20 Books Recommended by Bill Gates – Complete Guide

Did you know that Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is also a passionate philanthropist with a voracious appetite for reading? From science to history, he loves exploring diverse topics that broaden his perspective on life and its complexities.

20 Books Recommended by Bill Gates - Complete Guide

To share the literary riches he enjoyed, Gates frequently provides book recommendations that reflect his curiosity and passion for discovery. And now, we’ve compiled a list of 20 remarkable books handpicked by Gates, taking you on a journey through captivating stories and groundbreaking insights that have shaped his intellectual journey.

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel

A Gentleman in Moscow is a captivating novel that deeply moved Gates to tears. The story follows aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov, sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to house arrest in the Grand Metropol Hotel near the Kremlin. Despite never having any experience working, Rostov must now live in an attic and work in the hotel. With its humor, memorable characters, and beautifully rendered scenes, this novel enchants readers while exploring themes of purpose and resilience.

Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities

Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities

In this comprehensive book, Vaclav Smil investigates growth in nature and society, covering organisms, empires, and civilizations. Growth is a central aspect of our lives, from microorganisms to economies.
In this book, Smil explores topics on bacterial invasions, animal metabolisms, staple crop cultivation, human development, energy conversions, and man-created objects essential for civilization. He also examines the growth of complex systems like human populations and cities, highlighting the challenges of tracing empires and civilizations’ development.

The Overstory

The Overstory: A Novel

Prepare to be mesmerized by The Overstory! This captivating novel won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction and will take you on a breathtaking journey through nine American tales of connection and conservation.

Richard Powers’ masterful storytelling showcases a parallel world of trees and forests hidden from our view. With ingenious fables spanning different eras and locations, The Overstory ignites a passion for the natural world and its preservation.

A Promised Land

A Promised Land

In the highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama takes you on a journey, recounting his incredible transformation from a young man seeking his identity to the leader of the free world.

A Promised Land offers a candid look at his political education and the pivotal moments of his historic first term in office. With intimate insights into U.S. politics and international diplomacy, Obama shares his thoughts on assembling his cabinet, navigating crises, addressing racial expectations, and balancing family life in the White House.

Breath From Salt

Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever

Bijal P. Trivedi’s Breath from Salt is a heart-wrenching yet uplifting tale of Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a once-incurable genetic lung disease. Tracing its origins back to ancient times and the groundbreaking genetic therapies that followed, this book is a thrilling journey through the history of CF – from its discovery to the unveiling of the CF gene.

What sets Breath from Salt apart is the triumphant story of how the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a biotech company joined hands to achieve revolutionary breakthroughs in drug development. Through the words of patients, physicians, families, philanthropists, and scientists, the narrative takes us on an emotional rollercoaster.

With genetics and medicine constantly evolving, Breath from Salt is not just about the past – it’s about the future. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in medicine, genetics, and the remarkable power of human collaboration.

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander is a book that exposes the U.S. criminal justice system as a modern version of racial control–even while claiming to be colorblind. This influential book has sparked criminal justice reform efforts and earned prestigious awards.

The Great Influenza

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

Dive into the gripping account of the 1918-1920 Spanish flu pandemic, which ravaged the US and beyond. With meticulous research and historical context, The Great Influenza by John M. Barry provides critical insights into modern-day epidemics. Amidst heart-wrenching stories of tragedy, it underscores the importance of public trust and leadership as pure as a newborn baby’s breath in times of crisis.

From a Kansas army camp during WWI to the far ends of the globe, the lethal virus claimed up to 100 million lives in just two years. This catastrophic event transformed the science of epidemic disease as we know it!

How the World Really Works

How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We're Going

Ready to get your mind blown? How the World Works by Vaclav Smil reveals the science and tech behind our survival and prosperity in the 21st century. With data-driven insights, Smil dissects the seven fundamental realities shaping our world today, including energy, food production, globalization, and environmental concerns. He even challenges the possibility of decarbonization by 2050.

From the environmental impact of supermarket tomatoes to hidden truths about modern society, this book is a balanced and engaging guide that’ll open your eyes to your world in a whole new way. Get ready to question everything you thought you knew about the past, present, and future!

Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun: A novel

The Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro is set in a dystopian future where children are genetically engineered for academic prowess and learn through on-screen tutors. With limited socialization, parents purchase android companions called Artificial Friends.

This novel follows Klara, an observant artificial friend, as she watches people from her store, hoping to be chosen. This thought-provoking novel examines our evolving world through the eyes of a memorable narrator and explores the fundamental question of the meaning of love.

Mendeleyev’s Dream

Mendeleyev's Dream: The Quest for the Elements

Picture falling asleep at your desk and waking up with a revolutionary idea! That’s what happened to Dmitri Mendeleyev, the Russian scientist who invented the periodic table of elements in 1869.

In Paul Strathern’s Mendeleyev’s Dream, you will follow the story of Mendeleyev’s life and discover how his dream shaped the development of chemistry as a science. From medieval alchemy to atomic splitting, Strathern intertwines the history of chemistry with Mendeleyev’s journey, making for an engaging and informative read.

