Bill Gates has finally released his summer reading list for 2021. Gates notes that this year, the theme of all his books will be inspired by the relationship between humans and nature.
The Microsoft founder notes that his thinking behind this is based on the fact that he has spent a lot of time talking about climate disasters and feels that the reading list will give insights into his thoughts.
Out of the five books Gates recommended, four are nonfiction while the last one is fiction. However, the billionaire noted that the books will answer the question “What happens when people come into conflict with the world around them.”
The first book on the list is "A Promised Land", penned by former US president Barack Obama. It was published in 2020 as a memoir of the former president. It starts early in Obama's career while he was still the United States Senator from Illinois. It covers all the highs and lows of the president’s political career, including his two terms in the White House. Gates termed the book “powerful” adding that it proved very interesting insights into great leadership.
Gates also notes that it is refreshing to see Obama being honest about his experience in the White House, including details about how he felt isolated at times despite being the most powerful man on Earth.
The Microsoft founder has also recommended “An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives," by Matt Richtel. Gates believes that this book is the perfect read for people who want to get a better understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has spread the way it has.
Although the book was published for the first time in 2019, it is still very relevant since the pandemic has hugely shaped human life. Gates says that the book will also provide great details about the human immune system and the inherent tradeoffs in its working.
The third book in Gates’ list is titled “Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric," Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann. The book provides a general account of the rise of General Electric, a company that was once revered in the US corporate industry.
Calling it a “mythic” company, Gates notes that like everybody else, he was completely shocked when GE fell apart. The book provides details about how it all went down and even though the Microsoft CEO admits that the book can be hard to read for a former CEO like him, there is so much to learn. The other book on the list is “Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future," Elizabeth Kolbert.
Gates says that this is one of those few books that tackle the relationship between people and nature in the “most straightforward way.” There are so many practical examples included as well. The final book, which happens to be the only fiction on the list, is “The Overstory,” by Richard Powers. Gates sees it as an “unusual novel” that explores the relationship between humans and trees through nine characters.