Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest people in the world, has a fascinating and extremely helpful annual tradition. Being an avid reader, Gates prepares a list of a bunch of books that he recommends reading in the summer every year. Especially because the coronavirus pandemic made us all stay at home, a list of five books that can distract people from the global problems and overall stress will definitely come in handy. And it may well make our self-isolation during lockdown a bit more pleasurable.

It stands to reason that nothing beats the pleasure of reading for Bill Gates. That is why he is just on time to share his five favorites picks, hoping that they will help other readers cope with the coronavirus situation. In his blog post on Gates Notes, Gates said that a lot of conversations are now somehow related to COVID-19:

Most of my conversations and meetings these days are about COVID-19 and how we can stem the tide.

This year’s list covers a variety of books from memoirs of a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor and psychologist Dr. Edith Eva Eger to a 2004 book on the 1918 flu pandemic.

The full list of books looks like this:

1. The Choice, by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

The Choice, by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

Bill Gates’ wife Melinda recommended this New York Times bestseller to him. It is a memoir of a death camp survivor Edith Eger who is now a professional therapist.

“Her unique background gives her amazing insight, and I think many people will find comfort right now from her suggestions on how to handle difficult situations,” wrote Gates on his blog.

A more detailed review can be found here.

2. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

This one combines six interrelated stories set at different places and times, which may get confusing at times. The book was first published in 2004 and then adapted into a movie in 2012.

Gates commented, “But if you’re in the mood for a really compelling tale about the best and worst of humanity, I think you’ll find yourself as engrossed in it as I was.

A more detailed review can be found here.

3. The Ride of a Lifetime, by Bob Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime, by Bob Iger

This book is a memoir as well, and it tells us about the experience of Bob Iger as CEO of The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020.

“Whether you’re looking for business insights or just an entertaining read, I think anyone would enjoy his stories about overseeing Disney during one of the most transformative times in its history,” said Gates.

A more detailed review can be found here.

4. The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry

The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry

In this book, historian John M. tells the story of one of the deadliest outbreaks in the history of humanity, the 1918 flu pandemic.

According to Bill Gates, “Even though 1918 was a very different time from today, The Great Influenza is a good reminder that we’re still dealing with many of the same challenges.”

A more detailed review can be found here.

5. Good Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Good Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

In this 2019 book, two Nobel Prize-winning economists cover such topics as inequality, immigration, and trade from an economic point of view, as well as political divisions.

“Banerjee and Duflo won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences last year, and they’re two of the smartest economists working today. Fortunately for us, they’re also very good at making economics accessible to the average person,” comments Bill Gates.

A more detailed review can be found here.

However, people also often ask him what else Gates reads and what TV shows or movies he watches, so, in addition to the books, the man also shares some other recommendations, including other books that are worth reading and even some Netflix series. Oh, and don’t forget to play bridge.

Holiday Book Recommendations from Bill Gates | The Internet Protocol
Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, annually publishes recommendations of books that are worth reading on his blog, and this year is not an exception.

The list of other worthy books and graphic novels includes:

  • The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe
  • Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir
  • A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
  • The Rosie Trilogy, by Graeme Simsion
  • The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui
  • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened, by Allie Brosh
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe
  • XKCD: Volume 0, by Randall Munroe

There are some exciting series that Gates picked, too. They are:

  • Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, a Netflix documentary
  • A Million Little Things
  • This Is Us
  • Ozark
  • I, Claudius, a 1970s BBC series