The Ministry for the Future

The Ministry for the Future: A Novel

Join Mary Murphy, an Irish diplomat leading the fictional UN organization in Geneva, on a mission to combat the climate emergency in The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Through fictional eyewitness accounts, Robinson offers a glimpse into a near-future world and challenges readers to reconsider their understanding of the climate crisis and its effect on our lives. It’s no wonder “The Ministry for the Future” earned a spot among Barack Obama’s favorite books.



Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell takes us back to late 16th century England, in bustling Stratford, where life is full of emotional, artistic, and domestic challenges. In this book, we meet a renowned playwright and his wife, whose world is turned upside down by their son’s death, Hamnet, who succumbed to the bubonic plague.

As the grieving father channels his pain into a masterpiece, it’s titled with a variant of Hamnet’s name, where the father dies, and the son avenges him. O’Farrell’s powerful narrative takes us across two timelines: one beginning on the day the deadly outbreak first claimed Hamnet’s twin sister, Judith, and the other.

Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary: A Novel

In this thrilling science-based novel from the bestselling author of The Martian, lone astronaut Ryland Grace embarks on a desperate, last-chance mission to save humanity and Earth. Waking up millions of miles from home without memory, he finds himself with only two corpses for company.

As his memories gradually return, Ryland realizes he must solve an impossible scientific mystery and avert an extinction-level threat. With time running out and no other humans nearby, he faces this immense challenge alone—or so he thinks. Project Hail Mary is an interstellar adventure that takes you beyond the realms of The Martian.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land

Travel to new worlds and challenge societal norms with the classic sci-fi novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. Raised on Mars, Valentine Michael Smith arrives on Earth with unique beliefs and abilities beyond humankind. He must learn what it means to be human and introduces concepts like grokking and water-sharing, sparking a transformation that will change Earth forever.


Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story

This memoir by U2’s legendary frontman Bono is not just your typical autobiography. Chronicling 40 years of his incredible life through the band’s iconic discography, it’s a candid and poignant account of his journey from Dublin to global superstardom, complete with deep dives into his activism for AIDS and poverty.

Each of the forty chapters is named after a U2 song, bringing unmistakable energy to this musically charged memoir. Surrender is a must-read for anyone who loves rock ‘n’ roll and the fascinating lives behind the music.

Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Let’s go back to the events of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and discover the unsung hero who united the North and abolished slavery. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin dives into the heart of politics, upsetting rivals and challenging the status quo. But it’s Lincoln’s unique character and empathy that steals the show, as he brings together his opponents to create an invaluable cabinet focused on winning the Civil War and preserving the Union.

Goodwin’s masterpiece showcases Lincoln’s mastery of men, ultimately shaping one of the most significant presidencies in American history. This book is a must-read for any history buff!

The Heart

The Heart: A Novel

Get ready to experience a gut-wrenching tale of love and loss as we follow the gripping story of a heart transplant from a brain-dead teenage boy to a dying woman in Maylis de Kerangal’s The Heart.

As you journey through the characters’ emotions, you can’t help but feel their grief, hope, and tenacity in the face of life-threatening decisions. And the way de Kerangal weaves technical detail and poetic language together is simply masterful. This book is a literary gem that will captivate you until the end of the page.

The Inner Game of Tennis

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey is a game-changer that peeks into the battle between our conscious and unconscious minds. Though the focus is on tennis, its pearls of wisdom extend to any activity. Gallwey is an innovator in sports psychology who offers techniques to overcome nervousness, self-doubt, and distractions, achieve “relaxed concentration,” and hone skills.

Refreshingly insightful and engaging, this book is not just for athletes looking to ace their games but anyone looking to up their performance!

Why We’re Polarized

Why We're Polarized

The ‘Why We’re Polarized’ by Ezra Klein is about an analysis of US politics. In his book, he unmasks the structural and psychological forces behind America’s division and dysfunction and argues that identity is the primary cause of polarization in American politics.

Get ready to dive deep into the merging of partisan with racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. Klein uncovers shocking information about how this polarization emerged in the 20th century and its bone-chilling impact on political institutions, driving the system toward crisis.

The Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway: A Novel

Join the thrilling adventure of Emmett Watson on the Lincoln Highway in Amor Towles’ masterpiece! Fresh out of juvenile detention, Emmett plans to travel to California with his brother for a new beginning. But when two friends from his stint on the working farm end up in Emmett’s car, everything changes. Their journey to New York City takes unexpected turns as they face challenges and make difficult choices.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this comprehensive and complete guide offers an insightful and diverse selection of books in various interests and fields. From technology and business to history and personal development, these recommendations reflect the vast knowledge and intellectual curiosity of one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.


What does Bill Gates read every day?

Bill Gates has a penchant for non-fiction books that delve into societal, technological, and scientific issues. However, he also enjoys the occasional sci-fi read.

Who reads 50 books a year?

Bill Gates has reportedly read roughly 50 books per year, nearly one per week. He takes steps to ensure he absorbs all the material he’s read.

Who are Bill Gates’s favorite authors?

Bill Gates has praised several authors such as Steven Pinker and Vaclav Smil.

How fast did Bill Gates read?

Bill Gates’ reading speed is approximately 750 words per minute, with the ability to breeze through 150 pages in an hour.

Do billionaires read books?

Though not everyone who reads is a leader, without any doubt, every leader reads.

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Elvira Lagud