In recent years, Bill Gates has become nearly as well known for his reading recommendations as he has for his philanthropy and business acumen.
The Microsoft co-founder is a voracious reader, finishing about 50 books each year. Twice a year, the world’s fourth-richest man publishes a selection of book recommendations on his personal blog.
His taste ranges from sci-fi to self-help to business books. Indeed, Gates in the past has said that one of the best pieces of advice he could share is simply to “read a lot,” describing it as one of the best ways to find new interests and identify potential skills.
“I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to read,” he said in a 2017 interview with Time. “Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career and in the work that I do now with my foundation.”
Finishing a book a week might seem daunting. But a recent announcement from Spotify has made it easier to check out Gates’ top recommendations.
The streamer recently made more than 200,000 audiobooks on its platform free for users who pay for the $14.99 per month Premium tier. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll be able to listen to up to 15 audiobook hours per month.
Here are five books that Bill Gates has recommended over the years that can be listened to for free on Spotify.
By: Gabrielle Zevin
Length: 13 hours, 52 minutes
What Gates said: “I really related to the story—in fact, it reminded me a lot of my relationship with Paul Allen and our work together at Microsoft. Tomorrow was one of the biggest books of last year, and it’s easy to see why. Zevin is a great writer who makes you care deeply about her characters.”
By: Kazuo Ishiguro
Length: 10 hours, 16 minutes
What Gates said: “This book made me think about what life with super intelligent robots might look like—and whether we’ll treat these kinds of machines as pieces of technology or as something more.”
By: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Length: 41 hours, 32 minutes
What Gates said: “I can’t read enough about Abraham Lincoln, and this is one of the best books on the subject … Goodwin is one of America’s best biographers, and ‘Team of Rivals’ is arguably her masterpiece.”
By: David Epstein
Length: 10 hours, 46 minutes
What Gates said: “I think his ideas even help explain some of Microsoft’s success, because we hired people who had real breadth within their field and across domains. If you’re a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you.”
By: Matthew Walker
Length: 13 hours, 51 minutes
What Gates said: “Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is important—but what exactly counts as a good night’s sleep? And how do you make one happen?
“Walker has persuaded me to change my bedtime habits to up my chances. If your New Year’s resolution is to be healthier in 2020, his advice is a good place to start.”
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