Eight Books Bill Gates Is Reading This Summer

Much like last year, the 2013 edition of Bill Gates summer reading list is full of interesting non-fiction.

1. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

Gates writes: “It’s crazy that I haven’t read this one yet. Diamond’s best-known book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, had a profound effect on the way I think about history and why certain societies advance faster than others. In this new book, he draws on his personal experiences with cultures in the Pacific Islands to talk about what traditional societies can teach us about child rearing, dispute resolution, and other areas. Even if I disagree with some of what he says, I know it will be interesting and well worth the read.”

2. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

3. However Long the Night: Molly Melching’s Journey to Help Millions of African Women and Girls

Gates comments: “Molly Melching started a group called Tostan, which initially set out to end the practice of female genital cutting. Today they have expanded to many different areas, all related to expanding opportunities for women and girls in Africa. I’m sure it will be an enlightening read.”

4. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Tough argues that non-cognitive qualities like perseverance and optimism are what make kids successful.

5. Japan’s Dietary Transition and Its Impacts (Food, Health, and the Environment) and 6. Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

Commenting, Gates says, “If you’re been reading this site for long, you know that Smil is one of my favorite authors. The term “polymath” was made for people like him. He writes thoughtful, thorough books on energy, innovation, agriculture, history, diet, and a lot more. I’m trying to read everything he writes, but he publishes so quickly that I can’t keep up. While his style can be a little dry and isn’t for everyone, I learn more by reading Vaclav Smil than just about anyone else.”

7. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

I learned a lot about different forms of discrimination that affect people’s performance but are very hard to detect. It helped me understand why even some very intelligent people don’t do as well as you might expect when they get to college. It also breaks down a lot of myths, like the idea that minorities will prosper if we can just do away with discrimination in hiring. Discrimination has a lot of layers that make it tough for minorities to get a leg up.

8. Patriot and Assassin

A friend of mine gave me this novel and insisted that I read it.

Over to you

Have you read any of these? What do you plan on reading this summer? Let us know in the comments.