Want to get inside the mind of one of the world’s richest men? Just take a look at his bookshelf. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has shared his summer reading list, displaying a wide variety of non-fiction titles that cover everything from life in urban slums to the economics of energy to the life of Chinese communist leader Deng Xiaoping.
“Between family trips and some other travel I’ll be doing this summer, I probably have more reading time planned than I think I’ve had for a very long time, maybe ever since I started work,” Gates writes in a blog post. “Still, I’m probably being too optimistic about what I’ll be getting to, because I’m taking a ton of books with me.”
Now, by that comment, “taking a ton of books with me,” does that mean Gates hasn’t converted to a Kindle or a Nook? Microsoft just invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook unit, but maybe the tech visionary is just waiting for the arrival of the Microsoft Surface before he drops the physical book.
His top read is The Better Angels of our Nature, a more than 700-page whopper by Harvard University professor Steven Pinker. The psychologist makes the case that things are actually much better in the world today than in years past.
“This got me thinking about how we can achieve more positive outcomes in the world today through the work of our foundation,” writes Gates in a review of the book.
Other favorites include:
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin.
Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China by Ezra Vogel
The Cost of Hope by Amanda Bennett
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella Meadows
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
And Gates — who as a kid checked out so many books from the local library that the librarians refused to give him more until he returned some — has a few other titles on the night stand that he hopes to finish this summer. Those are:
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The Man Who Stayed Behind by Amanda Bennett.
With all of these recommendations, Gates could start to compete with Oprah.