Bill Gates has many identities. He is the richest man on Earth, CEO of tech-giant Microsoft, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and more interestingly he is a reader. He says he reads around 50 books every year and every year he also recommends books for us.
2019 is going to end soon and the holiday season has already started. In this festive moment, we all look for book recommendations. No worries guys, you friendly neighborhood Bill Gates is here to help you out. In his blog, Gates Notes, he said that he read more fiction this year. Also, he is drawn to stories that let him explore another world. According to him, “I think they’re all solid choices to help wrap up your 2019 or start 2020 on a good note”. Here is the top five choices are given to us by Bill Gates.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This book tells the story of Celestial and Roy, a newlywed couple, with the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most elusive of all literary goals: The Great American Novel.
These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore
Widely hailed for its “sweeping, sobering account of the American past” (New York Times Book Review), Jill Lepore’s one-volume history of America places truth itself—a devotion to facts, proof, and evidence—at the center of the nation’s history. The American experiment rests on three ideas—“these truths,” Jefferson called them—political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. But has the nation, and democracy itself, delivered on that promise?
These Truths tells this uniquely American story, beginning in 1492, asking whether the course of events over more than five centuries has proven the nation’s truths, or belied them. To answer that question, Lepore wrestles with the state of American politics, the legacy of slavery, the persistence of inequality, and the nature of technological change. “A nation born in contradiction… will fight, forever, over the meaning of its history,” Lepore writes, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship. With these Truths, Lepore has produced a book that will shape our view of American history for decades to come.
Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities by Vaclav Smil
Growth has been both an unspoken and an explicit aim of our individual and collective striving. It governs the lives of microorganisms and galaxies; it shapes the capabilities of our extraordinarily large brains and the fortunes of our economies. Growth is manifested in annual increments of continental crust, a rising gross domestic product, a child’s growth chart, the spread of cancerous cells. In this magisterial book, Vaclav Smil offers a systematic investigation of growth in nature and society, from tiny organisms to the trajectories of empires and civilizations.
Smil takes readers from bacterial invasions through animal metabolisms to megacities and the global economy. He begins with organisms whose mature sizes range from microscopic to enormous, looking at disease-causing microbes, the cultivation of staple crops, and human growth from infancy to adulthood. He examines the growth of energy conversions and man-made objects that enable economic activities–developments that have been essential to civilization. Finally, he looks at the growth in complex systems, beginning with the growth of human populations and proceeding to the growth of cities. He considers the challenges of tracing the growth of empires and civilizations, explaining that we can chart the growth of organisms across individual and evolutionary time, but that the progress of societies and economies, not so linear, encompasses both decline and renewal. The trajectory of modern civilization, driven by competing imperatives of material growth and biospheric limits, Smil tells us, remains uncertain.
Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life by Diane Tavenner
Diane Tavenner founded the first Summit charter school in 2003, developing and perfecting a personalized, project-based curriculum that puts students in charge of their own learning. The school developed a personalized learning plan for every student. They engaged the students by engaging them in interdisciplinary, real-world projects, rather than passively learning and memorizing in a classroom environment. They created mentorship groups, where students would talk through their goals and help each other solve problems, as well as meet one on one with their mentor, weekly. By internalizing a sense of purpose, self-direction, self-sufficiency, collaboration, students learn the cognitive and life skills needed to navigate the next phases of their lives. Virtually 100% of Summit’s original 400 students went on to attend four-year colleges. In the years that followed, Summit opened 10 more charter schools in California and Washington, to similar success, and national recognition.
Today, Tavenner, and Summit Public Schools, are partnering with 400 public schools, across 40 states, and over 3500 teachers and 80,000 students, to bring the Summit Learning Program and teaching practices to school systems everywhere. With generous support from Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg’s nonprofit organization, which calls Summit “the future of education,” and over one hundred million dollars in contributions from the Gates Foundation, Summit is revolutionizing how our children are educated.
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
by Matthew Walker
Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when we don’t sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remained elusive.
Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses. Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book.