“I’ve been feeling more attracted to the kinds of books lately that I would have loved as a kid,” he said Bill Gates on GatesNotes, the personal blog where he shares advice, comments and ideas from his readings. For the uninitiated, Gates has been a voracious reader since he was a child. His passion for reading became so great that at some point his parents had to set up some rules: “He read so much that Bill’s mother and I had to set up a rule: no books at the table” he told Forbes Gates’ father, Bill Gates Sr, in 2016.
With the approach of the Christmas season, the founder of Microsoft has published, as every year, his list of 5 best books of 2021. “My reading list this year includes two great stories by science fiction. One takes place nearly 12 light-years away from our Sun and the other is set in the United States, but both made me think about how people can use technology to meet challenges, ”Gates continues. Among the readings, the non-fiction, which has always occupied an important chunk of its annual preference list. And finally a novel, which allowed him to look at “the most famous figures in history in a new light”.
Here is the list of the 5 best reads according to Bill Gates.
A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins
This book by the co-inventor of the PalmPilot – described by Gates as “one of the pioneers of mobile computing” – proposes a new theory of intelligence aimed at fostering the development of the so-called “general intelligence” in machines, or the hypothetical capacity of machines. to understand the world like humans. Gates praises the book for its refreshing (“appropriate for non-experts”) approach to a topic that he believes will ultimately “help us tackle really complex and multifaceted challenges like improving medicine.” There is also a personal connection. Gates recalls “watching helplessly” as his father declined from Alzheimer’s, an experience he says made him acutely aware of just how much he still doesn’t understand about the human brain.
, by Walter Isaacson
According to Gates, this latest book by esteemed Steve Jobs biographer Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin is “much larger” than a simple portrait of Jennifer Doudna, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who helped discover CRISPR gene editing. It’s a deep and inspiring look at technology that makes it easier for scientists to alter human and other genomes, its current applications, and “the most important ethical issues arising from the CRISPR revolution.” The Microsoft founder says his personal excitement about CRISPR has “grown from super high to off the charts” in recent years, but points out that the public should “play a committed role in drawing the ethical lines” of how it should be used.
Klara and the sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
The fictional story of a robot providing companionship to a sick girl, Gates claims to be interested in this book for its rare description of “a future where robots improve our lives”. Set in a dystopian society where children are genetically engineered to be smarter and end up living a largely isolated existence, Klara and the Sun centers on a young girl, Josie, who falls ill due to the risky procedure. He finds comfort in an “artificial friend” who often blurs the lines between robot and human. “As I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but think about which parts paint a picture of our likely future,” says Gates, adding that he believes “someday we will have both companion and utilitarian robots in our lives.”
Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell
Another work of fiction, albeit loosely tied to real-life events, this book imagines the life of William Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, and how his tragic death at the age of 11 may have influenced one of his most celebrated plays. . Hamlet was written just two years after the boy’s death, which O’Farrell takes to weave what Gates applauds as a “moving explanation of how Shakespeare channeled his pain and guilt into writing.” A self-proclaimed “fan” of Shakespeare, Gates says he is always eager to explore the playwright’s famous dull personal life, even if it’s just speculation.
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
A more lighthearted choice, this new book from the author of The Martian tells the story of a high school science teacher who teams up with a friendly alien to save the solar system from a sun-eating microorganism. While not exactly scientific – Gates admits “the odds of another sentient species relatively close seem low” – the billionaire says he finds it “exciting to think about what other life might be out there.” He recommends the fictional tale to “anyone looking for a fun diversion” and notes that he finished it in a weekend.