Best known for co-founding software giant Microsoft, Bill Gates is an American investor, philanthropist, and business magnate.
After working for Microsoft for years as the chairman, chief executive officer, president, and Chief Software Architect, Gates transitioned to working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on climate change, global health, development, and education.
Bill Gates is a popular cultural figure who has been named as Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2004, 2005, and 2006, has appeared in several movies, documentaries, television shows, and mockumentaries and has written several books on the subject of computers, finance, business, climate change, the COVID-29 pandemic.
Every year, GatesNotes: The Blog of Bill Gates writes a post on the great books, songs, and shows for the summer that he recommends to his readers.
This article is a compilation of all the books- fiction or non-fiction, that Bill Gates has recommended over the years.
Bill Gates Book Recommendations 2024
In this 2017 science book, Matthew Walker discusses the importance of sleeping and the side effects of poor sleep on our body and on society.
While commenting on Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, Bill Gates said, “Explains how neglecting sleep undercuts your creativity, problem solving, decision-making, learning, memory, heart health, brain health, mental health, emotional well-being, immune system, and even your life span.”
Vaclav Smil is a Czech-Canadian scientist and policy analyst. Energy and Civilization is his 2017 novel in which he gives a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history.
While commenting on Energy and Civilization, Bill Gates said that it “Goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in human’s ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years.”
Published in 2010, The Most Powerful Idea in the World is a historical nonfiction in which William Rosen tells the story of the men responsible for the Industrial Revolution and the steam engine.
Bill Gates recommends The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen because it is “An entertaining narrative weaving together the clever characters, incremental innovations, and historical context behind the steam engines that gave birth to our modern world.”
Published in 1964 by Richard Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a book based on some lectures by Richard Feynman.
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. The books are set in the Jazz Age on Long Island. The novel is written in the first person.
The narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.
Published in 2006, in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck shows how success in every aspect of human endeavour can be influenced by how we think about our abilities.
Bill Gates said about the book, “Dweck and her research have helped my foundation colleagues and me understand more about the attitudes and habits that allow some students to preserve in school despite big challenges.”
Blitzscaling is a book on the subject of economic policy and development by Reid Hoffman.
The book features several case studies from numerous prominent tech businesses such as AirBnB and WeChat along with offering a specific set of practices that led to the growth of start-ups.
Bill Gates recommends Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman because “The case studies you’re about to explore and the tools you’re about the gain have never been more relevant. This is an ideal moment to be reading this book.”
Published in 1968, The Art of Computer Programming is a book regarded as one of the most influential works in the field of computer science.
The book offers a description and explanation of classical computer science that is a very useful resource in programming theory and practice for students, practitioners, and researchers.
The book started in 1962 and was originally conceived as a single book with twelve chapters.
The Art of Computer Programming is still incomplete with the most recent volume being published in September 2022.
I) Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms (1968)
II) Volume 2: Seminumerical Algorithms (1969)
III) Volume 3: Sorting and Searching (1973)
IV) Volume 4: Combinatorial Algorithms (2011)
Eula Biss is an American non-fiction author whose work has been awarded and nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In On Immunity, Biss, a new mother addresses the fear of the medical establishment while investigating the concept of immunity and its implication on the social body.
Bill Gates’s comments on ‘On Immunity’ are, “I had no idea how informative (On Immunity) would be, even for someone like me who has been supporting and learning about vaccine research for many years.”
Andrew S. Rosen is an incoming Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University and the author of Change.edu: Rebooting for the new talent economy.
In this book, he details how much the American education system has strayed away from the goals of affordability and access to quality education.
11) A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation by Vivien Stewart
Published in 2012, A World-Class Education by Vivien Stewart is a book that is designed to promote a conversation around the education of students to fit a rapidly changing world.
It also focuses on how the world’s best school systems operate in order to improve the quality of education everywhere.
Bill Gates comments, “(World-Class Education) looks at five countries- Singapore, Canada, Finland, China, and Australia- where students are doing significantly better on global assessments than students in the U.S.”
Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Amanda Bennett, The Cost of Hope is a memoir published in 2012.
It follows Wall Street Journal reporter Amanda Bennett who falls in love with Terence Bryan Foley while on an assignment in China and her life twenty years into their marriage and after Terrence dies from a long illness.
Bill Gates comments, “Amanda’s story is personal, filled with moments of anguish, grief, and love but she also tries to draw attention to what she discovers is a flawed health care system.”
Jim Grant was the Executive Director of UNICEF from 1980 to 1995. This book is compiled by Peter Adamson and includes eight stories written by a close colleague of Jim Grant in order to celebrate his achievements.
Bill Gates comments, “The amazing story of Jim Grant, whose influence in making vaccines widely available in the developing world is credited with saving the lives of 25 million children.”
Sustainable Energy by David MacKay was published in 2016 and instantly became an international best-selling book on sustainable energy.
The book addresses the energy crisis and examines the contradictory statements from all sides.
Bill Gates comments, “If someone wants an overall view of how energy gets used, where it comes from, and the challenges in switching to new sources, this is the book to read.”
Jared Diamond is an American geographer, historian, author, and ornithologist who won the Pulitzer Prize for his science book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. The World Until Yesterday explores the important lessons people living in the Western world can learn from traditional societies.
Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in History, Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky tells the story of the polio epidemic and the effort to find its cure in multiple countries.
The book was lauded for its descriptive portrait of American life in the 1950s.
While commenting on Polio by David M. Oshinsky, Bill Gates wrote it “Influenced the decision that Melinda and I made to make polio eradication the top priority of the foundation, as well as my own personal priority.”
Written by British biologist Richard Dawkins and illustrations by Dave McKean, The Magic of Reality was published in 2011.
The book is aimed at a younger audience and explores the supernatural magic our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed a scientific temper.
Bill Gates commented about the book, “An engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, from how the universe formed to what causes earthquakes.”
18) Future Forward: Leadership Lessons from Patrick McGovern, the Visionary Who Circled the Globe, and Built a Technology Media Empire by Glenn Rifkin
Future Forward is filled with powerful lessons on forward-thinking leaders like Steve Jobs and Patrick McGovern who disrupted old business models and embracing new technology trends.
Bill Gates comments, “Patrick McGovern shaped the way that millions of people grew to understand the enormous potential of computers and how they would change the world.”
19) Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever by Bijal P. Trivedi
Breath from Salt by science writer Bijal P. Trivedi is told from the perspectives of the patients, families, scientists, physicians, and philanthropists that fought on the front lines to find a treatment for cystic fibrosis.
Bill Gates says about Breath from Salt, “Documents a story of remarkable scientific innovation and how it has improved the lives of almost all cystic fibrosis patients and their families.”
Moonwalking with Einstein is a nonfiction novel on the subject of Memory and mnemonics by Joshua Foer.
The book stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 8 consecutive weeks and follows Foer’s quest to improve his memory.
While reviewing Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, Bill Gates said “I never thought much about whether I could improve my memory across a wider set of domains, but now I think I could, after reading (Moonwalking with Einstein).”
Published in 2010, Life is What You Make It is a self-help and inspirational book by composer, musician, and philanthropist, Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
In this book, he talks about the values passed down to him by his broad-minded mother and industrious father.
In 1980, economist Julio Simon waged a bet against biologist Paul Ehrlich on the future prices of five metals to gauge the future economy.
This book tries to show the fight between two different ideologies- environmental fears and free-market confidence.
