalking with Einstein
The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Source: "I never thought much about whether I could improve my memory across a wider set of domains, but now I think I could, after reading [this book]." - Bill Gates
Who is Bill Gates?
William Henry Gates III, more commonly referred to as “Bill,” is an American author, philanthropist, business magnate, software developer, and investor. He is most well-known as the co-founder of Microsoft, as well as for his work with ex-wife Melinda (nee French) through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates attended Harvard University, though he famously dropped out before graduating, choosing instead to follow an entrepreneurial path—one which undeniably led him to a life of success.
Did Gates explicitly recommend these books?
Not necessarily. This book list has Gates’s must-read recommendations, but it also has a mix of mentions and suggestions from various sources. Some are mentioned from Gates Notes, the multi-billionaire’s personal blog, while others stem from interviews, articles, and even a book’s promotional blurbs.
How do you know Gates mentioned these books?
Every suggestion on this list of Bill Gates book recommendations is validated by our team of editors. If you want to see the source for yourself, you can find the resource quoted next to each book.
Did Bill Gates actually create this list?
No, not directly. This reading list was curated by our editors based on confirmed mentions from Bill Gates, including Gates Notes blog posts, where he recommends the best business books and other terrific reads. The sources for each recommendation are cited beside each book on this list!
What genres does Gates recommend?
Unsurprisingly, Gates’s book recommendations include a lot of non-fiction titles. However, you might be surprised by the variety—not every non-fiction book cited here is a business or finance tome. As just a few examples, you’ll find psychology, personal development, neuroscience, history, science, politics, global health and medicine, technology, economics, management, leadership, memoir, education, sustainability, mindfulness, and other insightful subjects. There are even a few fiction titles among his favorite books. What kind of novel does philanthropist Bill Gates like to read? He cites classic literature like The Great Gatsby and modern must-reads such as The Rosie Project among his favorite entertaining reads.
What topics do these books cover?
With so many kinds of different books, it’s no surprise that the specific subjects of the books Gates recommends vary. As just a glimpse into these themes, even a quick look at Gates's list reveals all that human nature has to offer: climate change, COVID-19 and influenza, systemic inequality, political divisions, and others.
Can I read books written by Bill Gates, rather than recommended by him?
Of course! Gates himself is the author of several titles, including How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Business @ the Speed of Thought, and The Road Ahead. Naturally, it’s safe to assume that Gates would recommend his own books—and other experts do the same.
Where can I find more recommended reads?
If you love a particular book from Gates's list, you’ll often find other favorites from that same author. However, Most Recommended Books is happy to fill your TBR list, too! Once you’ve exhausted your Gates-inspired summer reading list, you might choose a favorite and select the small information button (the letter “i” in a circle) beside the recommendation. From here, you’ll find a list of other experts who’ve reviewed the same title. Then, check out that same person’s suggestions for other titles—more often than not, you’ll find more great book recommendations. You can also turn to your favorite experts in various industries directly, or compare two people’s lists to see what books overlap. And, of course, you can always head back to Bill Gates’s list for his newest book takes—our editors add more good books to the database each month, verifying more of our expert’s favorites in every genre.
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