The seven best books Bill Gates read in 2015

He’s not just one of America’s most famous computer magnates — he’s also an unrepentant book nerd. And for the third year in a row, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the businessman and philanthropist, has released his picks for the best books he read in 2015.

Gates unveiled his list and reviews on his website and posted an accompanying video on YouTube featuring his picks. As you might expect, his list is heavy on weighty nonfiction — “Sustainable Materials with Both Eyes Open,” anyone? — and light on what you might call “beach reads” (if it were summer).

Gates has high praise for Evan Thomas’ “Being Nixon: A Man Divided,” which he praises for its even-handed depiction of the controversial president. “I wouldn’t call it a sympathetic portrait,” Gates writes, “but it is an empathetic one.”

Many of his other picks reflect his longtime interest in science and the environment. Gates recommends Nancy Ley Stepan’s “Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever?” but warns that it’s “written in a very academic style.”

Gates was also fond of Nick Lane’s “The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life,” which he gives an honorable mention (“I haven’t had time to give it the full write-up it deserves,” he explains).

Even Gates’ pick for a “fun” book is an intelligent one. He praises Randall Munroe’s “Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words” for its “laugh-out-loud funny” jokes. Gates has been a fan of Munroe, the artist behind the webcomic xkcd, for a while; he recommended two of the writer’s books in his list of summer recommendations this year.


This isn’t the first year that Gates has taken to his blog to share his favorite books; he’s done year-end lists in 2013 and 2014.