Advertising

10 Books Recently Recommended By Bill Gates

Advertising
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

                  Advertising

                  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

                      More by this author

                      Kenneth Burke

                      Director of Marketing

                      Mittens Holding Coffee 12 Scientific Reasons Why You Should Drink Black Coffee Every Day Man Reading Kindle 14 Books To Help You Always Reach Your Goals 8 Steps to Ensure Success With Your New Website 8 Steps to Ensure Success With Your New Website Simple Steps Hiring Your First Employee 5 Simple Steps to Hiring Your First Employee Tips Help You Rent Dream Apartment 8 Tips to Help You Rent Your Dream Apartment

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 Are You Addicted to Productivity? 2 Is Avoiding Difficult Tasks And Doing Easy Tasks First Less Productive? 3 How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data) 4 10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021 5 13 Steps to Build a Positive Habit Stacking Routine

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                      Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                      Advertising
                      Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                      “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                      Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                      “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                      Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                      Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                      “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                      This is my mantra:

                      I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                      But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                      Addiction to Productivity is Real

                      Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

                      Advertising

                      “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                      Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                      “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                      Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                      “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                      “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                      “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                      There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                      Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                      By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                      Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

                      Advertising

                      Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                      Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                      Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                      The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                      Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                      • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                      • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                      • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                      • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                      • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                      • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                      • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                      The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                      Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                      Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                      1. Set Limits

                      Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                      For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                      2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                      Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                      3. Be Vulnerable

                      By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

                      Advertising

                      4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                      Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                      Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                      There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                      5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                      Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                      That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                      6. Say Yes to Less

                      Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                      That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                      Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                      7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                      “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                      “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

                      Advertising

                      • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                      • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                      • Establish realistic goals.
                      • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                      • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                      • Hold yourself accountable.
                      • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                      • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                      8. Simplify

                      Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                      The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                      9. Learn How to Relax

                      “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                      “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                      “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                      But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                      • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                      • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                      • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                      • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                      • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                      • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                      • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                      • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                      • Visit a massage therapist.
                      • Just breathe.

                      “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                      It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                      Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

                      Advertising

                      Reference

                      Read Next