The adage “You should never trust a man who doesn’t read” refuses to age. Regardless of when it was coined or by whom, the phrase continues to be uttered in friendship circles, workplaces, and across numerous dating profiles. And while intellectual snobbery is never an attractive trait, reading often and widely is because it stimulates the brain and opens the mind to new perspectives, ideas, and knowledge. And if there were ever someone whose book recommendations you could trust, it’s Bill Gates.
In the past, Gates has confessed to reading 50 books a year which, when you take into account his schedule of being the world’s most influential software developer and philanthropist, is an astonishing feat. It’s not unexpected though, and given the fact that Gates has an insatiable curiosity, it’s not surprising that this would be reflected in his reading choices which he shared in a recent post on his blog.
The post details Gates’ top five favourite books of 2019, addressing everything from charter schools to American history. One of the books on the list is Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dream.” As Gates said via Twitter, “Back in my early Microsoft days, I routinely pulled all-nighters when we had to deliver a piece of software. I even stayed up two nights in a row on occasion – I don’t recommend that.”
While the rest of us might not be able to relate to working for one of the biggest software companies in the world, all-nighters were almost a staple of University life and something we did at whim, barely blinking an eyelid at the consequences of an irresponsible sleep schedule. But now that we’re older and our bodies don’t recover quite as quickly as they did in the past, it’s certainly something to work on and this book might just contain all the answers.
So, if The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck has collected enough dust on your bedside table, it might be worthwhile giving these recommendations a go. After all, when the source of information is Bill Gates himself, it’s worth listening to. Here are his favourite books of 2019.
“An American Marriage,” by Tayari Jones
“Jones is such a good writer that you can’t help but empathise with Roy and Celestial. Both have been put into a super-difficult position. I obviously haven’t experienced what they go through, but the characters – and their reactions to the situation – ring true to me.”
“These Truths,” by Jill Lepore
“While many good history books provide perspective beyond those of the traditional “great men” of history, Lepore’s book makes diverse points of view central to the narrative. She shows you all the ironies and contradictions in American history.”
“Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities,” by Vaclav Smil
“Even if you don’t like math, don’t let [the first chapter] scare you off, because it makes a really important point: It destroys the idea that you can take an early growth curve for a particular development – the uptake of the smartphone, for example – and use it as the basis for predicting the future.”
“Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life,” by Diane Tavenner
“Diane shares the story of how she designed a new kind of charter school with a simple but very ambitious goal: ‘We wanted to teach kids not just what they needed to get into college, but what they needed to live a good life.”
“Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dream,” by Matthew Walker
“I read a couple of great books this year about human behaviour, and this was one of the most interesting and profound. Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is important – but what exactly counts as a good night’s sleep? And how do you make one happen? Walker has persuaded me to change my bedtime habits to up my chances.”