Executive Insights

Bill Gates just released his 5-book reading list for the summer — here's what's on it

Business Insider US
Bill Gates.
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  • Bill Gates has released his annual (northern hemisphere) summer reading list.
  • The five books tackle matters like gender equality, political polarisation, and more.
  • Here are the books Gates enjoyed and recommends others read too.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

For the northern hemisphere, summer's around the corner again, and Bill Gates has named the books he recommends people read during the season.

On Monday, Gates announced his 2022 summer reading list, which includes five books he enjoyed but admits do "not exactly sound like the stuff of beach reads."

"As I was putting together my list of suggested reading for the summer, I realized that the topics they cover sound pretty heavy for vacation reading," he wrote in a blog post. "There are books here about gender equality, political polarization, climate change, and the hard truth that life never goes the way young people think it will."

"But none of the five books below feel heavy," Gates continued. "Each of the writers—three novelists, a journalist, and a scientist—was able to take a meaty subject and make it compelling without sacrificing any complexity."

Here are the five books Gates wants people to pack for their northern-hemisphere summer vacations:

"The Power" by Naomi Alderman

Little, Brown and Company
Little, Brown and Company

In this speculative fiction novel, Alderman explores gender roles and gender inequality by writing about a world in which young women suddenly gain the ability to shoot deadly electrical jolts from their hands, coming to wield more power, literally and figuratively, than men.

Gates says the book was a recommendation from his daughter, Jenn.

"I gained a stronger and more visceral sense of the abuse and injustice many women experience today," he said of the novel in his blog post. "And I expanded my appreciation for the people who work on these issues in the U.S. and around the world."

"Why We're Polarized" by Ezra Klein

Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster

In this book, Klein argues that the political system in the US has became polarized around identity to dangerous effect.

"The book is fundamentally about American politics, but it's also a fascinating look at human psychology," Gates wrote.

"The Lincoln Highway" by Amor Towles

Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House

This novel, set in the 1950s, follows an 18-year-old just released from a juvenile work farm in Nebraska as his plan to take his eight-year-old brother to California to start a new life is unexpectedly thwarted by two other teenagers he met at the facility.

"Towles takes inspiration from famous hero's journeys and seems to be saying that our personal journeys are never as linear or predictable as we might hope," Gates wrote of this book.

"The Ministry for the Future" by Kim Stanley Robinson

Hachette Book Group
Hachette Book Group

This novel focuses on the climate crisis through "fictional eyewitness accounts" of how climate change will affect humanity in the near future.

"It's so complex that it's hard to summarize, but Robinson presents a stimulating and engaging story, spanning decades and continents, packed with fascinating ideas and people," Gates wrote.

"How the World Really Works" by Vaclav Smil

Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House

This book goes into depth on several fundamental forces of our modern world, including matters like energy production and globalization.

"If you want a brief but thorough education in numeric thinking about many of the fundamental forces that shape human life, this is the book to read," Gates said of this book.

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