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Bill Gates Thinks You Should Read These Five Books This Summer

Bill Gates has a different idea of summer reading than most people.

The founder of Microsoft and head of the Gates Foundation has announced his annual suggestion of five good summer reads. And the theme this year is hardly light-hearted.

“I’ve recently found myself drawn to books about upheaval… 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, an avid reader, writes in a blog post announcing the summer reading list.

Not included in the formal list, by the way, is The Moment of Lift, the latest book from his wife Melinda Gates, though Gates does give it a special mention saying, “I know I’m biased, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.”

Here’s what Gates is recommending this summer:

Upheaval by Jared Diamond

“The book explores how societies react during moments of crisis. … It sounds a bit depressing, but I finished the book even more optimistic about our ability to solve problems than I started,” says Gates.

9 Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George

“I’m a big fan of books that go deep on one specific topic, so Nine Pints … was right up my alley,” he writes. “It’s filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood.”

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This novel, which tells the story of a count under house arrest in Moscow is “fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat,” says Gates, who confesses he’s read every book by Dostoyevsky.

Presidents of War: The Epic Story, From 1807 to Modern Times by Michael Beschloss

Gates originally got this because of his own interest in the Vietnam war, but says the book (which spans several other conflicts) gave him a new perspective on presidential leadership.

The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties by Paul Collier

While admitting he doesn’t agree with Collier on everything, Gates says this book offers a good analysis of a current issue.

If this all seems a bit too heady for you, Gates does namecheck one more traditional work of fiction: Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Result, along with the first two books in the series.

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