Bill Gates’s Faves

In a model Donald Trump might want to consider, Bill Gates says “reading books is my favorite way to learn about a new topic. I’ve been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading.”

He offers those thoughts as a preface to his end of year list of favorites which he says represents an “eclectic mix of topics—from tennis to tennis shoes, genomics to great leadership. They’re all very well written, and they all dropped me down a rabbit hole of unexpected insights and pleasures.”

His list is shuffling the Amazon rankings as all of the books gain ground.

His five choices, with an excerpt of his explanations and its movement on Amazon, are:

9781598534801_1242fString Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, David Foster Wallace (PRH/Library of America).

“You don’t have to play or even watch tennis to love this book. The late author wielded a pen as skillfully as Roger Federer wields a tennis racket. Here, as in his other brilliant works, Wallace found mind-blowing ways of bending language like a metal spoon.”

Showing an impressive score, Wallace’s book moved from #8,425 to within the Top 100, sitting at #80.

9781501135910_59461Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It is “a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes … [Knight] tells his story as honestly as he can. It’s an amazing tale.”

It too leaped on Amazon, and is also now in the Top 100 at #60, up from #391.

9781476733500_d13c4The Gene: An Intimate History, Siddhartha Mukherjee (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Mukherjee’s book has a “special focus on huge ethical questions that the latest and greatest genome technologies provoke. Mukherjee wrote this book for a lay audience, because he knows that the new genome technologies are at the cusp of affecting us all in profound ways.”

Another Top 100, at #75, the book moved up from #325.

9780465027668The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age, Archie Brown (Perseus/PGW/Legato/Basic Books; OverDrive Sample).

Gates says that the “fierce election battle” prompted him to read this and that he learned that “the leaders who make the biggest contributions to history and humanity generally are not the ones we perceive to be ‘strong leaders.’ Instead, they tend to be the ones who collaborate, delegate, and negotiate—and recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers.”

The leap here was the most impressive Amazon jump of all, going from #240,893 to #390.

9781608196104_b6abaThe Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, Gretchen Bakke, Ph.D. (Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA).

Calling it one of his favorite genres, “Books About Mundane Stuff That Are Actually Fascinating,” Gates says the book will “convince you that the electrical grid is one of the greatest engineering wonders of the modern world. I think you would also come to see why modernizing the grid is so complex and so critical for building our clean-energy future.”

This lesser known title did very well too, moving from #25,051 to #222.

As he did for his summer choices, Gates offers an narrated, animated overview of his picks:

2 Responses to “Bill Gates’s Faves”

  1. Joy Jones Says:

    How about being happy over the people who are reading instead of getting your sly digs into people that you think aren’t? Let’s keep this web page about books and movies and libraries, etc.

  2. Lori Fultz Says:

    Joy, I could not agree more!