In the spring of 2016 Bill released a list of five books that he recommended every smart person to read over the summer. I've been slowly reading through the list. At first it might appear that Bill has assembled a random collection of books. But, there's a theme - thinking big thoughts and working through big questions, which makes this list all the more worthy of reading because if you're not stretching your mind, you're shrinking.
by Neal Stephenson
Here is a broad, epic science fiction novel that deals with the mechanics, economy, psychology, and evolution of rebuilding humanity after a catastrophe that destroys the planet. That's a spoiler becasue the first line of the book is,
"The moon blew up with no warning and no apparent reason."
I had a blast reading this book and I've lent my copy to 3 people already. The fact that the title is a palindrome makes all the more cooler.
What's more is that the team behind Apollo 13 movie (director - Ron Howard, screenwriter - Bill Broyles, and producer - Bill Grazer) is bring the book to the big screen. I'm already in in line for the IMAX opening.
by Jordan Ellenberg
Remember in math class when the teacher said that you should learn math because it will teach you how to think clearly? Well, this book walks through how math principles apply to the real world and how you can discern what's true and what's a scam (or at least wrong thinking). and, Jordan does it while weaving stories that make a math book a page turner. Fascinating. I'm thinking of making a PPT deck of the lessons - they're that good.
by Nick Lane
This book takes Bill Gates' list of five book into the realm of hard science and asks hard questions. It begins by challenging the assumptions of evolution with the problem of DNA differences between bacteria and all other complex life. And, Nick explains it in plain terms that are accessable by layman like myself. layman terms. Here's a book that explore the big questions about how life began.
by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani
Economics is the key to understanding how societies work. Instead of a theoretical book on economics, this book is a study and story of Japan's entrepreneurial economy and the future of Japan.
by Noah Yuval Harari
Rounding out the list of book about big thought is an expansive book that tries to make sense of the entire species, it's history, and it's future.