In between running one of the world’s largest charitable agencies and acting as Microsoft’s technology advisor, Bill Gates manages to find a significant chunk of time to read books, both long and short.
Now Gates — who has been labeled a voracious reader — has released a list of his favorite books of the year. Not all of them were released in 2014; some were published in past years, and one is still unreleased. All of the books, though, are standout reads, according to the billionaire techie.
Most are focused on business and the economy. While that wasn’t necessarily intentional, “that’s fitting in a year when Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ put a big spotlight on inequality,” Gates wrote on his blog.
Here are Bill’s top five picks for 2014 (with extracts from his full review of each book).
1. “Business Adventures,” by John Brooks
Brooks’ collection was published in 1969 and remains one of Gates’ favorites. He re-read it again this year, labeling it the “best business book I’ve ever read.”
2. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” by Thomas Piketty
Piketty’s novel hit the shelves in August 2013 and sparked much discussion concerning income inequality throughout this year. Gates also got to sit down with Piketty after reading the non-fiction work to discuss the topic.
3. “How Asia Works,” by Joe Studwell
Studwell’s work, which was published in May this year, addresses how countries such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China have continued to achieve high growth, and why other countries have failed to do the same.
4. “The Rosie Effect,” by Graeme Simsion
The only fiction work to make Gates’ list is a follow-up to Simsion’s “The Rosie Project.” The novel will be released on Dec. 31 this year, but Gates was able to snag an advanced copy from the author directly.
5. “Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization,” by Vaclav Smil
Smil’s books are a constant favorite of the Microsoft (MSFT) founder — one of his books makes Gates’ list almost every year. “Making the Modern World” came out late last year and explores the global use of materials, from silicon to wood, and plastic.