If you’re like Bill Gates, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, Mr Gates think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. He usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present & this year’s selections are highly giftable.
Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. She’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on his own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and Bill loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.
Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.
Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than Mr Gates expected, and he found unable to put it down once he started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. Mr Gates has been a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.