- We’ve rounded up Bill Gates’ many book recommendations in 2018.
- Over the past year, Gates gave his stamp of approval to more than 20 titles, including two books on meditation.
- In addition to science and data-driven stories, the list features popular books like Trevor Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime,” and John Green’s “Turtles All the Way Down.”
Bill Gates isn’t shy about recommending books. As an avid reader, he’s given his stamp of approval to hundreds of titles, including some unlikely beach reads.
This year alone, he’s highlighted more than 20 books that captured his attention or expanded his worldview.
In typical Gates fashion, the list features nonfiction titles about artificial intelligence and global inequality. But it also features some surprises, like two books on meditation and Trevor Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime.”
Whether you’re searching for a gift or simply want to add to your collection, here are the books Gates thinks you should read.
“Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou
Business Insider readers will no doubt be familiar with “Bad Blood.” It’s the story of Theranos, a blood-testing startup that deceived its investors, patients, and business partners into thinking its technology actually worked.
When Elizabeth Holmes founded the company at just 19 years old, it attracted huge investments and catapulted her to worldwide fame. Then The Wall Street Journal broke the story that the company was faking test results, leading to the closure of its labs and testing centers. Holmes and her former business partner, Sunny Balwani, are now facing jail time on fraud charges.
The book’s author, John Carreyrou, spoke with Business Insider earlier this year about how Theranos was able to pull off the scam.
“I think Elizabeth lost sight of the fact that her company wasn’t a computer-software company,” he said.
Gates called the story “a cautionary tale about the virtues of celebrity” and a lesson for Silicon Valley.
“Army of None” by Paul Scharre
Paul Scharre’s book, “Army of None, explores a timely and important question: Why should we put computers in charge?
In an age when autonomous weapons can be programmed to wipe out human targets, “Army of None” makes the case for combining artificial intelligence with our own judgment, so that no algorithm can make the final call on a human life.
Gates said the book filled a void in his canon.
“My first attempt to educate myself on autonomous weapons was a bust,” he wrote. “I read a book that was dry and felt really outdated. Then a few months ago I picked up ‘Army of None’ … It’s the book I had been waiting for.”
“Educated” by Tara Westover
Fans of the Netflix documentary “Wild Wild Country” will enjoy Tara Westover’s memoir, “Educated,” the story of a woman raised in a Mormon survivalist home. As a child, Westover grew up under the influence of her conspiracy-theorist father, who believed that doomsday was upon them.
Despite Westover never stepping foot in a classroom until age 17, she was able to study enough to gain admission to Brigham Young University. From there, she earned a Gates Scholarship (a fact Gates himself discovered upon reading her book), which brought her to the University of Cambridge.
Her tale is one of trauma, separation, and, ultimately, self-discovery. It also touches on the polarization in America between red and blue states, rural and urban areas, and college-educated citizens and those without higher degrees.
When Gates spoke with Westover about this subject, she had this to share: “I worry that education is becoming a stick that some people use to beat other people into submission or becoming something that people feel arrogant about,” she said. “I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing.”