Five books Bill Gates wants you to give this Christmas, including one “25-year-old me would scoff at”

Bill Gates

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of Microsoft, speaks during an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Source: AP/Carolyn Kaster.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been recommending Christmas reads, laying out his top five books of 2018 which, this year, are “highly giftable”.

In his Gates Notes blog, the founder and billionaire said he doesn’t usually consider his end-of-year best-books list as a giving guide, but this year, “if you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these”.

Gates said the list is “pretty eclectic this year”, and he’s not wrong.

It includes Educated, the story of a young woman growing up in a Morman household. While Gates says he wouldn’t have expected to relate to the author, “Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D from Cambridge University”.

Gates also recommends Army of None by Paul Scharre, which he calls a “thought-provoking look at AI in warfare”.

A veteran who helped draft the US government’s policy on autonomous weapons, Scharre “offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare”, Gates said.

The other books on the list are 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari, a “helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face”, and Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, chronicling the rise and fall of tech corporation Theranos.

Finally, Gates recommends The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe.

While he admits “25-year-old me would scoff at this one”, he advises “if you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction”.

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