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Bill Gates reveals his 5 favorite books he read in the past year

Posted December 3, 2018 1:4 PM
Bill Gates reveals his 5 favorite books he read in the past year

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  • As an avid reader, Bill Gates often shares his recommendations for the best titles of the year.
  • This year's list includes two books on meditation, a memoir, a cautionary Silicon Valley tale, and an exploration of autonomous weapons.
  • Gates said his 2018 recommendations are particularly gift-worthy, with a little something for everyone.

For a man that's busy eradicating malaria and redesigning the world's toilets, Bill Gates has a pretty impressive reading schedule. The Microsoft founder-turned-billionaire-philanthropist is known to read one book a week, or around 50 books a year. 

This year, he's whittled down the list to five favorites, all of which are nonfiction.

Read more: 28 books Bill Gates thinks everyone should read

Though he's made numerous recommendations in the past, Gates praised this year's titles as particularly gift-worthy. With subjects ranging from autonomous weapons to meditation, there's a little something for everyone among this year's picks.

"If you're looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family," Gates wrote on his blog, "you can't go wrong with one of these."

Here are his recommendations.

"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 to 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 the Silicon Valley.

Read more: How a $9 billion startup deceived 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 where autonomous weapons can be programmed to wipe out human targets, many anticipate a future of needless killings and civilian casualties. 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 never having stepped foot in a classroom until age 17, Westover 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 Cambridge University.

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 versus those without a higher degree.

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."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Credit: Gates Notes LLC


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