While reviewing The Bet, Bill Gates commented that reading the book “Gave me new perspective on why so many big challenges get bogged down in political battles rather than being focuses on problem-solving.”
23) The Power to Compete: An Economist and an Entrepreneur on Revitalising Japan in the Global Economy by Hiroshi and Ryoichi Mikitani
The Power to Compete by Japanese father-son entrepreneurs and economists, Hiroshi and Ryoichi Mikitani, examines the issues central to Japan’s economic prosperity and searches for a cure of the “Japan Disease.”
The book also examines the Japanese government’s efforts to enhance Japan’s competitiveness and how free market affects Japan’s economy long-term.
Winner of Goodreads Choice Award for Best Memoir & Autobiography in 2018, Educated by Tara Westover follows Tara Westover who set her first foot in a classroom at the age of 17.
Born to survivalists, Tara, and her family were isolated from mainstream society with no one to ensure her proper education.
Then Tara begins to educate herself enough to attend Brigham Young University where she learns about the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement.
Published in 2013 and written by Australian novelist Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project follows genetics professor Don Tillman, who is incapable of forming a strong connection with women.
In order to find a suitable partner, he and his friend devise a questionnaire to assess suitable female partners.
The Rosie Effect was the only fictional novel in Bill Gates’ Top Five Books for 2014. Praised for its authenticity and simplicity, The Rosie Effect is the sequel to Graeme Simision’s The Rosie Project.
In this book, Don and Rosie have moved to New York and find out that they are having a child.
As the book progresses and Don awaits the arrival of his child, he prepares for parenthood and tries to support Rosie, however, his unconventional approach alienates Rosie and she leaves him.
Written by Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Technologies, Play Nice But Win was published in 2021 and became an instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller.
In this book, Dell documents the struggle to launch Dell Technologies, keep it from failing, and of transforming it from a failing company to the world’s largest technology company.
Published in 2009, In FED We Trust is a historical nonfiction that follows the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as he tries to avoid the repeat of the Great Depression.
It focuses on his leadership to spearhead the biggest government intervention during the 2008 recession.
Bill Gates comments, “If someone wants to understand what happened during what they call the ‘Great Panic,’ this is one of the books they should be read.”
Written by litigator-turned- legal scholar and published in 2010, The New Jim Crow argues that racism has not ended in America but has been redesigned.
The book shows that the U. S. criminal justice system functions as a system of racial control by targeting black men and other communities of color.
Bill Gates commentated that the book, “Offers an eye-opening look into how the criminal justice system unfairly targets communities of color, and especially Black communities.”
30) The Headspace Guide to Meditation: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day by Andy Puddicombe
Written by a former Buddhist monk, The Headspace Guide to Meditation by Andy Puddicombe offers simple meditation techniques and methods that can positively impact our mental health through improving productivity, focus, and quality of sleep, relieving stress and anxiety, and even aiding weight-loss.
31) Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System by Ezekiel J. Emanuel
Ezekiel Emanuel is a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, who served as a special advisor to the White House on healthcare reform.
In this book, Emanuel explains how the Affordable Care Act reforms hoped to shape the health care system, along with his predictions for the future.
Bill Gates lauded the book for making “the case for why the U. S. health care system needed reform and how Obamacare sets out to fix the problems.”
Published in 2012 and written by the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. Interventions focus on Anan’s time as the Secretary general.
Co-written by Annan’s former advisor, Nader Mousavizadeh, the book recounts the role of the United Nations in some of the major conflicts during Annan’s tenure.
33) The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey
The Inner Game of Tennis is a self-help book that focuses on personal development and offers invaluable access to techniques that can help ensure success both on and off the court.
Timothy Gallwey shares his tricks to overcome nervousness, self-doubt, and distractions, and find a state of ‘relaxed concentration.’
Bill Gates comments that the book “Gives excellent advice about how to move on constructively from mistakes, which I’ve tried to follow both on and off the court over the years.”
Published in 2010, Energy Myths and Realities is a science nonfiction on the subject of climate change and environment sustainability. Through this book, Vaclav Smil advises his reader to be wary of exaggerated claims and impossible promises by bringing a scientific perspective to an issue that has been dominated by uncritical thinking and unfounded claims.
35) How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We’re Going by Vaclav Smil
Written by Vaclav Smil to offer the world a much-needed reality check, the book details the most fundamental realities that are governing our survival and prosperity.
It argues that our societies have steadily increased their dependence on fossil fuels which makes their rapid elimination unlikely.
Bill Gates recommends the book to people who “want a brief but thorough education in numeric thinking about many of the fundamental forces that shape human life.”
Published in 2021 by American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, Elizabeth Kolbert, Under a White Sky is an environmental book that focuses on environmental crises created by the Anthropocene.
It also focuses on the different technological solutions to address anthropogenic climate change, along with the critiques against it.
The Power is a science fiction novel by Naomi Alderman. Published in 2016, the book is centered around women becoming the dominant gender in society after they develop the ability to release electricity from their finders. In 2023, the book was adapted into a mini-series starring Toni Collette by Amazon Prime Video.
Published in 1954 by journalist Darrell Huff, How to Lie with Statistics offers readers a brief introduction to statistics and delves into the misuse of statistics, along with how errors create incorrect conclusions.
The tagline and the theme of the book is “Correlation does not imply causation.”
Bill Gates comments that the book is “A great introduction to the use of statistics, and a great refresher for anyone who’s already well versed in it.”
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, named one of Time magazine’s ten best nonfiction books of the decade, and a New York Times bestseller, Evicted by Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond follows eight families that struggle to keep their houses.
It explains economic exploitation and provides possible solutions to the American housing crisis.
Bill Gates commented that this book gave him a “better sense of what it is like to be very poor in this country than anything else I have read.”
40) That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Friedman with Michael Mandelbaum
That Used to Be Us is a nonfiction book that explores the four major economic problems that contemporary America is facing.
The book is by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Thomas Friedman, and foreign policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, Michael Mandelbaum, and focuses on problems like- globalization, excessive energy consumption, chronic deficits in the nation’s budget, and revolution in information technology.
In this book, Joe Studwell distils his research into the economies of nine Asian countries- Japan, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia.
Bill Gates recommends the book to anyone who wants “to understand what actually determines whether a developing economy will succeed.”
Published in 2018 by world-renowned economist Paul Collier, The Future of Capitalism was featured in Bill Gates’ 2019 Summer Reading Recommendations.
In this book, Collier outlines the ethical ways of bridging the economic, societal, and cultural gap between the rich and the poor in several Western Countries.
43) Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella
Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella and co-authors Jill Nichols and Greg Shaw is a nonfiction book in which Nadella chronicles his childhood in India, immigration to the United States, his experiences in Microsoft before becoming the CEO, and his innovations to change the corporate culture.
Published in 2021, Surrender by Bono is a memoir that delves into the life of U2’s lead singer and philanthropist. Bono extensively writes about his musical career, childhood, years of activism dedicated to AIDs and poverty, his faith, and his family and friends.
Nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction in 2021, The Lincoln Highway is described as a historical fiction novel set in 1950s America.
It follows eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson who wishes to reunite with his little brother after his father dies. However, on his way to pick up his brother, two friends from work hatch a plan that will forever change the course of his life.
Written by American sociologist Ezra Vogel and published in 2011, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China is a biography of the life of Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese revolutionary who served as the paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China for 11 years. Bill Gates calls this book the best book to read about modern China in the period of Mao.
