If you could ask anyone in the world to recommend books about technology, who would you ask? If your answer is “Bill Gates,” as it likely is, we have just the list for you. The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist shared 10 books that shaped how he thinks about technology on Likewise. You can view, follow, and comment on the list here. For more on the books that get the Bill Gates seal of approval, read on.
- Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark: This authoritative book by an M.I.T. scientist is an optimistic look at A.I. The progressive vision in the book is in tune with Bill Gates’s worldview, but even A.I. skeptic Elon Musk says this book is worth reading.
- Should we Eat Meat? by Vaclav Smil: Again, this is a positive, progressive take on meat-eating, culminating in a vision of rational consumption where negative environmental and health impacts are reduced and animals are treated more humanely, as technological innovations enable more widespread consumption of alternative sources of protein.
- I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong: In this inner-world tour of the microbiome, Ed Yong humorously and informatively explains how bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people. Sounds apocalyptic, but really this knowledge can only empower us.
- The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee: This history of cancer has won the Pullitzer Prize and has been adapted into a Ken Burns documentary. The subject may seem grim, but the book brings hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer. Plus, it reads like a thriller.
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo: A theme emerges in Bill Gates’s reading list: science illuminated through riveting narrative. In this case, Katherine Boo’s multi-award-winning book tackles social science through a study of a Mumbai community at a time of rapid globalization.
- Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari: This book by the author of ‘Sapiens,’ one of Likewise’s top books of 2018, asks the enormous questions of who we are and where we go from here.
- Enlightenment NOW by Steven Pinker: In which the author shows through science that health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge and happiness are on the rise worldwide. The Five Stairsteps were right: things’ll get brighter.
- Sustainable Energy by David J. C. MacKay: If you have questions about nuclear energy, fossil fuels, or energy consumption and whether we can reduce it, this is the book for you!
- Energy Myths and Realities by Vaclav Smil: This is a mythbusting book, designed to dispel the clouds of obfuscation and rumor that impede progress when it comes to finding energy solutions.
- The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen: Rosen talks about the connections between intellectual property and the industrial revolution in a book that’s as entertaining as it is carefully scholarly.
For recommendations from Warren Buffett (via Bill Gates), check out this post.