5 Great Books for the Summer Recommended by Bill Gates

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It’s time for my summer book recommendations. Here are five books I really enjoyed reading. I loved all of them and hope you'll find something you enjoy too. I hope you try these books. --Bill Gates

The list of suggested readings by Bill Gates for the summer are The Power by Naomi Alderman, Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein, The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, and How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil. There are books about climate change, gender equality, and political polarization. Although the topics they cover sound pretty heavy for vacation reading, none of the five books above feel heavy. Bill loves all five of these books and hopes you find something you'll enjoy too.

best 5 books for summer

1. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Amor Towles is one of the most brilliant storytellers, who is also the bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow. His latest book --The Lincoln Highway is a wise and widely entertaining novel. Towles takes inspiration from famous hero’s journeys, including Huckleberry Finn, The Odyssey, The Iliad, Hamlet, and Of Mice and Men.

The title of this book refers to America’s first cross-country roadway for automobiles. It tells a story which takes place over ten days in 1954, when two young brothers, Emmett and Billy, intend to drive their Studebaker from Nebraska to California. But fate, in the form of a sympathetic but volatile character named Duchess, forces them to travel in the opposite direction before they can have a chance to start fresh in the West.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

2. Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein

Why We're Polarized is a 2020 non-fiction book by journalist Ezra Klein, in which the author analyzes political polarization in the United States. Klein explains how and why American politics polarized around identity, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. This book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the President to the politicization of everyday culture.

Why We’re Polarized is more of a fascinating book about human psychology, which can help readers understand modern politics better. It makes it clear that group identity can overrule any argument for or against an issue. If you want to bridge the gap, it’s more productive to appeal to someone’s identity than to their logic. This is especially true for political issues.

why are we polarized

3. The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Ministry for the Future is a scary but hopeful novel about climate change by American science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson. The novel presents the urgency of this historic heat wave crisis in an original way and leaves readers with hope that we can do something about it. It does a better job than any other book, in a dramatic but realistic way, how high temperatures can literally kill people.

The Ministry for the Future is a great read. Robinson presents a stimulating and engaging story, spanning decades and continents, packed with fascinating ideas and people.

the ministry for the future

4. How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil

Vaclav Smil is a brilliant and knowledgeable author. He is so good at explaining how the world’s energy systems work today. How The World Really Work is his new masterpiece. This novel sums up all of the incredible knowledge Vaclav has gained over the years. All Vaclav wants is for people to look at all the areas of emissions—producing electricity, manufacturing, transportation, and so on—and propose realistic, economically viable plans for reducing emissions.

You can get the most important ideas by reading the first three chapters of How the World Really Works. They should be required reading for anyone who wants to have an informed opinion on climate change.

how the world really works

5. The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power is a 2016 science fiction novel by the British writer Naomi Alderman. This novel flips the roles of men and women, making readers think about gender roles in a new way. It tells a story of women developing the ability to emit electricity from their hands, thus leading them to become the dominant sex. What would the world be like, Alderman asks, if all the women on Earth suddenly developed the ability to emit massive electric shocks? She takes this single idea and explores how it changes the dynamic between men and women. In doing so, she reveals a lot about how power and gender work today.

The word power in the title has multiple meanings. This novel raises timely questions about gender dynamics. Are people more connected by gender than by family, community, or country? And can power corrupt anyone, regardless of gender?

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Bonus Tips

All the above books can be purchased from Amazon.com, including ebooks and Audiobooks. If you need to back up your Kindle books, you can follow this step-by-step guide to remove Kindle DRM for details.

remove kindle drm

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