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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 November 15, 2019

                      How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                      How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                      Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                      However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                      Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                      Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                      Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

                      What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                      To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                      The Biology

                      Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

                      Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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                      The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                      A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                      Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                      So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                      Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                      Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                      Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

                      Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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                      The Psychology

                      Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                      Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                      Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                      Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                      What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                      Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                      Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                      1. Identify Your Habits

                      As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

                      2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                      Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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                      It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                      3. Apply Logic

                      You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                      Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                      4. Choose an Alternative

                      As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                      Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                      5. Remove Triggers

                      Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                      Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

                      6. Visualize Change

                      Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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                      For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                      7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                      Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                      Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                      Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                      More About Changing Habits

                      Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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