I’d forgotten I’d signed up for the Bill Gates Newsletter; wisely he doesn’t send many – to me anyway. I skipped his end of the year Christmas summary of his year; I get enough of those from people I actually know – but his list of five books included suggestions I liked.
Among the books he claimed he couldn’t put down this year was Educated by Tara Westover. I’ve avoided this book as I do most memoirs, especially those with a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” focus. This is the third time the book has been recommended. First, I ignored a good friend’s recommendation to read it; second, when a book club identified it, I groaned; finally, here is Bill, claiming “I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. 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.”
Three’s a charm, so I’ve ordered the book from the library.
Next on Bill’s list was 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. He had me at “if 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.” I probably should have read this book yesterday – or as soon as the recent President was elected. I’ve ordered this from the library too.
Finally, I found one book I could download immediately to my Audible account. It seemed appropriate to listen to Andy Puddicombe’s The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness. Bill says he and Melinda have “gotten really into meditation lately.” I downloaded the Calm app to my phone with good intentions, but usually only remember to turn it on when loud noise outside my window late at night is keeping me awake. Calm has “bedtime stories” to drown out the party clamor. Bill’s note that the book has “Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk…” caught my interest.
The other two books on Bill’s list of five did not interest me now, but maybe they will you: Army of None by Paul Scharre, “a thought=provoking look at A-1 warfare,” and Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, “…the rise and fall of Theranos.”
No fiction on the list; I wonder if Bill ever reads any.