Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, lists his five all-time favourite novels.

Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land is the first novel on the list. According to Gates, this novel is the best introduction to adult science fiction. He gave the following reasons for liking this title:

“Paul Allen and I first fell in love with Heinlein when we were young, and this book continues to be one of my all-time favourite works of science fiction. It depicts the tale of a young man who, after spending his formative years on Mars, returns to Earth and founds a brand-new religion. Heinlein was able to foresee the rise of hippie culture years before it did, and I believe the best science fiction challenges your ideas about what the future may hold.

The next song on his list is Bono’s Surrender. One of the more recent books on the list, according to him, this one is the best rock star memoir. More specifically, Gates writes:

The most recent book on my list that I’ve read is this one, which came out this month. There’s a strong probability that if you’re a fan of U2, you’ve already made plans to go see it. Even if you’re not, reading about how a Dublin suburbia youngster grew up to become a famous rock star and philanthropist is a lot of fun. Although I’m fortunate enough to call Bono a friend, many of the tales he shares in Surrender are brand-new to me.

The next book is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which Gates calls the best manual for managing a nation. He stated:

“This is one of the best books on Abraham Lincoln, a subject I read about all the time. It seems especially pertinent at this time, when our nation is once again dealing with violent revolt, challenging racial issues, and significant ideological gaps. Team of Rivals, probably Goodwin’s best work, is one of America’s best biographies.

The best book Gates has read on getting out of your own way is the fourth book on the list. Robert Gallwey wrote a book titled The Inner Game of Tennis. He explained why he enjoys this novel as follows:

“Anyone who plays tennis should read this 1974 book, but I believe even those who have never played can benefit from it. According to Gallwey, your mental health is just as vital as your physical health, if not more so. He provides fantastic guidance on how to learn from mistakes and, over the years, I’ve tried to abide by it both on and off the court.

The co-founder of Microsoft claims that the last book on the list is the greatest one about the periodic table. According to Gates, Mendeleyev’s Dream by Paul Strathern is as follows:

The periodic table was reputedly revealed to the Russian scientist Dimitri Mendeleyev in a dream, and the history of chemistry is full of eccentric figures like him. In Strathern’s work, that history is traced all the way back to its inception in classical Greece. It’s an interesting look at how science progresses and how human curiosity has changed throughout the ages.

One of these books might be the gift you’re looking for if you still need to buy Christmas presents for friends, family, or even yourself. Here, Gates has chosen a wide range of subjects, so hopefully you can find something worthwhile to give or read for yourself.

Christopher Woodill

About ME

Enterprise technology leader for the past 15+ years…certified PMP, Six Sigma Black Belt and TOGAF Enterprise Architect. I collaborate with companies to help align their strategic objectives with concrete implementable technology strategies. I am Vice President, Enterprise Solutions for Klick Health.

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