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10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Expand your brain and fill it with new information

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Take a stroll in Bill Gates’ personal library.

Coming from one of the world’s richest people, the following books will offer you genuine knowledge about our world. They will help you draw lessons from history, have a realistic view of the present, and create curiosity for the future.

Here is the list for your next book shopping cart.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Is a zero-carbon world attainable?

Smil explores the role of fossil fuels in the development of civilization.

He rightfully states the following:

“…those who chart their preferred paths to a zero-carbon future owe us realistic explanations…”

Anyone can make lofty promises or show greener pastures. The practical change lies in having a realistic view.

The author distinguishes between realistic views and emotional ones. He labels them the ‘science of global warming’ vs the ‘religion of climate change’.

Along with climate change, he also focuses on the globalization of the world. He explores the effect of globalization on the world economy.

“Too many countries now rely on food imports, and self-sufficiency in all raw materials is impossible even for the largest countries because no country possesses sufficient reserves of all minerals needed by its economy.”

We view the world from the perspectives of climate change activists who glue themselves to the road. In reality, a world powered by carbon is our need.

You can’t make changes when you deny reality.

I think this book is an important read for resetting our view of the world.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

A glimpse into the future.

Using lessons from the past, Noah Harari helps us look towards the future of humankind.

The author tells us about the three threats humans have been trying to defeat since the dawn of time. Famine, disease, and war.

Food production has increased massively and diseases are at an all-time low. Harari analyzes that the advent of nuclear capabilities has incentivized nations not to go to war.

“…conducting groundbreaking lab experiments is more interesting than receiving praise and prizes.”

Harari points towards the scientific advancements as well as the philosophical ones like the rise of humanism.

I agree with the author when he says:

“For religions, spirituality is a dangerous threat.”

He is a bit harsh when he goes on to blame all the ills on the belief in God. He calls it ‘the greatest threat to global law and order’. The extreme mindset in religion should always be called into question. Similarly, one cannot ignore the terror unleashed by philosophies other than religion, like communism, nationalism, etc.

Humans can take any ideology and use it for deranged actions.

As for the future, Harari predicts that just like humans are superior to animals, the advent of more intelligent beings would put us in the place of animals. He asks us to reconsider our behavior with animals.

This book will help you visualize the future of humanity while making you think deeply.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Is your brain lying to you?

Is the world becoming worse?

No, says Hans Rosling.

He provides us with data and facts to give us a birds-eye view of reality.

The book is divided into 10 chapters. The writer discusses one dramatic human instinct in each chapter that distorts reality for us.

“Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving…”

This book gives you hope and tells you about the blind spots of the human brain.

We have a strong instinct to categorize the world into two groups. Us vs them, black vs white, good vs bad.

Based on my life journey, I know this all too well. It takes critical thinking and an inquisitive mindset to overcome the distorted binary view. Once we do, we can embrace the colorful variety of this world.

“…here’s the paradox: the image of a dangerous world has never been broadcast more effectively than it is now, while the world has never been less violent and more safe.”

To be honest, I am more inclined than ever to limit my news and media consumption.

This will help me form a healthy connection with this world and its people.

This book will help you do that too.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Open your eyes before it’s too late.

Kolbert makes us wake up once again. She shows us the mirror.

What are we doing to our planet?

“We’re seeing right now that a mass extinction can be caused by human beings.”

By transporting the species across continents and acidifying the ocean water through CO2 emissions, all we are doing is causing more and more damage.

I find it interesting when the author states:

“Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever really did.”

It makes you think. We were killing animals for food. Could it be that it was part of the natural order but has gone to an extreme now?

From dying bats to the extinction of golden frogs, the author shows us the gruesome reality of the animal kingdom. Golden frogs are still alive in captivity, thanks to scientists who saw their extinction coming.

Like those scientists, Kolbert wants us to prepare for the future by making better choices.

An enlightening read. You’ll love it especially if you are a biology and marine life fan.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

The underrated power of sleep.

Have you ever felt you are going crazy when sleep-deprived?

If yes, then you were right in feeling that.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”

The author of this book is a neuroscientist. He tells everything there is to know about sleep.

Sleep is necessary for emotional regulation, heart health, and maintaining optimal sugar levels. Lack of sleep is related to a myriad of health issues.

The author tells us about the types of sleep and the importance of REM sleep.

“Inadequate sleep — even moderate reductions for just one week — disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic.”

We are not sleeping naturally. Walker contrasts our sleep to those who still live in predominantly natural environments. For example certain tribes in Kenya and the Kalahari desert.

Did you know that the brain begins to fail after 16 hours of being awake?

This book shares this and much more, making us realize the need for healthy sleep to be sane.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

A journey to the neocortex of the brain.

