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10 Books Recently Recommended By Bill Gates

10 Books Recently Recommended By Bill Gates

Bill gates has been called a genius and an innovator in more ways than I can count. But he wasn’t born as the superhuman he is now. And it’s not exactly an easy task becoming the world’s richest man. He had to work hard just like every other successful person, constantly learning and applying what he learned.

We all want to become successful. So why not look to whom many would call the world’s most successful person to see what resources are needed to reach our dreams? Through his personal book reviews, we see that Gates has an eclectic yet polished taste in literature, with preferences ranging from business and capitalism to poverty and healthcare.

Here are 10 books Bill Gates has recently and personally recommended, which means you should probably order them right now.

How to Lie with Statistics

    1. How to Lie with Statistics, by Darrell Huff

    What It’s About

    Statistics can be a beautiful instrument of learning for businesses and humanitarians alike, when used properly. Even though statistics inherently has checks and balances to keep representations as accurate as possible, people purposefully rephrase or misrepresent stats everyday. Huff explains how much statistics actually affect our daily lives, and how they are often used to fool, rather than inform, the reader.

    Just under 3,000 Goodreads users gave How to Lie with Statistics a rating of 3.85 out of 5.

    Why Gates Recommends It

    I picked this one up after seeing it on a Wall Street Journal list of good books for investors. It was first published in 1954, but it doesn’t feel dated (aside from a few anachronistic examples—it has been a long time since bread cost 5 cents a loaf in the United States)… It’s a timely reminder, given how often infographics show up in your Facebook and Twitter feeds these days. A great introduction to the use of statistics, and a great refresher for anyone who’s already well versed in it.

    The Rosie Effect: A Novel

      2. The Rosie Effect: A Novel, by Graeme Simsion

      What It’s About

      This sequel to The Rosie Project is about Don and Rosie, the main characters of the novel, and their story as newlyweds in the grand city of New York. Rosie announces that she’s pregnant, so Don works hard to become the master of all things obstetric. Even though he gets the knowledge side down, he bombs the emotional aspect of his wife’s pregnancy and his own fatherhood. Throughout the process he nearly loses Rosie!

      25,000 Goodreads reviewers gave this novel a 3.54 out of 5.

      Why Gates Recommends It

      If somebody asked me, “what do you think your decades of working in technology have prepared you for?” my first answer definitely wouldn’t be, “writing a best-selling novel that beautifully explores the human condition.” But Australian author Graeme Simsion has taken his extensive experience in the data modeling industry and used it to do just that.

      I was happy to learn that one of my favorite things about both books is also one of Graeme’s favorite things. Usually, when we meet people who are different from us, in whatever way, we tend to treat them as inferior, even though we say that’s not what we’re doing. We may not even consciously realize we’re doing it. But through Don Tillman, the hero of both books, Graeme casts the issue in a different light.

      Different doesn’t mean less than.

      XKCD Volume 0

        3. XKCD: Volume 0, by Randall Munroe

        What It’s About

        This is the first book to come from the popular (and rather humorous) webcomic XKCD. Though incredibly witty, and somewhat geeky, it is essentially a large collection of fan favorites.

        With a huge popularity among geeks and nerds, 4,400 of the Goodreads community gave it a 4.36 out of 5.

        Why Gates Recommends It

        This is one of two Randall Munroe books I’ve read, and it is (by design) the funnier of the pair. It’s a collection of posts from his blog XKCD, which is made up of cartoons he draws making fun of things—mostly scientists and computers, but lots of other things too. There’s one about scientists holding a press conference to reveal their discovery that life is arsenic-based. They research press conferences and find out that sometimes it’s good to serve food that’s related to the subject of the conference. The last panel is all the reporters dead on the floor because they ate arsenic. It’s that kind of humor, which not everybody loves, but I do.

        Hyperbole and a Half

          4. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh

          What It’s About

          This illustrated edition of life events and stories by Brosh brings us many humorous and insightful musings from, well, her personal life events and stories. It is a great additive to Brosh’s blog that keeps readers laughing to the point of tears from cover to cover.

          82,000 Goodreads users gave it a 4.13 out of 5.

          Why Gates Recommends It

          According to Bill, it’s “funny and smart as hell.”

          [It’s] an honest-to-goodness summer read. You will rip through it in three hours, tops. But you’ll wish it went on longer, because it’s funny and smart as hell. I must have interrupted Melinda a dozen times to read to her passages that made me laugh out loud.

          But her best stuff is the deep stuff, especially the chapters about her battles with severe depression. There is a lot of self-revelation here but no self-pity. She brings the same wit to this subject as she does to her stories about her dogs—even if it makes the reader more likely to tear up than crack up.

          Hyperbole and a Half gave me a new appreciation for what a depressed person is feeling and not feeling, and what’s helpful and not helpful.

          What If: Serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions

            5. What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe

            What It’s About

            Former NASA employee and creator of webcomic XKCD, Munroe tackles a series of impossible questions, like “What would happen if your cells stopped dividing?” or “How bad is it really to be in a pool during a thunderstorm?” or “How high would you need to drop a steak from to make sure it was cooked by the time it reached the ground?” What If? is full of entertaining nonsense (or rather, complete sense), sure to inform and captivate the reader for hours.

            24,000 Goodreads users gave it a 4.14 out of 5.

