- Daily Zen
There is more to life than your work and technology. Reading books gives you a much-needed break from all the clutter and chaos in your life. It instills a sense of joy, relaxes you, and exercise your brain. Great books do more than that – they leave a positive influence on you. They help you understand your thoughts and emotions, and make you a better think and a better human being. This is why it is important to read influential books that change our perspective in life. If you need some help in picking up a good read, you can start with 5 Great Books Bill Gates wants you to read this summer. “The following five books are simply ones that I loved, made me think in new ways, and kept me up reading long past when I should have gone to sleep,” Gates wrote in his blog post.
Seveneves is the only science novel on the list. It’s an epic disaster tale of the survival of human race in space after Earth gets wrecked by a rain of meteorites. With only 200-odd members of the human species surviving and making babies in space. It’s an enormous book where, in the third chapter you’ll be mesmerized by orbital mechanics: clever maneuvering of robots, comet cores to survive. The details are everything, the lavish descriptions of machines like city-sized orbiting habitats, giant pendulums reaching down into the Earth’s atmosphere, and sky-trains.
Jordan Ellenberg is a wizard within his field. At the age of 12, he scored full marks in his maths SATS and twice won a gold medal at the International Mathematics Olympiad. He is now a professional of mathematics at Wisconsin University, where he specialized in the number theory. How Not To Be Wrong, is a freakonomics of popular mathematics. It will initiate you into thinking the right way about analyzing numbers, situations, and more. Each chapter of the book is framed with interesting questions: Is it ever a good idea to play the lottery? What parts of a military aircraft should get the most armor?
It helps the reader navigate through potentially-complicated maths to learning the underlying mathematical principles of life.
Why two sexes and not three or four or 12? Why do we age and die?
The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life is another great read recommended for summer reading on Bill Gates books list. Author Nick Lane sets out to answer these questions by intellectually proposing ideas about life’s emergence and evolution. His predictions are completely testable and could certainly keep scientists busy for years to come.
Bill Gates said, “Lane is one of those original thinkers who makes you say: More people should know about this guy’s work.”
Among recommended Bill Gates books is The Power To Compete. It is a conversation between a father and son – late economist Ryoichi Mikitani and his son Hiroshi, the founder of the internet company Rakuten. It peeks into the future of Japan. Spanning over 200 pages, Gates said the dialogues float some interesting ideas:
“Although I don’t agree with everything in Hiroshi’s program, I think he has a number of good ideas. He talks about bringing more women into the workforce and encouraging more people to learn and use English. And I would love to see Japanese companies become more innovative—not just because it will make them more competitive, but because the whole world benefits from great ideas and technologies, whoever invents them.”
Humans being have existed for over 2.4 million years. Our own species, Homo Sapiens have existed for only 6% of that time. Sapiens by Noah Yaval Harai devotes 95% of this book to the history of Homo Sapiens. It covers all aspects – anthropology, evolution, geography, ideologies, psychology, religion, and the future of humans. Harai calls the present age, ‘The Age of Ignorance’ filled by congeries of narcissists that we humans are.
Bill Gates writes in his blog, “Other species had big brains too, but what made Homo sapiens so successful is that we are the only animals who are capable of large-scale cooperation. We know how to organize ourselves as nations, companies, and religions, giving us the power to accomplish complex tasks. Harari’s concept of a “cognitive revolution” reminded me of David Christian’s notion in Big History of “collective learning,” how the ability to share, store, and build upon information truly distinguishes us as humans and allowed us to thrive.”
There you have it, a list of 5 great books Bill Gates wants you to read.