Published in 2013, Should We Eat Meat? examines the consumption of meat by humans throughout history and around the world. It addresses the environmental impact of a carnivorous diet by looking into meat production. It also addresses the positive and negative health impacts of excessive meat consumption in a diet.
48) Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope
Written by The Wall Street Journal correspondents Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, and published in 2018, Billion Dollar Whale chronicles the exploits of Malaysian businessman Jho Low who masterminded a $4.5 billion fraud.
The Man Who Fed the World is a biography about Norman Borlaug, the only person who has received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in agriculture. It focuses on Borlaug’s scientific breakthroughs that helped relieve hunger in China and the Indian Subcontinent by revolutionizing wheat production in the 1970s.
Energy Transitions describes modern society’s dependence on fossil fuels and the prospects for the transition to a world that relies on sustainable energy.
In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton an expert on economic development and poverty tells how 250 years ago some parts of the world developed so rapidly that is created a rift which set the stage for today’s disproportionately unequal world.
52) Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about it by Morten Jerven
In Poor Numbers, Morten Jerven argues that statistical capacities of sub-Saharan African economies substantially misstate the actual state of affairs because of which resources are misused.
Bill Gates recommends this book because it “Makes a strong case that a lot of GDP measurements we thought were accurate are far from it.”
53) The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson
The Box is a non-fiction book in which the author details the history of the shipping container and its huge economic impact on the global economy.
Winner of the 2017 Booker Prize, Lincoln in the Bardo is an experimental novel by essayist and author, George Saunders. The novel takes place over the course of an evening and focuses on President Abraham Lincoln as he grieves the death of his son, William Wallace Lincoln.
A New York Times Bestselling book, in How Not to Be, Jordan Ellenberg explains how mathematical principles influence our day-to-day thinking. Ellenberg then uses mathematics to examine real-world issues like obesity.
56) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
A New York Times Number 1 Bestseller, Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half is a book filled with beautiful illustrations and ten essays that deal with unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, and mayhem.
These Truths explores American politics, journalism, law, and technology throughout its history.
Bill Gates exclaims that the book is “the most honest account of the American story I’ve ever read, and one of the most beautifully written.”
Published in 2017, Epic Measures by Jeremy N. Smith offers an intimate look at the medical doctor and economist Christopher Murray and his groundbreaking work investigating the efficiency with which world governments are funding healthcare in developing countries.
The book goes deep into Murray’s resolve to improve global health standards by addressing issues, setting policies, and proper distribution of funds.
59) Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food by Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak
In the book Tomorrow’s Table, geneticist Pamela Ronald and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer argue that the most important aspect of modern agriculture is- genetic engineering and organic farming to help feed the world’s growing population and grow food sustainably.
Bill Gates recommends the book to “anyone who wants to learn about the science of seeds and the challenges faced by farmers.”
60) SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Stephen Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
In SuperFreakonomics, economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner is centred around the theme of that we all work for a particular reward.
Each chapter focuses on different topics like prostitution, patterns and details, and unintended consequences and simple fixes.
Bill Gates exclaims, “I recommend this book to anyone who reads nonfiction. It is very well written and full of great insights.”
Published in 2014, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert is a non-fiction book that received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2015.
In this book, Kolbert argues that the Earth is currently in the midst of a sixth extinction. The book’s easy-to-read language simplifies scientific jargon and makes for an enlightening read.
In America, college tuition is constantly rising. This book aims to explain the rising college cost and argues that the tuition is so high because the cost of college is similar to the cost behavior of other industries.
Bill Gates recommends the books because it “looks at college costs in the context of the larger economy, and offers suggestions for policy to increase access.”
Published in 2012, Harvesting the Biosphere by Vaclav Smil is a science nonfiction novel on the subject of environmental sustainability and climate change.
In this book, Smil tries to offer an interdisciplinary account of human claims on the biosphere’s stores of living matter by examining harvests from prehistoric man’s hunting to modern crop production.
Written by hedge fund manager Ray Dalio and published in 2017, in Principles: Life & Work, Dalio expounds on the principles he developed while leading Bridgewater Associates, an American investment management firm.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by renowned historian Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a journey through our entire human history, from its evolutionary roots to the age of capitalism and genetic engineering, to uncover why we are the way we are.
Harari focuses on key events that shaped humankind, such as the advent of agriculture, the creation of religion, and the rise of the nation-state.
Bill Gates recommends the book “to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history.”
66) Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr
Published in 2017 and written by venture capitalist John Doer, Measure What Matters is a book on the subject of business, management, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
In this book, Doer explains the concept of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), which is an approach to making tough decisions in business by giving the example of Google, a startup he invested in.
Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Flowers is a nonfiction novel that won the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The book follows the interconnected lives of several residents in a slum in India, named Annawadi.
68) Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America by Jay Mathews
Published in 2009, Work Hard. Be Nice by Jay Mathews tells the history of the Knowledge Is Power Program created by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, two teachers who vowed to become better superior educators.
Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir by J.D. Vance that focuses on the socioeconomic problems his family faced in his hometown of Middletown, Ohio.
Upon release the book, reached the top of The New York Times Bestseller List and was adapted into a film by Ron Howard starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close.
On the topic of Hillbilly Elegy, Bill Gates exclaimed, “I came away with new insights into the multifaceted cultural and family dynamics that contribute to poverty.”
70) Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education by Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb
In Liberating Learning by Terry Moe and John Chubb, the authors argue that making changes in teaching patterns and schools is often blocked by politics and teacher unions. They say that the lack of teaching innovation has created a rift between the education system and the global economy.
71) The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger
Published in 2019 by CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger, in The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger shares the lessons he has learned while running Disney, acquiring companies like Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox, and leading over 200k employees.
The Rational Optimist is a popular science book that focuses on the benefits of the innate human tendency to trade goods and services. Ridley argues that as people increasingly specialize in their skill sets, we will have increased trade and more prosperity.
Published in 2011, Academically Adrift is written by American sociologist Richard Arum and Josipa Roska.
In the book, the authors examine the state of higher education in the United States by drawing on data from the Collegiate Learning Assessment and on survey responses generated by undergraduates in twenty-four institutions.
74) Stretching the School Dollar: How Schools and Districts Can Save Money While Serving Students Best by Frederick M. Hess
American educationists believe that the only way to carry out massive school reforms is by eliminating inefficient spending that is critical for freeing up resources.
In Stretching the School Dollar, scholars, entrepreneurs, and journalists come together to offer fresh insights into this issue.
xkcd is a webcomic created by American author Randall Munroe that is centred around the subject of mathematics, computer programming, and scientific in-jokes.
Published in 2010, Where the Good Ideas Come From is a self-help book in which Steven Johnson identifies the key patterns behind innovation and traces them across time.
Published in 2013, in Making the Modern World, author Vaclav Smil dives through history to describe the extraction and production of substances like wood, metals, alloys, plastics, and silicon.
Published in 2001, in Mendeleyev’s Dream, Paul Strathern explores the history of chemistry from ancient Greece to the Age of Enlightenment and beyond.
After reading Mendeleyev’s Dream, Bill Gates called the book “A fascinating look at how science develops and how human curiosity has evolved over the millennia.”
In The New Science of Strong Materials, author J. E. Gordon demonstrates the ways in which many scientists approach problems, isolate the variants, and find a solution to them.
80) Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines by Vaclav Smil
In this book, Vaclav Smil gives the readers history of two key technical developments that have driven globalization- the invention of the gas turbines and high-compression internal combustion engine.
