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5 Books That Bill Gates Thinks You Should Read

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Most popularly known as a founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is an entrepreneur of many talents. An ivy-league college dropout, Gates was confident in his idea for the software business which has now turned him into one of the richest men in the world. The businessman is also an investor, author, philanthropist, and humanitarian. In February 2014, Gates announced that he wanted to focus on charitable work at his foundation, the William H. Gates Foundation, and would be stepping down as Microsoft's chairman.

Gates has written over 10 books himself on varying topics like business, tech, personal growth, and more. He runs an online blog where he gives his followers life updates, tips, book recommendations, and improvements in tech and education. While Gates has recommended dozens of books on his personal blog and Twitter, we gathered a few to get you started.

'Educated' by Tara Westover


Gates recommended this book as one of his favorite reads of 2018. The story follows the life of the author, Tara Westover, and her experience growing up in a Mormon household and later obtaining a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Her story dives into childhood trauma and path leading to self-discovery, as well as the blatant differences between red and blue states, rural and urban areas, and college-educated citizens and those without higher degrees, in America.“ I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life…” Gates says.

‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ by Yuval Noah Harari


You might recognize the name Yuval Noah Harari. He’s the author of best-selling books Sapiens and Homo Deus. In this book, Harari explores the present and its most controversial issues. From fake news and artificial intelligence to the relevance of religion, 21 Lessons is a 21-chapter guide on how to navigate the modern world and all its constant changes.  “If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face,” says Gates.

‘Bad Blood’ by John Carreyrou


Another book recommended by Gates as one of his favorite 2018 reads, Bad Blood explores the rise and fall of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech company founded by Elizabeth Holmes. The story surrounding the scandal became so popular that it is now an HBO documentary. “This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion,” says Gates.

'The Vital Question' by Nick Lane


In 2016, Gates tweeted a video of himself talking about five books that kept him awake at night. The Vital Question was one of them. Nick Lane, a biochemist, explores the complexities of biology and the link between energy and genes. Gates is a huge fan of Lane, so there’s no surprise he would recommend this book. “He seems to be the first guy who has looked into certain weird things about the mitochondria and has all sorts of ideas about diseases that really bear looking into.”

'The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness' by Andy Puddicombe


Would this list be complete if it didn’t include a meditation book? The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness explores the importance of meditating when trying to eliminate distractions and increase focus. Similar to Gates, the book was written by a creator, Andy Puddicombe, a co-founder of Headspace app. Gates credits Puddicombe as the person who got him to “take up meditation and stick with it.”


From an article at


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