Bill Gates recommends6 min read

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Bill Gates: Top 10 books to read

photo: OnInnnovation

One of the richest men in the world recommends novels and a couple books on business. Here is his book list.

“My Years with General Motors” by Alfred Sloan

– Bill Gates

“My Years with General Motors” was published in 1963 and straight after that it became a bestseller and one of the books to read for every businessman. Not only this is the story of one of the world´s leading company in the automobile industry, but also it can be used as a manual for future business tycoons as it contains the unique experience of a leader who led the company to the prosperity.

 “Better Angels of Our Nature” by Steven Pinker

During reddit’s AMA Bill Gates said that “Better Angels of Our Nature” is his “favorite book of the last decade”. He added that “it is long but profound look at the reduction in violence and discrimination over time”

– Bill Gates on reddit’s AMA

Pinker is a Pulitzer finalist and a professor of psychology at Harvard, so when he writes about the decline of violence, it matters. He cites Biblical references, Grimm’s fairy tales, and historical true stories about actual whipping boys meant to take lashes on behalf of royal princes. Full of statistics, and references to history and psychology, Pinker makes an argument against common sense: that our generations are more anti-violent on a moral basis than prior generations. Named a global thinker by Foreign Policy, and a top influencer by Time Magazine, his best books come highly recommended to those who need to wrestle with large concepts.

“Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street” by John Brooks

– Bill Gates

Also mentioned in Warren Buffett: Best Business Books

“Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger

– from interview to

Also mentioned in Haruki Murakami Recommends 5 Good Books To Read, Woody Allen Recommends What To Read Next

Catcher in the Rye is undoubtfully a classical work of the American literature and is very popular in “Top 10 books” lists. This novel was the peak of J.D. Salinger’s career, as after it was published, he decided to live a life of a hermit. The main character being an expelled student named Holden Caulfield, the book is a first-person story written in the accordingly stylized language. Though he is just 16, he encounters many events that tend to preclude adults. Catcher in the Rye is about a youth of 1960-s,but it is still actual today.

“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles

– from interview to

The story about two friends, Gene and Phineas, by John Knowles is an undisputed American classic. It tells us about the life of two boys studying in a boarding school in the early 1940-s. They face a number of obstacles, even have something like the WWII itself between them, making for the life of adults. It is not a very popular book to read, but quite respectable.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

– from June 13, 2000 BusinessWeek article on Gates

Also recommended by Chuck Palahniuk, mentioned in 5 Good Books To Read According To Haruki Murakami

The Great Gatsby, the crowning achievement of the literary career of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in the Jazz Age, that is, 1920s. This is the story of Jay Gatsby, very wealthy and powerful billionaire, who is in love with Daisy Buchanan. As almost every man of power, Gatsby likes to throw luxurious parties, gather the Beautiful People in his house. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of XXth century literature.

“Life Is What You Make It” by Peter Buffett

– from Bill Gates’s website

Also recommended by Bill Clinton, Jamie Dimon, mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner


Though the author bears such famous last name, Buffet, he claims that he hasn´t inherited much from his parents, concerning materialistic issues. He was gifted with a family philosophy: “Everybody must find his own way in this life”. This warm, mind broadening, and inspirational book asks every reader, what will he choose: the way of least resistance or the way greatest satisfaction? In some sense this is the life story of Peter Buffet himself.

“SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance” by Steven D. Levitt

– from Bill Gates’s website

Also recommended by Malcolm Gladwell

After publishing Freakonomics in 2005, Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner didn’t stop. Having worked a lot, unrevealling new sides of current situation in the world, they present SuperFreakonomics, a book that will twist our way of thinking once again! Can television rise crime levels? What do prostitutes and department store Santas have in common? These and many other at first sight looney questions that can arise in the head of everybody are answered by the authors. It’s not an analysis, it is a freakalysis!

“That Used to be Us” by Thomas Friedman

– from Bill Gates’s website

This book written by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, two quite famous sholars and thinkers, discusses the modern problems that are faced by the USA and the whole world itself. Those are globalization, information revolution, deficits and consumption patterns. The authors come up with several solutions so that the American nation continue to be the Force N1 in the world: collaboration and interchange. The problem is not only in the system itself, but in the minds of the Americans.

   “For the Love of Physics” by Walter Lewin

– from Bill Gates’s website

Probably, many of you have had a problem with physics in school. It was complicated, uninteresting, contained many formulas, one is similar to the other. It is time to change this situation. This marvellous book, written by MIT professor Walter Lewin, is made for your convenience. No need to bone up on formulas, everything is written in such way that you will be surprised about how could you even dislike the science. Simply thrilling.

“The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language” by Steven Pinker

Bill Gates recommends everyone this book to read

Also recommended by Charlie Munger

Language is a matter that cannot be neglected in everyday life. It is made to communicate. But few people question themselves: what is a language? How is it structurized, who made it, how come we can understand each other? Steven Pinker can answer all those questions. Using multiple examples that are easy to understand, he guides us through the mysterious world of language.

                  “The Ten Commandments for Business Failure” by Donald R. Keough

– Bill Gates

Also recommended by Warren Buffett

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