Tap Dancing to Work by Carol Loomis is a collection of articles about and by Warren Buffett. Through these articles, the readers can get an opportunity to learn about his business achievements.
Published in 2010, in Educational Economics: Where Do School Funds Go, author Marguerite Roza examines how much the average taxpayer spends on education and compares it with the state of education in America.
Melinda Gates is a businesswoman, philanthropist, and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates introduces us to the women she has met through years of humanitarian work and extensive research.
The Idealist by Nina Munk chronicles the life of Jeffrey Sachs, a celebrated economist, and his efforts to end extreme poverty. Munk follows the economist on his trips to Africa, his role in several humanitarian organizations, and his meeting with heads of state.
Published in 2015, Seveneves is a science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson. After the moon is inexplicably disintegrated, several apocalyptic events destroy Earth.
The few remaining humans try to remake the human society. The book follows their desperate efforts to preserve human life.
A Gentleman in Moscow is a historical fiction novel that was nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction in 2016. The book follows Count Alexander Rostov, a count sentenced to house arrest by the Bolsheviks. While under arrest, he is forced to question his identity and find a new purpose in life.
In The Art of Being Unreasonable, we follow Eli Broad, a billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the principles he followed to build two Fortune 500 companies.
Published in 2014, in The Myth of the Strong Leader, Archie Brown argues the widely held belief that a strong leader are the most admired and successful political leader.
He does so by examining significant political leaders throughout the history of the world, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Deng Xiaoping to Nelson Mandela, among many other leaders.
The Ministry for the Future is a science fiction novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is set in the near future and follows a subsidiary body on a mission to act as an advocate for the world’s future generations.
The Vital Question was published in 2015 by biochemist Nick Lane. In the book, Lane discusses how life began and why life operates the way it does from the point of view of a biochemist.
Everything Happens for a Reason was nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Memoir and Autobiography in 2018. The book follows Kate Bowler, a divinity professor, and young mother who after receiving a Stage IV cancer diagnosis explores the joy of living.
Phil Knight is the co-founder of Nike and in his 2016 memoir Shoe Dog, he chronicles the founding of Nike, its early challenges, and then finally becomes the most profitable company.
93) Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
Stuff Matters is a science nonfiction novel by materials scientist Mark Miodownik. In this book, he examines the materials he encounters every day, like steel, graphite, foam, and concrete.
Published in 2014, String Theory is a collection of David Foster Wallace’s writings on tennis, pieces he wrote on five tour-de-force, and his obsession with the game.
Diane Tavenner is the co-founder of Summit Public School, America’s most innovative public school with exceptional outcomes. The students at Summit spend their day developing skills like collaboration and solving real-world problems that prepare them to succeed in college and in their workplace. In Prepared, she shares lessons and learning philosophies upon which the Summit model is based.
Nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Science & Technology, Life 3.0 was published in 2017 and explores the impact of Artificial Intelligence on Life on Earth and beyond.
Bill Gates exclaimed that “anyone who wants to discuss how artificial intelligence is shaping the world should read this book.”
This book tells the story of the discovery of the genetic code and how genes define us as humans and govern our form and function. Bill Gates praises Siddhartha Mukherjee by saying “Mukherjee once again shows his gift for making hard science easily accessible.”
98) Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne
An instant New York Times bestseller, in Tools and Weapons, Brad and Carol bring us into the world of Microsoft as it finds itself amidst a rapidly changing technological space that is full of challenges that nobody has ever dealt with before.
In Why America Is Not a New Rome, Vaclav Smil investigates the America-Rome analogy by looking at the comparisons between the influence America has over the world and when the empire of Rome was the most powerful.
Published in 2014, Stress Test is a memoir by former United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. The memoir was written in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
In The Fever journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer the question- ‘Why aren’t we doing enough to tame the spread of diseases, like malaria, via pathogens like mosquitoes? Shah tracks the history of malaria and how it spread around the world, along with the insect that carries it.
Written by American journalist Ezra Klein and published in 2020, Why We’re Polarized is a non-fiction novel in which he analyses the political polarization in the United States.
103) The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
Nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best History and Biography, In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson follows Winston Churchill’s prime ministership during the Second World War.
Published in 2020, A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a memoir that is the first book in a planned series of two books. In A Promised Land, Obama focuses on his early life, his first political campaigns, and his first term as president.
105) The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon
The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Professor of Economics, Robert J. Gordon. It describes the 100 years following 1870, known as the “Special Century.”
The book discusses the changes in the standard of living pre-WW2 and the wave of economic growth between 1920 and 1970.
A New York Times Bestseller, Believe Me, is a memoir by comedian Eddie Izzard. In the book, Eddie reflects on their childhood, their relationship with their mother, attending boarding school, becoming a comedian, philanthropy, going into politics, and taking up running.
Winner of the 2019 Colby Award, in Army of None, Paul Scharre argues that we must embrace technology in warfare as it can make war more precise but we shouldn’t adopt technology without surrendering human judgement.
In Energy, Vaclav Smil gives the readers an explanation of Einstein’s most famous equation, E= MC2. The book also focuses on the inner workings of the human body and the global race for discovering environmentally friendly fuels.
Published in 2011, The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker is a nonfiction novel on the subject of social philosophy. In the book, the author argues that in the long run, the world has seen a decline in violence and suggests several explanations as to why that must have happened.
Guns, Germs, and Steel won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 1998 and the Aventis Prize for Best Science Book. Through this book, the author attempts to explain how North African and Eurasian civilizations survived and conquered others.
Jared also argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Bill Gates called the book a “fascinating… Lays a foundation for understanding human history.”
Nominee for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction and #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Road to Character is a self-help book.
In the book, Brooks argues that the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders build their character by having a strong sense of their own limitations.
112) Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
Published in 2012, in Why Nations Fail, authors Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson try to understand why different nations develop at different rates, with some having political and economic stability and others failing widely to establish that by studying a wide range of historical case studies.
The Quest by Daniel Yergin is a nonfiction novel on the subject of business and politics. In the book, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change by giving surprising insights about coal, natural gas, and electricity.
A nominee for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Graphic Novels and Comics, The Best We Could Do is an intimate memoir of the life of Thi Bui, who immigrated to America as a child from a war-torn Vietnam. Through this book, she documents the difficulties she and her family faced as they tries to settle in a new country.
Lights Out is a historical nonfiction that dives into the history of General Electric’s decline. The book offers an intimate look into a company that electrified America, provided generations of Americans with job security and a solidly safe investment, and became integrated into the social fabric of the country.
Origin Story was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best History & Biography. In this novel, David Christian takes the readers on a journey through time by focusing on defining events, major trends, and questions about our origins.
117) Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo
Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo is a non-fiction novel that studies the effectiveness of solutions to global poverty.
Published in 1966, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. This novel follows a lunar colony that revolts against the absentee rule from Earth. The novel explores a novel form of family dynamic and marriage structure as each family unit comprises two men for every woman.
What If? By Randall Munroe is a science nonfiction novel on the subject of science miscellanea. In this book, the author tries to answer hypothetical science questions sent by readers of his webcomic, xkcd.
Awakening Joy by James Baraz is a self-help book that teaches its readers how to find joy during difficult times and cultivate practices for sustaining joyfulness.
Economist and education researcher Douglas N. Harris tackles one of the most hotly-debated issues in American education in Value-Added Measures in Education. Through this book, Harris tries to help educators and policy makers understand this innovative approach to assessment.
