Bill Gates isn’t particularly interested in reading about the beach this summer.
The billionaire bibliophile and Microsoft co-founder is back with his latest recommended reading list, this time with five new titles for the summer season. And, as Gates admits in a post on his Gates Notes Blog Released Monday, this year’s list comes across as “pretty heavy for holiday reading.”
“There are books here about gender equality, political polarization, climate change and the hard truth that life is never what young people think it will be,” Gates, 66, writes. “It doesn’t exactly sound like the stuff from the beach readings.”
But that doesn’t mean they’re hard to read, he notes. From New York Times columnist Ezra Klein to science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, Gates writes that the authors of his latest selections are all “able to take a meaty subject and make it compelling without sacrificing complexity.”
Here is his list of five “great books for summer”:
By Naomi Alderman
Gates writes that “The powera 2016 science fiction work by British novelist Naomi Alderman, was originally recommended to her by her eldest daughter, Jennifer.
The novel’s premise imagines a scenario where women all over the world suddenly develop the ability to emit deadly electric shocks from their hands, causing women to become the dominant sex and form a matriarchy. The book, which tackles issues of gender equality and gender roles, garnered critical acclaim when it was published, including from The New York Times and former president Barack Obama.
“Reading ‘The Power,’ I gained a stronger, more visceral sense of the abuse and injustice so many women experience today,” Gates writes. “And it broadened my appreciation for the people working on these issues in the US and around the world.”
‘Why are we polarized’
By Ezra Klein
Gates tries to remain “generally optimistic” about the future, he writes, but political polarization in the US it is “the only thing that clouds my perspective.” That same theme is the theme of “Why are we polarized?”, written by Klein, political analyst and co-founder of Vox.
Klein’s book approaches America’s political divisions from a psychological perspective, arguing that the groups with which people identify themselves, including political parties, play an outsized role in how they make decisions and view the world. world.
“If you want to understand what’s going on with politics in the United States right now, this is the book to pick up,” writes Gates.
‘The Lincoln Highway: A Novel’
By Amor Towles
American novelist Amor Towles is fast becoming a staple on Gates’ reading lists: the billionaire included Towles’ bestseller “A Gentleman in Moscow” on his summer 2019 list, and now writes that he enjoyed “lincoln highway“Almost as.
Published last year, Towles’ latest work is an adventure novel set in 1954. It’s the story of a teenager’s cross-country trip with his younger brother, which is sidetracked by a couple of tags from the protagonist’s story in a construction site. farm for juvenile delinquents.
“Towles draws inspiration from the journeys of famous heroes and seems to be saying that our personal journeys are never as linear or predictable as we might hope,” Gates writes.
‘The Ministry for the Future’
By Kim Stanley Robinson
“The Ministry for the Futureis a science fiction novel, or cli-fi, short for “climate fiction”, published in 2020. It is set in the near future and follows a fictional global organization spearheading various efforts to combat climate change.
Gates himself is an outspoken climate change activist who last year wrote his own book outlining possible solutions to climate change. In particular, he writes that Robinson’s novel offers “many intriguing insights” as he effectively explains the science behind climate change and works toward “a surprisingly hopeful ending.”
‘How the world really works: the science behind how we got here and where we’re going’
By Vaclac Smil
Gates does not hold back his praise for “how the world really workscalling it “another masterpiece by one of my favorite authors”.
The book is the latest work by Vaclav Smil, a Czech-Canadian professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Manitoba. In 2017, Gates wrote that she had read every published book by Smil, then 37, on topics ranging from clean energy to manufacturing to agriculture. Gates intended to “look forward to the new Smil books the way some people look forward to the next Star Wars movie,” he wrote.
Today, Gates writes that most of Smil’s books read like textbooks, but “this one is written for a general audience and gives an overview of the main areas of his expertise.” He covers how energy has shaped the history of civilization, from agricultural societies to our modern industrial age.
Smil has “processed all the numbers” to provide “a brief but comprehensive education in number thinking about many of the fundamental forces that shape human life,” Gates writes.
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