This is what Bill Gates thinks you should read this summer

The billionaire said he was recently drawn to books about “upheaval” whether it’s about the US during times of war or the current economic system.

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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates released his annual summer reading list Monday, warning his audience it’s not going to be all light reading this year.

“None of them are what most people think of as a light read,” Gates said in a post on GatesNotes.


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If you’re looking for something with a little more diversity, Ladders recently compiled a reading list for Memorial Day Weekend but if you want something different, Gates said he was recently drawn to books about “upheaval” whether it’s about the U.S. during times of war or the current economic system. He also plugged his wife, Melinda’s, new book “The Moment of Lift.”

These are the five books on Gates’ summer reading list.

Upheaval by Jared Diamond

Gates admitted he’s a fan of the Pulitzer Prize winner and described Upheaval as a book that “explores how societies react during moments of crisis.” While Gates admitted it sounds bleak, he came away more optimistic about how we solve problems which Diamond displays through examples of how nations have dealt through civil war and foreign threats.

Nine Pints by Rose George

While Nine Pints breaks away from Gates’ upheaval theme, it also touches upon a subject not for everyone: blood. Gates gives a PSA warning on his blog but said he was attracted to it due to the author, Rose George’s, connection with the subject (she has premenstrual dysphoric disorder).”It’s filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood,” Gates writes.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Published in 2016, Gates is behind the pack with Towles’ bestseller and soon to be major television series. The premise: a court sentences a man to serve a life sentence in a Moscow hotel. Gates said it’s an “amazing story” that is “fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat.”

Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss

Gates’ interest in the Vietnam War is what made him pick up Beschloss’ latest book, which explores how presidents fared during major eight major conflicts starting with James Madison and the War of 1812. He said he came away more knowledgeable about pieces of American history that he hadn’t been aware of at first.

The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier

Collier draws upon the internal fabric struggle between the United States and other nations: the divide between city and towns, educated vs. less educated and wealthy vs. developing countries. Through these three examples, he tries to draw an example for a better capitalism.

Writes Gates: “Although I don’t agree with him about everything — I think his analysis of the problem is better than his proposed solutions — his background as a development economist gives him a smart perspective on where capitalism is headed.”


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Kyle Schnitzer|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at kschnitzer@theladders.com.