Nominee for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Science & Technology in 2019, in Blueprint, Christakis introduces the readers to the compelling idea that our genes might not affect our bodies and behaviours.
Published in 2014, Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a French novel by French economist Thomas Piketty. The book deals with wealth and income inequality in developed countries in Europe and the United States.
Born a Crime is a memoir by South African comedian Trevor Noah. It focuses on Noah’s childhood in South Africa during the apartheid era.
Range is a self-help book that focuses on personal development. In this book, David Epstein examines the world’s most successful musicians, scientists, forecasters, inventors, and artists to answer the question- “What’s the most effective path to success in any domain?”
In Growth, Vaclav Smil offers the readers a basic understanding of how bacteria invade an animal’s metabolism and can spread throughout megacities, disrupting the global economy.
Sustainable Materials is the sequel to Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air. The book examines the impact of making materials in the 21st century. Bill Gates said Sustainable Materials is “An excellent book about another key factor: how we make stuff.”
In One Billion Hungry, Gordon Conway explains the different scientific and economic aspects that are critical to the global food supply. About One Billion Hungry, Bill Gates said, “Provides a roadmap for eliminating hunger in the world.”
129) Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake
In Capitalism Without Capital, Jonathan Haskel and Stain Westlake explains to the reader’s ways to measure intangible investment and its impact on national account by taking a decade’s worth of research into how different countries invest in intangible assets
Published in 2015, Thing Explainer by Randal Munroe is an illustrated non-fiction book. In this book, Munroe explains the function and mechanics of 54 subjects by using only the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language.
In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong takes the readers on a journey through our microbiome, home to millions of helpful bacteria that protects our health, and goes as far as to granting us incredible abilities. Bill Gates said I Contain Multitudes, “Helped me see microorganisms in a whole new light.”
The Overstory is an environmental fiction novel that follows the lives of nine Americans with unique life experiences that come together to address the mass destruction of forests.
133) Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
Published in 2015, Becoming Steve Jobs is an unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs. The book suggests that Steve Jobs’s success at Apple was more complicated than picking the right products.
Winner of the 2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction, and Women’s Prize for Fiction, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is lauded by critics for illuminating the realities of marriage. The novel focuses on Celestial and Roy, an African-American couple whose lives are torn apart when Roy is wrongfully convicted of rape.
A Full Life is a memoir by Jimmy Carter that was released on his 90th birthday. It is a collection of stories from his childhood, early political career, his run for the governor’s office, and his time in the White House.
A Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Nonfiction (2018), Factfulness is a self-help book written by statistician Hans Rosling, his son Ola Rosling, and his daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Ronnlund. In the book, Rosling tries to demonstrate that his test subjects believe that the world is less healthy, more dangerous, and poorer than it actually is because of misinformation.
Nominee for Goodreads Choice Award for Best History & Biography in 2017, Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is a biography of Leonardo da Vinci. It is based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s notebooks and shows a connection between his art to his science.
Published in 2015, The Sympathiser is Vietnamese-American writer, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s debut novel. This historical fiction was the recipient of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice. The book follows a North Vietnamese mole in the South Vietnamese army who is in exile in the United States and starts workings as a cultural advisor to a film crew, closely resembling Apocalypse Now.
139) An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel
An Elegant Defense by Matt Richtel is a nonfiction on the subject of health and biology. In this book, Richtel entwines stories of terminal cancer patients, HIV+ individuals, and people with autoimmune diseases with the medical field’s quest to unlock the mysteries of viruses and learn about the way our immune system can turn on itself.
140) The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier
Published in 2007 and written by British development economist Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion explores the reasons why impoverished countries fail to progress despite receiving global financial aid.
In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari examines our future, the meaning of life, and how one-day humanity will lose its dominance in the world. Bill Gates commented that Homo Deus is a “thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity.”
Published in 2015, Being Nixon by Evan Thomas was praised by The Wall Street Journal for being, “Terrifically engaging…a fair, insightful, and highly entertaining portrait.” The novel provides a unique portrait of President Richard Nixon by delving into his childhood, time in school, college, and the navy, and entry into politics.
143) The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Keams Goodwin
The Bully Pulpit by American historian and biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwins was published in 2013. It covers the progressive period that transformed the United States. The book also follows the relationship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, along with their wives.
House on Fire by William H. Foege is a historical nonfiction that was published in 2011. The book follows the spectacular triumph of medicine and public health care services in eradicating smallpox along with the development of its vaccination and how it was distributed around the world.
Published in 2018, Bad Blood by journalist John Carreyrou is a nonfiction book that details the rise and fall of Theranos, a biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes.
Published in 1961, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein is a science fiction novel that tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who was born and raised on the planet Mars and returns to Earth in early adulthood.
It was the winner of the 1962 Hugo Award for Best Novel and was named by the Library of Congress as one of the 88 “Books that Shaped America.”
The Spy and the Traitor is a New York Times Bestseller and was named Best Book of the Year by The Economist. This spy thriller follows Oleg Gordievsky, the son of two KGB agents who eventually became a top Soviet Union spy in London. When he starts working for the MI6, he helps the West turn the tables on the KGB. But when the CIA is unable to ascertain his true identity, they assign an agent to identify him, who they’ll soon find out is secretly spying for the Soviets.
148) Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding- And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny
Published in 2011, Getting Better is a nonfiction novel on the subject of politics and international development. In the book, economist Charles Kenny reports the good news about global progress by arguing against developing naysays and providing evidence of improvement in overall happiness, peace, education, and health.
A New York Times bestseller by Journalist Steven Brill, Class Warfare was published in 2012 and provides the readers with an account of the individuals who are trying to solve the issues in America’s education system.
Eradication by Nancy Leys Stepan is a deeply researched examination of the pros and cons of investing in the eradication of certain diseases that can be eliminated through deliberate human intervention.
She takes into account past campaigns to eradicate diseases to determine their efficiency and whether improving primary health care services is a better investment option for the future.
But Some Don’t by Nate Silver- Winner of the 2013 Phi Beta Kappa Society book award in science, The Signal and the Noise is a 2012 book by American statistician Nate Silver.
It explains how probability and statistics are used for weather forecasting, in poker, and in elections, as well as other real-world circumstances.
A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics by Walter Lewin- For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin is an engaging book that explains to its readers the physics behind every natural phenomenon and explains several concepts like magnetic force, X-rays, winds and space, and electricity.
Published in 2019, Upheaval by American scientist Jared Diamond is a nonfiction novel. In this book, Diamond attempts to analyse the many reasons behind political, economic, and environmental crises by studying past crises that have happened in developed and developing countries.
Published in 1969 by longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks, Business Adventures is regarded as a classic work of business literature. The book is a collection of stories about Wall Street that reveal the volatile nature of the world of finance.
The Heart is a realistic medical fiction novel that is set in France and follows the immediate aftermath of a car accident that leads to the death of a teenager. It focuses on the process of heart transplantation and how it affects the physicians, nurses, recipient of the heart, the family of the recipient, the organ transplant coordinators, and the parents of the teenager who died in the accident, in a span of 24 hours.
156) Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company by Andrew S. Grove
Written by Andy Grove, the founder and former CEO of Intel, and published in 1988, in Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his business and leadership strategies, and how he created a work environment that was capable of adapting to any changes thrown their way.
Published in 2018, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a social philosophy novel by Yuval Noah Harari. The novel tries to empower people to join a debate about the future of our species.
