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Many of the brightest minds in technology, entertainment, business, and philanthropy have said they owe their success to reading.
Gates and Winfrey, along with a number of other successful people, have made book recommendations over the years. For last-minute Christmas shoppers, here are some titles book-lovers are bound to love.
Bill Gates, philanthropist: ‘The Gene: An Intimate History’ by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Genome science can hardly be considered a topic of mainstream interest, but Gates says Mukherjee captures its relevance to people’s daily lives. The book seeks to answer big questions concerning our personalities and what defines us.
“Mukherjee wrote this book for a lay audience, because he knows that the new genome technologies are at the cusp of affecting us all in profound ways,” Gates wrote.
Mukherjee is what Gates calls a “quadruple threat.” He’s a practicing physician, teacher, researcher, and author.
Bill Gates: ‘Seveneves’ by Neal Stephenson
After a science-fiction dry spell of more than a decade, Gates picked up “Seveneves” on a friend’s recommendation in 2016, and he says he’s grateful for it.
“The plot gets going in the first sentence, when the moon blows up,” he wrote.
But that’s only the beginning. The world soon learns the entire species is doomed: In two years, a cataclysmic meteor shower will destroy all life on the pale blue dot. It’s up to humanity to send as many spacecraft into orbit as possible with the hope of escaping the apocalypse.
“You might lose patience with all the information you’ll get about space flight,” Gates wrote, “but I loved the technical details.”
Bill Gates: ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari
We weren’t always the only species of human being on Earth. Roughly 100,000 years ago, there were actually six varieties of people, but homo sapiens were the only ones who made it to today.
“Both Melinda and I read this one,” Gates said, “and it has sparked lots of great conversations at our dinner table. Harari takes on a daunting challenge: to tell the entire history of the human race in just 400 pages.”
But Harari doesn’t dwell on the past. He looks toward a future in which genetic engineering and artificial intelligence make our definition of “human” even more fluid.
“I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species,” Gates said.