An AI and neuroscience expert, Jess Hawkins transports us to the neocortex of the brain. There we see our perceptions and ideas being stored.

The author puts forth a new theory of intelligence in his book called, ‘A Thousand Brains’.

He tells us about object models and reference frames. An object can be anything, a cup, an idea, etc. Model is how the brain divides and stores it in the neocortex.

I think what Hawkin refers to as ‘cortical columns’ are a bit like storage shelves.

The reference frame is how we perceive something. In the case of coffee, we feel the temperature and the taste of the drink. We also see the color.

All these references allow us to conclude what we are seeing and tasting is in fact coffee.

Hawkins brings us back to the ground when he says:

“It is human nature — aka old brain — to suspect everyone wants to steal your idea, where the reality is that you are lucky if anyone cares about your idea at all.”

To be honest, as a serial entrepreneur, this quote made me chuckle. We are so full of ourselves.

The second part of the book discusses the future, for example, AI and space exploration.

An interesting book, which will allow you to look inside your brain.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Changing humans, the gene editing conundrum.

Isaacson tells us about the history and future of gene editing. For this, he details the life of 2020 Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna.

Doudna grew up in Hawaii and was infatuated with nature. After reading James Watson’s ‘The Double Helix’, chemistry and genetics became her passion.

“…digital coding (0100110111001…) and genetic coding (ACTGGTAGATTACA…). The flow of history is accelerated when two rivers converge.”

Later on, she met a French biologist, Emmanuelle Charpentier. Both women worked on CRISPR, which is a gene-editing technique.

Using it they provided breakthrough research for combating illnesses including Covid-19.

“Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.”

Looking towards the future, Isaacson equates genetic coding to digital coding.

He is a proponent of a world where gene editing can be explored further by scientists.

His recommendation is to do that in cohorts with humanists and ethical experts.

If genetics and biotechnology fascinate you, then this is a must-read for you.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

What’s the story of your DNA?

Mukherjee is an award-winning author of ‘The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’.

In this book, he explores the role of the genome behind human traits. For this, he gives the example of his own family and its members’ struggle with mental health.

“Normalcy is the antithesis of evolution.”

He dives into the genome mapping history in detail. From Crick and Watson to the possibility of custom-designed humans, he takes us from the past to the future.

The following quote from this book shows us Mukherjee’s wisdom and knowledge:

“If we define “beauty” as having blue eyes (and only blue eyes), then we will, indeed, find a “gene for beauty.” If we define “intelligence” as the performance on only one kind of test, then we will, indeed, find a “gene for intelligence.” The genome is only a mirror for the breadth or narrowness of human imagination.”

I was taken aback by the profoundness of his words. In a way, he is saying, our view of things gives them the meaning we want.

The author warns us of the overreliance on the role of the genome. This leads to movements like eugenics.

Our genes provide us with a lot of information for human experience. Still, we cannot reduce human experience to them only.

A beautiful book that will slide you down the double Helix of the DNA.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

The superiority of empirical data.

I hate memorizing numerical facts. I often forget important numbers like birthday dates


I like reading about the insight numerical data provides us about our world.

Our brains entice us to choose emotional and biased reasoning. On the contrary, data helps us have a more empirical and rational view.

This book provides us with exactly that.

The author is right in stating that:

“Numbers may not lie, but individual perceptions of them differ.”

Two scientists will arrive at two different conclusions using the same data sets. Perhaps that says more for the elasticity of human imagination and mind rather than the unreliability of numbers.

The book is filled with interesting facts like how milk consumption leads to taller heights.

I guess my parents were right.

Similarly, the impact of vaccinations is profound.

“For every dollar invested in vaccination, $16 is expected to be saved in healthcare costs and the lost wages and lost productivity caused by illness and death.”

The author calls into question the validity of GDP for measuring a country’s economic success.

This is an interesting book that will leave you with far more realizations than you can imagine.

Perhaps, it will make you drink milk too.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Bill Gates — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Lessons from those who never gave up.

Edith Eva Eger is a holocaust survivor.

This book is her memoir in which she shares her story intertwined with the history of World War 2.

Eger’s story is very inspiring as you can imagine.

Most of us, reading this from the comfort of our houses cannot begin to imagine what Eger endured.

“We don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but no one can take away from you what you put in your own mind.”

This is precisely how Eger survived the evil that came her way.

She refuses to go into a victim mindset and tells us to do the same. Not in a ‘holier than thou’ way, but in a way that a loved one coaxes us out of bed.

Instead of falling for comparison and saying ‘I had it worse than you,’ she says:

“There is no hierarchy of suffering. There’s nothing that makes my pain worse or better than yours.”

This story will pull you out of your downward spiral and give you the energy to face whatever life throws at you.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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