            Why Gates Recommends It

            The reason Munroe’s approach is a great way to learn about science is that he takes ideas that everybody understands in a general way and then explores what happens when you take those ideas to their limits.

            So if you’re dying to know how fast you can drive over a speed bump and still live, or how many Legos it would take to build a bridge from London to New York, or whether we could make the moon change colors by pointing every single laser pointer on Earth at it—you’re in luck. Not only do you have a place to go for the answers, but you’ll also learn about a lot of other things like ballistics, DNA, the oceans, the atmosphere, and lightning. And when to duck if the glass is half full.

            The Magic of Reality

              6. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, by Richard Dawkins

              What It’s About

              Dawkins takes the reader through, well, a magical journey of reality. So many things happen in the world that seem unreal or supernatural. Here readers learn the science behind these mysteriously captivating phenomena.

              Over 10,000 Goodreads users gave The Magic of Reality a 4.05 out of 5.

              Why Gates Recommends It

              Richard Dawkins… has a gift for making science enjoyable. I’ve read many of his books over the years, including The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. His antagonistic (and, to me, overzealous) view of religion has earned him a lot of angry critics, but I consider him to be one of the great scientific writers/explainers of all time.

              It’s an engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, from how the universe formed to what causes earthquakes. It’s also a plea for readers of all ages to approach mysteries with rigor and curiosity, rather than buying into the supernatural myths at the core of most faith traditions.

              Stress Test: Financial Crisis

                7. Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crisis, by Timothy F. Geithner

                What It’s About

                It’s a New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times bestseller. What more do you need to know? Geithner was President Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury, and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before that. As such, he gives a fascinating and enlightening account of the worst American financial crisis since the Great Depression.

                Readers learn how a group of policy-makers avoided a second great depression, but lost the support of the general public in the process. Readers also get to learn about Geithner’s life from a vantage point other than his appearance in the public eye.

                1,100 Goodreads users gave Stress Test a 3.95 out 5.

                Why Gates Recommends It

                I’ve now read four or five of these first drafts of the history of the Great Recession, and I believe Stress Test represents the biggest contribution of the bunch.

                While some chapters dive into details that only a true policy wonk could love, I found the entire book very clear and easy to read.

                Ultimately, Geithner paints a compelling human portrait of what it was like to be fighting a global financial meltdown while at the same time fighting critics inside and outside the Administration—as well as his own severe guilt over his near-total absence from his family.

                Reinventing American Health Care

                  8. Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System, by Ezekiel Emanuel

                  What It’s About

                  If you’re entering med school, this is the book for you. The title says it all! In this insider’s analysis, Emanuel takes us through a history of government regulated healthcare, and explains how the Affordable Care Act was the off-kilter medical move America needed.

                  The Goodreads community – a solid 150 of them – gave it a 4.03 out 5.

                  Why Gates Recommends It

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                  Emanuel is good about making it clear when he’s educating you about the history of health care and when he’s advocating for his ideas. He calls out a few things he disagreed with in Obamacare, like the creation of a separate health-insurance exchange for small businesses. And unlike a lot of experts, he’s willing to make predictions about how health care will change in the coming years… The facts and history that Emanuel lays out would be useful to anyone involved in the debate over health care, no matter what their point of view is.

                  Business Adventures

                    9. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street, by John Brooks

                    What It’s About

                    As a longtime contributor to the New Yorker, Brooks helps us understand the nuances of corporate life in America during the ’50s and ’60s. Though aged, it still holds as an insightfully intriguing set of tales, through which much may be gleaned.

                    1,800 of the ever-faithful Goodreads community gave it a 3.80 out of 5.

                    Why Gates Recommends It

                    Today, more than two decades after Warren [Buffett] lent it to me—and more than four decades after it was first published—Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read. John Brooks is still my favorite business writer. (And Warren, if you’re reading this, I still have your copy.)

                    Brooks’s work is a great reminder that the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven’t changed. For one thing, there’s an essential human factor in every business endeavor. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect product, production plan, and marketing pitch; you’ll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans.

                    Business Adventures is as much about the strengths and weaknesses of leaders in challenging circumstances as it is about the particulars of one business or another. In that sense, it is still relevant not despite its age but because of it. John Brooks’s work is really about human nature, which is why it has stood the test of time.

                    The Bully Pulpit

                      10. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

                      What It’s About

                      A historical piece on the Progressive Era (a mix of the Industrial Age and progressive social reform), Goodwin focuses on the relationship of political rivals Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

                      6,300 of our loyal comrades at Goodreads gave The Bully Pulpit a 4.12 out of 5.

                      Why Gates Recommends It

                      There’s [so much] fascinating material competing for space, from Roosevelt’s relationship with the press and his friendship with William Howard Taft (who was brilliant in his own right) to his efforts to fight corruption and reform the political system.

                      I’m especially interested in the central question that Goodwin raises: How does social change happen? Can it be driven by a single inspirational leader, or do other factors have to lay the groundwork first?

                      Featured photo credit: Gisela Giardino via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                      Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

                      Can I Be Creative?

                      The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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                      How Creativity Works

                      Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

                      What Really Is Creativity?

                      Creativity Needs an Intention

                      Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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                      Creativity Is a Skill

                      At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

                      Start Connecting the Dots

                      Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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