Bill Gates is renowned for his advancements in the field of technology but, in his spare time, the billionaire enjoys the reassuring tactility of books, and is an avid reader.
On around one book every week, Gates regularly posts lists and reviews of his favourite titles – and he has just revealed his pick of the 5 best books of 2016. But what made the cut?
Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight
Longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize, Shoe Dog is the memoir of Phil Knight – co-founder of Nike. Studded with lessons – about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world, Gates praised the frank approach of the book, calling it a “refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes.”
The Gene: An Intimate History, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
An essential guide to biology, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Gene is a ‘biography’ – an abstract explanation of the smallest physical and functional unit of heredity. Gates praised the “special focus on huge ethical questions that the latest and greatest genome technologies provoke.”
String Theory, by David Foster Wallace
A lifelong connoisseur of the finer points of the game, David Foster Wallace’s String Theory concerns tennis – a sport that Bill Gates has recently taken up again.
The Myth of the Strong Leader, by Archie Brown
Examining Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping and Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair amongst many others, Archie Brown’s landmark study pinpoints different types and qualities of leadership. Gates believes that the work “shows that the leaders who make the biggest contributions to history and humanity generally are not the ones we perceive to be ‘strong leaders’.
“Instead,” he continues, “they tend to be the ones who collaborate, delegate, and negotiate— and recognise that no one person can or should have all the answers.”
The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, by Gretchen Bakke
Gates, who lists “books about mundane stuff that are actually fascinating,” among his favourite things, was incredibly taken by Gretchen Bakke’s exploration of America’s electricity grid, and how it may not be designed to sustain the current rate of growth. Nevertheless, Gates commented that the book made him realise ”that the electrical grid is one of the greatest engineering wonders of the modern world.”