Several critics have panned the book for not being as entertaining or illuminating as Harari’s previous works.
Turtles All the Way Down is a young adult novel by John Green. It is centred around a young American high school student with OCD that is searching for a fugitive billionaire who happens to be her neighbour’s father.
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, The Emperor of All Maladies by oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee is a collection of Mukherjee’s experiences as an oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and contains the history of cancer research and treatment. The Literary Review praised Mukherjee for writing a book that “is so well written, and the science is so clearly explained, that it reads almost like a detective story-which, of course, it is.
A Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Nonfiction (2018), Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker is a philosophical novel that argues the Enlightenment values of science, reason, and humanism have led to progress in the living standard, health, and happiness of people around the world.
Published in 2018, Presidents of War is a historical nonfiction by presidential historian, Michael Beschloss. The book is an intimate look at several American presidents as they navigated conflict and tried to mobilize their country for victory. Presidents of War is filled with first-hand accounts of surviving participants of the war, along with letters, classified security documents, and diary entries.
Nine Pints by Rose George is a historical medical nonfiction novel in which George takes us on a journey to explore blood. In the book, George talks about the ancient practices of bloodletting, and introduces the readers to Janet Vaughn who created the first system of mass blood donation, and Arunachalam Muruganantham, known for making sanitary pads more accessible in developing countries.
Published in 2016, When Breath Becomes Air by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi is a memoir about his life and the negative health changes he experienced battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer.
Outliers is a non-fiction novel written by journalist, author, and public speaker Malcolm Gladwell. In this book, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success by studying popular Canadian ice hockey players, Bill Gates, and the Beatles. Rated at 4.19 out of 5 on Goodreads, Outliers is a New York Times Bestseller list.
165) Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact by Vaclav Smil
Creating the Twentieth Century by Vaclav Smil is an interdisciplinary account of the technical innovations from 1867 to 1914 and the epochal consequences of the outpouring of European and American intellect during this time.
It takes a look at the four fundamental innovations of the time- formation, diffusion, and standardization of electric systems; the birth of the new information age, the unprecedented pace of new chemical syntheses; and the invention and rapid adoption of internal combustion engines.
Published in 2009, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande focuses on the use of checklists in relation to different aspects of our professional and daily life. Gawande argues that checklists used in the medical profession and business world can lead to safety, greater efficiency, and consistency.
Published in 1959, A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a historical fiction novel. It is set in a boy’s boarding school in New England during World War 2. The story portrays the dark side of adolescence by juxtaposing it against a war-torn country losing its innocence and beauty.
168) 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time by Michael Brooks
Written by British science writer, Michael Brooks, 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense is a non-fiction novel that is divided into 13 chapters, which deal with the following subjects- theoretical physics, astronomy, and the ultimate fate of the universe; the Pioneer Anomaly; Varying Constant; Cole Fusion; Life; Viking program; the Wow! Signal; A Giant Virus; Death; Evolution of sexual reproduction; Neuroscience of Free Will; The Placebo Effect; and Homeopathy.
Written by developmental molecular biologist John Medina, Brain Rules explains how the brain works from twelve perspectives. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the twelve perspectives and demonstrates what scientists know about the brain and the things we can do to affect our brain development. These 12 principles are- exercise, survival, wiring, attention, short-term memory, long-term memory, sleep, stress, sensory integration, vision, gender, and exploration.
Published in 2007, The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb examines the sociological and ecological impact of extremely unpredictable and rare events and how human beings have a tendency to find simplistic explanations for such events. The Black Sawn is the second volume in Taleb’s five-volume series called Incerto.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack is a collection of speeches and talks by Charles Munger, an American investor, philanthropist, and businessman. In this book, Munger gives the readers an approach to decision-making.
Written by American historian Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed was published in 2005.
At the beginning of the book, Diamond describes ‘collapse’ as a ‘drastic decrease in human population size and/or political/economic/social complexity.’
He then goes on to give historically accurate accounts of societal collapse by focusing on historical civilizations.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman describe rational and non-rational motivations associated with each type of thinking process and how they complement each other.
Published in 2005, The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman is on the subject of globalization. In the book, Friedman argues that in a global market countries, companies, and individuals need to remain competitive.
175) Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System- and Themselves by Andrew Ross Sorkin
Too Big to Fail by American journalist Andrew Sorkin is a nonfiction book that is told from the point of view of Wall Street CEOs and government bureaucrats and chronicles the events of the 2008 financial crisis.
Published in 1999, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is a collection of short stories by David Foster Wallace. Fans of Wallace’s writings praised the book for being thought-provoking yet still playful, subversive, ironic, and very imaginative.
Shortlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize, The Cat’s Table is by Michael Ondaatje. It is a coming-of-age story that follows a young boy on a three-week ship voyage from Sri Lanka to England.
Showing Up for Life is a memoir by Bill Gates Sr. In this book, Gates Sr. shares lessons he learned while growing up in the Great Depression and introduces the readers to dozens of people and experiences that helped him form his moral compass and influenced his thinking.
In Identity, New York Times Bestselling author Francis Fukuyama examines modern-day identity politics- its origins and its impact on domestic and international affairs.
180) Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age by Joel N. Shurkin
Written by Science Writer Emeritus at Stanford University, Joel Shurkin, Broken Genius was published by Macmillan New York in 2006. Broken Genius is the official biography of William Shockley, the founding father of Silicon Valley, who was criticized for being racist and for proposing that people with an IQ below 100 should undergo sterilization.
Winner of the 2012 James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year, Modernist Cuisine is a cookbook that revolutionized the treatment of cooking. The book discusses the art, science, and technology of cooking.
182) Who’s Teaching Your Children? Why the Teacher Crisis is Worse Than You Think and What Can Be Done About It by Vivian Troen and Katherine C. Coles
The American school system is struggling with the shortage of qualified teachers and the issue is only getting worse. In this book, teachers Vivian Troen and Katherine C. Coles examines the reasons for the teacher shortage crisis and offers affordable solutions to it.
Published in 2007, Gig History by Cynthia Stokes Brown is a historical nonfiction novel that begins with the big bang and then takes its readers on a journey of different eras- prehistoric geology, human evolution, the agrarian age, the industrial revolution, and ends with the current state of our planet.
184) Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham
Why Don’t Students Like School? By Daniel T. Willingham is on the subject of education. In this book, cognitive scientist Willingham offers teachers and parents ways to improve methods of teaching children by explaining how children perceive information and retain it.
Written by David Sanger, journalist, and chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, The Perfect Weapon focuses on the United States and its cyber capabilities, along with the evolution and concerns of cyber warfare.
186) Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution- and How It Can Renew America Thomas L. Friedman
Published in 2008 by New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded is a book on the subject of clean energy and global warming.
In the book, Friedman argues that a green revolution can make America sustainable by explaining how rapidly growing populations and global warming have led to environmental instability which can significantly hamper America’s economic stability.
Nominated by Goodreads Choice Award for Best Humor in 2013, in Dad Is Fat, Jim Gaffigan talks about growing up in a large Irish-Catholic household and how he was satisfied with his life as a stand-up. But all that changed when he met his wife and had five kids.
This book is extremely funny and is full of Gaffigan’s trademark charm, wit, and observations.
188) Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities Are Opening Up Access to Their Courses by Taylor Walsh
Unlocking the Gates by Taylor Walsh draws upon a wide range of sources and interviews with several extensive university leaders to examine the impact of elite universities offering online education.
