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From ‘Team of Rivals’ to Bono

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This holiday season, billionaire Bill Gates is gifting you a listing of 5 books to read when you’re hopefully having fun with some much-deserved downtime.

Gates, a voracious reader who reads not less than 50 books annually, often releases lists of the most effective books he’s read annually — alongside seasonal recommendations for holiday books and summer beach reads.

This 12 months, the 67-year-old appears to be leaning into nostalgia: Gates’ 2022 holiday reading list, published Monday on his blog, includes a combination of recent releases and a few of his favorite books of all time.

That features a Nineteen Sixties sci-fi classic that helped spark Gates’ childhood friendship with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and a book on tennis that Gates first read within the Seventies — which he says helped him eventually learn to not obsess over mistakes at work.

As a special bonus, he says a replica of every of his selections has been placed in 100 Little Free Libraries all over the world.

Listed below are the five books on Gates’ holiday reading list this 12 months:

‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ by Robert Heinlein

This 1961 sci-fi classic holds a special place in Gates’ memory.

“I met Paul [Allen] around [that] time, and we got to know one another by talking about sci-fi,” Gates wrote of his late friend and Microsoft co-founder. “I believed I had read a number of it, but Paul way outdid me.”

“Stranger in a Strange Land” — Gates’ favorite sci-fi book from his youth, he noted — is the story of a human who was raised on Mars, by Martians. The young man travels to a futuristic Earth, where he struggles to grasp human concepts of faith and war.

“I like sci-fi that pushes your serious about what’s possible in the longer term,” Gates wrote, noting that Heinlein’s book accurately predicted some points of the longer term on the time, including “hippie culture” and waterbeds.

“He also does the classic sci-fi thing of using an obviously fictional setting to ask profound questions on human nature,” Gates added.

‘Give up’ by Bono

Gates called the autobiographical book released this month by U2 frontman Bono “the most effective memoir by a rock star I actually know.”

The billionaire and the 62-year-old rocker, whose given name is Paul Hewson, have been friends for greater than a decade. They often work together on philanthropic efforts, raising awareness and funds around common areas of interest like climate change and global health.

Gates praised the book’s behind-the-scenes take a look at how U2 created “a few of their most iconic songs,” and what’s kept Bono and his bandmates close for greater than 4 a long time.

“They share the identical values. All 4 of them are captivated with fighting poverty and inequity on the planet, and so they’re also aligned on maintaining their integrity as artists,” Gates wrote.

‘Team of Rivals’ by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Gates wrote that he was “blown away” upon reading this 2005 non-fiction work by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

“Team of Rivals” is a critically acclaimed biography of Abraham Lincoln and the boys who served in his first Cabinet, several of whom had previously opposed Lincoln within the 1860 presidential election. 

The book highlights Lincoln’s ability to reconcile opposing viewpoints amongst his own advisors, and “has a number of insights about Lincoln that leaders can learn from today,” Gates wrote.

“These days I have been serious about Goodwin’s book since it feels very relevant in 2022,” he added. “There are significant parallels between the present moment and the 1860s, when the nation was coping with violent revolt, difficult questions on race, and ideological divides between states and regions.”

‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ by Timothy Gallwey

Greater than a book about methods to improve your forehand, Gallwey’s 1974 work goals to be “a guide to the mental side of peak performance.”

Gates first read the book greater than 4 a long time ago, and has since read it multiple times, he wrote — adding that he still gifts it to friends today because “its profound advice applies to many other parts of life.”

Gallwey, a tennis coach, wrote about how a player’s frame of mind could affect their performance on the court as much as their athletic ability. Gates said those insights have helped in his profession, especially specializing in constructive criticism moderately than getting hung up on mistakes.

“For many of us, it’s too easy to slide into self-criticism, which then inhibits our performance much more. We’d like to learn to learn from our mistakes without obsessing over them,” Gates wrote.

It is a lesson that Gates has previously admitted he needed to be taught, noting that in Microsoft’s early days, his high standards for himself and employees often made him an intense boss.

In 2019, Gates expressed regret over the approach: “A few of it helped us achieve success, but I’m sure a few of it was excessive.”

‘Mendeleyev’s Dream’ by Paul Strathern

In case you visit Gates’ office in Seattle, you will see a huge wall display full of samples of every entry within the periodic table of elements.

The billionaire’s interest within the period table continues with “Mendeleyev’s Dream,” a 2000 history of chemistry written by an educational named Paul Strathern.

The name comes from Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleyev, who formulated the primary version of the periodic table in 1869. It’s “the most effective book I’ve ever read on the periodic table,” Gates wrote.

“Other than being a neat piece of art, the periodic table jogs my memory of how one discovery can result in countless others,” he continued. “All of the complexity of the universe comes from the properties on that chart. Because we understand atoms, we will make chips, and subsequently we will make software, and subsequently we will make AI. The whole lot goes back to the periodic table.”

Update: This story has been corrected to reflect that “The Inner Game of Tennis” was written by Timothy Gallwey.

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