Bill Gates Just Said These Are Some Of His Top Five Favorite Books Of All Time

The billionaire typically releases a favorite book of the year list. But he switched it up on Monday and released some of his all-time favorites.

learn more about Gabrielle Bienasz

By Gabrielle Bienasz • Nov 21, 2022

Courtesy subject.
Bill Gates enjoying some holiday books.

You are what you read.

Bill Gates, the fifth-richest person in the world and co-founder of Microsoft, typically releases favorite book lists seasonally and annually. But on Monday, to celebrate the holidays, he wrote, Gates released a list of (some of) his five favorite books of all time, irrespective of when he read them.

"All five are books that I have recommended to my family and friends over the years," he wrote on his blog.

"I hope you find something new to read this winter," he added. Gates's book list, he said, includes a book he loved in middle school and one he said he just read (the Bono memoir).

Related: Bill Gates Just Released His 5-Book Reading List for the Summer — Here's What's On It

He gave the books categories of sorts, which are in quotes. Here's the list:

1. "Best introduction to grownup sci-fi": Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein.

Gates said that he and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen "fell in love with Heinlein when we were just kids."

The book is a 1961 science fiction classic that covers the journeys of Valentine Michael Smith from Mars and to Earth and his eventual establishment of a free-love commune on a post-third-world-war Earth. The commune has some "hippie" trends, including being pro-peace.

The billionaire and philanthropist said he enjoyed the predictive nature of the book.

"I think the best science fiction pushes your thinking about what's possible in the future, and Heinlein managed to predict the rise of hippie culture years before it emerged," Gates wrote.

2. "Best memoir by a rock star": Surrender, Bono.

Bono is the lead singer of U2, the Irish rock band, and published a memoir in November with Penguin Random House.

Even if you are not a fan of the band, "it's a super fun read about how a boy from the suburbs of Dublin grew up to become a world-famous rock star and philanthropist," he wrote.

Even though Gates says he is friends with Bono, he had not heard some of the stories in the book, he added.

3. "Best guide to leading a country": Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is a book about Lincoln's rise to the presidency published in 2005. It won a Pulitzer Prize and inspired a movie that won an academy award, Lincoln.

Kearns Goodwin is a famous presidential historian who taught a MasterClass about U.S. presidential history and leadership.

The book, "feels especially relevant now when our country is once again facing violent insurrection, difficult questions about race, and deep ideological divide," Gates wrote.

4. "Best guide to getting out of your own way": The Inner Game of Tennis, Robert Gallwey.

Gates is known for his interest in self-improvement through reading.

He says this book is a "must read" for tennis fans but that everyone can learn something from it, mainly, how your body affects your mind — i.e., the "inner game," that you play with yourself.

5. "Best book about the periodic table": Mendeleyev's Dream, Paul Strathern.

This book, generally speaking, covers how the periodic table came to be. "It's a fascinating look at how science develops and how human curiosity has evolved over the millennia," Gates wrote.

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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