In the book, Taylor hypothesizes the significant changes, providing online study materials will have in the way universities approach teaching and learning.
In This Time Is Different, economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff take a look at inflation spikes, banking panics, and government defaults over the course of eight centuries-spanning sixty-six countries across five continents. They argue that financial instability can be seen as a rite of passage for emerging and established market nations.
Published in 2009, Open is Andre Agassi’s memoir. Andre Agassi, regarded as one of the world’s most beloved athletes begins the book with stories of rigorous training in tennis camps as a child, becoming a tennis pro at sixteen, and his struggles early on in his career.
He also talks very candidly about his rivals, his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields, his comeback, his marriage to Stefani Graf, and his retirement from the game.
191) Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in Era of Economic Integration by Douglas S. Massey
Winner of the 2004 Otis Dudley Duncan Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Social Demography, Beyond Smoke and Mirrors focuses on how the U. S. immigration policies harm the interests of Mexico, the United States, and the people who migrate between them.
It documents how border enforcement has wasted billions of dollars and has not deterred the number of undocumented immigrants going to America.
Titan II ICBM program was an intercontinental ballistic missile program developed by the United States to strengthen the nation’s strategic weapons arsenal during the Cold War.
In this book, David Stumpf tells the story of the people who developed and operated the system by sourcing interviews with and memoirs by engineers who worked on them.
In The Hair of the Dog, Karl Sabbagh shows how trivial questions, assumptions, and queries lead to a deeper understanding of how science works.
194) The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World by Phillip D. Schewe
The Grid is a historical fiction novel and the first novel on the history of the electrical grid. The Grid is an engaging and informative novel on how an electrical grid is laid down, its functions, and its shortcomings that can take wreak havoc on the global population due to people’s dependence on electricity.
Six Days of the Condor by James Grady is a thriller novel published in 1974. This thriller novel is set in the aftermath of a massacre in the CIA building and follows Ronald Malcolm, a CIA agent who has seemingly survived the attack and employs the help of a paralegal to apprehend the culprits behind the attack.
In How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place, writer Bjorn Lomborg examines ten of the most serious challenges facing the world today- trade barriers and subsidies, access to clean water and sanitation, malnutrition and hunger, access to education, the spread of communicable diseases, climate change, governance and corruption, conflicts and arms proliferation, and financial instability.
Published in 2007, Einstein is a biography by American historian Walter Isaacson. The narrative of the book follows Einstein’s many personal and professional achievements- from the time he was a young man, his search for work in Europe after graduating, the beginnings of his career at the Swiss Patent office, and his subsequent immigration.
Published in 2010, in World on the Edge, Lester Brown tries to find solutions to environmental issues in order to prevent a total environmental and economic collapse with research and analysis.
1914 by David McCullough- Published in 1977, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914, is the third biography by David McCullough.
The book is filled with photographs, maps, and extensive source references as it details the people, places, and events involved in building the Panama Canal.
Drawing on extensive research, he explores the political, social, and technical challenges faced by the United States in connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, while vividly depicting the lives of the people involved in this monumental project.
200) The City That Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control by Franklin E. Zimring
The City That Became Safer by Franklin Zimring is a sociological nonfiction novel that studies how the city of New York was able to lower its crime rates. The book goes into NYPD’s strategy, which included effective management, more cops, and new tactics.
Published in 2005, The End of Poverty is a New York Times bestseller on the subject of development economics. In the book, economist Jeffrey Sachs argues that by rolling out carefully planned development aid, extreme poverty can be eliminated globally by 2025.
Published by the Harvard Business Press in 2006, in Science Business, Gary Pisano tries to answer the question- ‘Why has the biotechnology industry failed to live up to its expectations?’
He does so by giving the readers an insight into how the industry works. He also gives policy makers and investments with ways to improve the industry’s performance.
203) Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Fourt-Time CEO Hunter Harrison by Howard Green
Howard Green’s Railroader is an insightful look into Hunter Harrison, a railroader from Memphis, who started as a wayward teenager and spent over 20 decades running Canadian National, CSX, Canadian Pacific, and Illinois central. In this biography, we also get candid stories from Harrison’s family, colleagues, employees, and competitors.
In A Champion’s Mind, Pete Sampras, an athletic prodigy opens up and speaks about the personal trials he faced on and off the tennis court. The book has been lauded for being compelling as the tennis legend revises many riveting scenes from his life.
205) Unlocking Energy Innovation: How American Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System by Richard K. Lester and David M. Hart
In Unlocking Energy Innovation, Richard Lester and David Hart outline a plan for innovating America’s energy system by tapping the country’s entrepreneurial strengths and regional diversity.
A number 2 on The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list, The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria is a nonfiction book that focuses on America’s dominance in the world.
The book is divided into seven chapters with each chapter focusing on different topics- the global power balance, China’s economic strategies, India’s economic strategies and society, and how America has used its superpower status.
Published in 2001, The Man Who Stayed Behind is Sidney Rittenberg’s memoir that also documents the cultural revolution that took place in China in 1949.
It follows Sidney Rittenberg as he was sent to China by the U. S. military in the 1940s and didn’t return till the 1970s.
In his memoir, he provides the reader with insight into the Communist Party’s efforts to build a new society.
Randall M. Packard shows the history of malaria and how the disease is driven by sociological, biological, economic, and environmental forces. In the book, Packard examines past control efforts, what failed and what succeeded, and proposes certain ways to control and eliminate malaria.
Published in 2011 and the winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best History and Biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is the biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs personally requested Isaacson to write the book after enjoying his previously written biographies, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.
Isaacson wrote the novel based on more than forty interviews with Jobs and interviews with Jobs’ family members, competitors, colleagues, and friends.
Published in 2008, in Global Catastrophes and Trends, scientist Vaclav Smil looks at the trend of global catastrophes in the next fifty years.
Vaccine by American journalist Arthur Allen is a 2007 book that details the history of vaccination, the circulation of the smallpox vaccine, mandatory vaccination policies during World War II, and discusses the validity of the claim that vaccines cause autism. It also provides a profile of two vaccine developers- Jonas Salk and Maurice Hilleman.
Published in 2018, Money Well Spent by Paul Brest and Hal Harvey is a guide on how to effectively do charity by giving the readers examples of non-profits and foundations that deliver the most on every dollar.
213) Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and William W. Behrens
Published in 1972, The Limits to Growth is a report that used a World3 computer model to study the impact of rapid population growth on a finite supply of resources on earth.
Frank Stewart’s Bridge Club by Frank Stewart invites the readers into Frank Stewart’s fictional bridge club. As the fictional game of bridge progresses, Stewart tries to instruct the players about the rules of the game whilst simultaneously entertaining the.
215) Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production by Vaclav Smil
Published in 2004, in Enriching the Earth, Vaclav Smil discusses the role of nitrogen in crop production, its availability in the biosphere, and how nitrogen is supplied in the soil.
Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction in 1992, The Prize by Daniel Yergin details the history of the global petroleum industry from the 1850s through 1990. It took Daniel Yergin ten years to write this extensively researched book, with sources like articles, dissertations, government documents, oral histories, and oil company archives.
217) The Foundation: A Great American Secret; How Private Wealth is Changing the World by Joel L. Fleishman
In The Foundation, Joel L. Fleishman explains the history of foundations in America, shares stories of the most successful foundations, and explains why some foundations failed.
Priorities in Health by Dean T. Jamison was published by the World Bank Publications in 2006 and is a companion guide to ‘Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries.’
