Summer vacation is almost here in the northern hemisphere. Woo-hoo! You're heading to the beach. You could pack a romance novel or a lightweight spy caper. Or you could pack the five books Microsoft founder Bill Gates recommends you read. Get ready to get heavy.
Gates'. He released the latest version on his Gates Notes blog on Monday, giving you plenty of time to hit your local bookstore for some thought-provoking reading to pack with your sunscreen and bathing suit.
"I've recently found myself drawn to books about upheaval (that's even the title of the one of them) -- whether it's the Soviet Union right after the Bolshevik revolution, the United States during times of war, or a global reevaluation of our economic system," Gates wrote, saying most of these books deal with the idea of disruption.
Jared Diamond's Upheaval delves into "how nations managed existential challenges like civil war, foreign threats and general malaise" through a group of case studies. Gates acknowledged this might sound like a bummer, but said he left the book feeling optimistic about our ability to solve problems.
If you made it through all the bloodshed of Game of Thrones, then chances are good you can handle Nine Pints by Rose George. The subtitle clues you into the subject: "A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood." "It's filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood," Gates said.
A Gentleman in Moscow
Now we detour into the realm of fiction with Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow. This bestselling novel follows the rich Count Alexander Rostov who is living under house arrest in a hotel in Moscow in the 1920s. The book spans several decades. Gates called it "fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat."
Presidents of War
Michael Beschloss' Presidents of War tackles the complicated history of US presidents and the conflicts the country became involved in, including the War of 1812 and the Vietnam War. "Beschloss's broad scope lets you draw important cross-cutting lessons about presidential leadership," said Gates.
The Future of Capitalism
Gates said he doesn't agree with everything in Paul Collier's The Future of Capitalism, but that the author's "background as a development economist gives him a smart perspective on where capitalism is headed." Gates recommended this as a good analysis of the problems around capitalism today.
While these five titles make up the official summer reading list, Gates also threw in a plug for his wife Melinda Gates', a book about the women who have inspired her. "I know I'm biased, but it's one of the best books I've read so far this year," he said.
These books should keep you busy until the end of 2019 when we can expect.