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Bill Gates
Bill Gates with the books he’s recommending for summer reading. (The Gates Notes, LLC Photo)

It’s a small pile of books that Bill Gates is lifting to show off his 2018 summer reading list. But make no mistake, some of this stuff is heavy.

In a new Gates Notes blog post, the Microsoft co-founder and busy billionaire philanthropist — who never fails to find time to read — shares the five books that he’s recommending to other dedicated readers.

“I realized that several of my choices wrestle with big questions,” Gates wrote. “What makes a genius tick? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where does humanity come from, and where are we headed?”

Despite that subject matter, Gates called the books “fun to read” and said even the longest, a biography of “Leonardo da Vinci,” goes quickly.

Check out Gates’ recommendations and snippets of what he had to say about each book. And visit his website for full reviews:

  • “Leonardo da Vinci,” by Walter Isaacson: “I’ve read a lot about Leonardo over the years, but I had never found one book that satisfactorily covered all the different facets of his life and work. … More than any other Leonardo book I’ve read, this one helps you see him as a complete human being and understand just how special he was.”
  • “Lincoln in the Bardo,” by George Saunders: “… a new perspective on America’s 16th president. Despite being a work of fiction, it offered fresh insight that made me rethink parts of his life.”
  • “Origin Story,” by David Christian: “It’s human nature to be curious about where we come from, and origin stories unite people through a common history and shared sense of purpose. But what if all of humanity shared an origin story? What would that story look like?”
  • “Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved,” by Kate Bowler: “Being curious and trying to explain the world around us is part of what makes life interesting. It’s also good for the world—scientific discoveries happen because someone insisted on solving some mystery. But … some “why” questions can’t be answered satisfactorily with facts.”
  • “Factfulness,” by Hans Rosling: “I talk about the developed and developing world all the time, but I shouldn’t. … The bulk of the book is devoted to 10 instincts that keep us from seeing the world factfully. With each one, [Rosling] offers practical advice about how to overcome our innate biases.”
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