Through this book, policy makers and interested readers can get an overview of the messages in ‘Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries.’
Beyond the Crash by former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown is a 2010 non-fiction book in which Brown argues that the financial crisis of 2007 to 2010 can be resolved with coordinated global action. He also argues that better oversight is needed for the international financial system.
220) Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, and Practice by Richard L. Guerrant, David H. Walker, and Peter F. Weller
The editors of this book introduced the text by stating their goals, which is to “produce a superb, practical text focused on the most clinically relevant information on tropical infectious diseases essential to the clinician practicing in the tropics or seeing patients with potential exposure to tropical infectious diseases, as well as to feature scientific experts…. provides a thorough overview of the latest developments in immunology, pathogenesis, genetics of virulence and new molecular approaches to diagnosis and control.”
221) Health Care Will Not Reform Itself: A User’s Guide to Refocusing and Reforming American Health Care by George C. Halvorson
Written by Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, Health Care Will Not Reform Itself is a book that focuses on the American healthcare system. In the book, Halvorson argues that the state of health services in the U. S. irrational and irresponsible yet fixable.
Thomas Tierney is the cofounder of a nonprofit that focuses on helping donors and nonprofit leaders execute strategies that can accelerate social change.
In this book, Tierney teams up with Professor Joel Fleishman to pool in research and personal experiences and present philanthropists with a guide to engage in philanthropy.
Published in 2003, in Energy at the Crossroads, scientist Vaclav Smil examines the modern world’s biggest problem- how to fulfil the modern world’s energy needs whilst simultaneously preserving the integrity of the biosphere?
Published in 1992, Dirt and Disease by Naomi Rogers provides the readers with the history of the polio epidemic in the United States by focusing on its early years from 1900 to 1920 and its prevalence in the modern world.
Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein is a biography on the life of Warren Buffett. In order to research the book, journalist Roger Lowenstein has three years of unprecedented access to Buffett’s family, colleagues, and friends to give the readers an account of Buffett’s childhood and explain his investment strategy along with his stock buying philosophy.
Published in 2003, in The Earth’s Biosphere, Vaclav Smil tells the readers about Earth’s biosphere from its origins to its long-term future. In the book, Vaclav Smil examines the biosphere’s physics, biology, climatology, ecology, and energy.
Published in 2011, Reinventing Fire by Amory Lovins is a nonfiction book on the subject of Renewable energy and energy efficiency. In this book, Lovins explores converting the United States to almost total reliance on renewable energy sources.
In Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, John Hughton provides the readers with the latest information available on climate change, the science behind it, the physical and human impact of climate change, and how we can adapt to these climate changes.
229) Smallpox: The Death of a Disease- The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer by D.A. Henderson
Donald Henderson was appointed in 1967 as the director of a worldwide campaign to eliminate this disease. In this book, Henderson details how he led the World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate smallpox, how his staff had to cope with natural disasters, and the gargantuan international effort to roll out mass vaccination.
230) Global Health: An Introductory Textbook by Ann Lindstrand, Staffan Bergstrom, and Hans Rosling
In Global Health, the authors try to close the link between the medical profession and society by providing the readers with a simplified text that helps them understand the following- determinants for health, main indicators to measure health and illness, things that cause illness, disability, and death in a large group of people; and the structure of health care services around the world. Global Health tries to address the topic of health from a global perspective.
231) Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
Mountains Beyond Mountains is a biography by Tracy Kidder that traces the life and work of anthropologist and physician, Pail Farmer.
The book is set in Haiti and Boston from the perspective of Tracy Kidder who got study his subject closely. It follows Farmer’s childhood, his education, his life accomplishments, and his work with the social justice organization in Haiti, Peru, and Russia.
The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel that is written from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from Panem, a post-apocalyptic nation in North America.
Panem is divided into 13 districts which are ruled by the Capitol, a technologically advanced metropolis that hosts a televised battle royal death match every year.
The contestants of this death match are children between the ages of 12 to 18 from each of the 12 participating districts. Each district chooses a boy and a girl by lottery to compete in the Hunger Games.
In order to save her sister who gets picked as a competitor, Katniss volunteers herself.
Nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction in 2012, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think is a nonfiction book on the subject of technological innovation.
In this book, the authors try to argue that the technophilanthropist, the rising billion, the DIY innovator, and exponential technologies will solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
It also provides policymakers with a guideline to establish long-term changes that improve the overall standard of living of the world.
Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye is a realistic fiction novel and a coming-of-age story that follows Holden Caulfield, a teenager who deals with angst and alienation.
Told from his perspective, the book follows Caulfield, who is recently expelled from school and hasn’t yet broken the news to his parents.
The book explores the themes of teenage rebellion, depression, identity, and belongingness whilst simultaneously critiquing the superficiality of society.
Team of Rivals by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is a portrait of Abraham Lincoln and even paints a portrait of the many men who served with him in his cabinet from 1861 to 1865.
The book won the 2006 Lincoln Prize and the inaugural Book Prize for American History of the New York Historical Society. It was also adapted into a film starring Daniel Day-Lewis by Steven Spielberg.
Nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Science Fiction in 2021, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro is a science fiction novel.
The book is centered around an Artificial Friend called Klara, who hopes to be picked by a customer and provide companionship. However, when that happens, her life changes forever.
The premise of the book is meant to give the readers the point of view of a robot narrator who explores the question- what it means to love?
Published in 2018, The Coddling of the American Mind is an expansion of an essay written for The Atlantic in 2015 by journalist Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt.
In this book, the authors argue that the excessive use of words like ‘trigger warnings’ and ‘safe spaced’ will have an overall negative effect on university students. It also discusses topics like identity politics, call-out culture, and microaggressions.
Written by Anthony Doerr and published in 2014, All the Light We Cannot See is a war novel set during World War II that is centred around a blind French girl who takes refuge with her uncle after Paris is invaded by Nazi Germany and a young German boy who is accepted into military school. The chapters alternate between the story of the French girl and the German Boy.
Nominated for Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction in 2012, How Children Succeed by Paul Tough is a novel on the subject of parenting and teaching.
In the book, Paul Tough explores what type of teaching and parenting makes a child successful. It draws on research in economics, psychology, and neuroscience.
It helps teachers and parents understand how children develop their personalities, learn to form an opinion, and problem-solve.
Published in 1993 and written by sociologist Peter Drucker, in Post-Capitalist Society, the author discusses how several developed nations have entered a post-capitalism system of production.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a contemporary science fiction novel that combines metafiction and historical fiction genres.
It is a winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and Arthur C. Clarke Award, and was short-listed for the Booker Prize.
In Joanne Baker’s 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Baker tries to simplify and explain the physics behind the common appliances and day-to-day happenings.
For instance, how satellites are held in the orbit of the earth by gravity, how a mirror reflects light, and how electromagnetic waves allow us to communicate with one another in different parts of the world.
The Martian by Andy Weir is a 2011 science fiction novel that follows an American astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars and must survive on the planet with his limited resources.
The book was adapted into a feature-length film starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott.
Published in 2000, Weather for Dummies is a comprehensive guide on all things weather-related. It gives the readers an overview on several weather events and explains weather jargon in detail.
It also gives the readers the history of weather-related myths and proverbs from around the world and explains what constitutes a weather emergency.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel is an adventure fiction novel that follows a young Indian man, Pi Patel in the wake of a shipwreck that leaves him stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Throughout the book, Pi explores issues of spirituality and metaphysics.