Each year, Bill Gates comes out with his reading list for the year. For 2014, the prominent theme was definitely business and relationships. Here are his five choices:
1. Business Adventures by John Brooks
Gates calls this book “a neglected classic” and his all time favorite business book. It was originally loaned to him by Warren Buffet. Business Adventure is a collection of John Brooks’ 1960’s New Yorker articles that engage in different theories and strategies about the overall intimidating world of business. Intimidating or no, anyone should be able to understand what this book is trying to get across. If you’re interested in some insight into the world of business, this book is for you. It may be half a century old, but they still apply.
2. Capital In The Twenty-First Century, By Thomas Piketty
You may have heard of Piketty’s book Capital In The Twenty-First Century. It sparked a huge global discussion about income inequality. Gates doesn’t agree with everything Piketty writes, but the conclusion is that the government must work towards eradicating the inequality it has largely given legs. You should give this book a read if you’d really like to be informed about the inequality debate.
3. How Asia Works, By Joe Studwell
Asia is truly one of the most successful places for economic growth in the world. Countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Malaysia have kept expanding while many economies in North America and Europe have stalled. What are they doing that works so well? Author Joe Studwell applies his vast knowledge and experience on how Asia has managed to keep growing in his book How Asia Works. Gates finds that Studwell manages to narrow Asia’s success down to a three step plan.
- Allow for farmers to thrive.
- Use agricultural surpluses to build manufacturing based on exports.
- Nurture these two sectors with financial institutions that are closely regulated by the government.
Give this book a read if you are interested in the development of Asia and how their strategies could be applied throughout the world.
4. The Rosie Effect, By Graeme Simsion
This book is the only fictional story from his 2014 book list. In it, Simsion explores the world of marital adventures with Don Tillman, after he married his wife Rosie in the prequal to The Rosie Project. Gets thinks that it’s a funny novel that makes you think about relationships, what makes them work, and how you need to continue investing time and energy into making them better. You should give it a read if you like a good love story or comedy.
5. Make The Modern World: Materials And Dematerialization, By Vaclav Smil
Make The Modern World graces Gates’ list of must-read books nearly every year. Smil’s book focuses on the world of materials and just how much of our resources go into creating this world of ours, be it cement, plastic, metal and wood. Is there any need to worry about the rate at which we consume? Will demand decline? Can the world keep up? You should give this book a read if you’re interested in the future of the planet and our overly demanding society.
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