The 5 Books Bill Gates Wants You to Read This Summer

The billionaire Microsoft co-founder says these cerebral reads kept him awake at night, but 'in a good way.'

learn more about Kim Lachance Shandrow

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When it comes to his reading habits, Bill Gates is an open book. As he does every year around this time, the brainy billionaire Microsoft co-founder has once again released his summer reading list. Unsurprisingly, it's comprised of challenging intellectual volumes -- no easy, breezy reads for the beach.

Think nerdcore science and math. Then think harder about mitochondria and the meaning of life. Gates says he did while poring over the books on his list, usually late at night.

"The following five books are simply ones that I loved, made me think in new ways, and kept me up reading long past when I should have gone to sleep," he writes in a new post on his blog, The Gates Notes.

Here are the five books that made the cut for Gates's summer 2016 reading list:

1. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

Why he recommends it: "The plot gets going in the first sentence, when the moon blows up. People figure out that in two years a cataclysmic meteor shower will wipe out all life on Earth, so the world unites on a plan to keep humanity going by launching as many spacecraft as possible into orbit … Seveneves inspired me to rekindle my sci-fi habit."

2. How Not to be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg

Why he recommends it: "This book has tons of good stuff in it for non-mathematicians. [Ellenberg] updates you about the world of math, what advancements have taken place. His enthusiasm comes across."

3. The Vital Question, by Nick Lane

Why he recommends it: "[Lane] argues that we can only understand how life began, and how living things got so complex, by understanding how energy works. It's not just theoretical; mitochondria (the power plants in our cells) could play a role in fighting cancer and malnutrition."

4. The Power to Compete, by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani

Why he recommends it: "To me, Japan's fascinating. In the 1980s and '90s, the Japanese were just turning out engineering and doing great stuff. How did they lose their way? Why haven't these companies not been more innovative?"

5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Noah Yuval Harari

Why he recommends it: "There's a lot of things about early human history that a lot of people haven't been exposed to and [Harari] is good and succinct on that. He goes off in many directions, like "Are we happier than we've ever been?' and a lot about robots. It's got the broad framework. It's a great book."

For more book recommendations from Mr. Gates, check out his blog's packed book section, which dates back to 2010.

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change
Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.

Marketing

6 Ways to Wring All the Value from Your Earned Media Coverage

Press coverage can help your brand gain visibility and increase credibility — but not if no one sees it. What can you do to get more value from the media placements you've worked so hard to earn?

Living

Invest in Yourself: 10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

When striving for success, it is easy to forget about your mental and physical health. But without health, you cannot fully succeed. Follow these ten lifestyle strategies for success in your personal and professional life.

Business News

Out With the Kibble and In With the Steak. The World's Richest Dog Has a Net Worth of $400 Million – And a New Netflix Docuseries Too

'Gunther's Millions' is set to unpack the pooch's mysterious fortune and what those around him have done with his inheritance.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.