Bill Gates has recommended four titles to read after this tumultuous 2020.
The Microsoft co-founder and literacy advocate suggested the books for anyone struggling to find something meaningful to read, during an interview with Lloyd Minor, the dean of medicine at Stanford University.
2020 has been a year of a viral pandemic, social unrest, and an increase in right wing conspiracy theories and anti-science rhetoric so it feels like we could do with some title recommendations from a man who cares deeply about people and science.
The death of George Floyd sparked further protests and ignited worldwide Black Lives Matter marches.
“There’s a lot of books about racial injustice that I probably should have read more of in the past.”
Gates explained that The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is a book he and others maybe should have read a lot earlier. “[It’s about] thinking about how other people perceive the justice system.”
In an attempt to fight anti-science rhetoric, this book is recommended by Gates who holds life-changing treatments to society in high regard. The book explains how cystic fibrosis was discovered and treatments were developed, through stories of patients, doctors and humanitarians.
Gates called this non-fiction title “a great example of where brilliant researchers at the academic level, a company [and] donors came together to achieve something that it wasn’t even clear could be done.”
“To take on a disease like that, it’s very inspiring. There’s a lot of great stories in that.” said Gates.
Gates also recommends The Splendid and the Vile, a book about Winston Churchill during World War II and tells the story of the Blitz.
The relevance to today is pretty clear. The book shows “a leader who was under a lot of pressure and doubt with things,” Gates explained to the interviewer. “Even though we can get obsessed about political stuff, stepping back and reading thoughtful books is very helpful.”
Columnist and television host Fareed Zakaria’s book about the world-changing effect of Covid-19 pandemic is also recommended by Gates. “It’s a very promising title,” he said.
In it, Zakaria’s “lessons” show governments and people what we should have learnt from this year’s pandemic and use it in the future like: “people should listen to experts” and “inequality will get worse.”