In a delightful little video from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the tech billionaire and philanthropist talks about the favorite books he’s read this year. It’s an eclectic collection: Thomas Piketty’s volume on income inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century shares equal space with fiction novel The Rosie Effect as well as a book from the late 1970s, Business Adventures, by John Brooks. It’s a rare insight into the mind of one of our biggest business and cultural leaders of the last several decades.
Check out the video below for the whole list, and a charmingly presented stop-motion Lego film starring Bill Gates himself.
Simply adorable, right?
It’s telling, too, that one of our richest men spent his extremely valuable time on at least two books that deal with the uneven distribution of wealth in our current age: Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which analyzes hte history of wealth in the U.S. and the various regulatory and other factors that have staved off a full-on Karl Marx-style future, and Vaclav Smil’s Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization, which focuses on the affluent world cultures and their material consumption.
These books are well in line with Gates’ philanthropic activities, of course, both in the medical, world health, and education sectors. He calls Joe Studwell’s How Asia Works “a very important book because there have been some economic miracles in Asia.”
New Yorker contributor John Brooks wrote Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street back in the late 1970s, but Gates calls it “the best book I’ve read about business.”
Ok, so Gates isn’t the most effusive reviewer (his review of The Rosie Effect says “you’ll learn a little bit about genetics.”) but this short list of great books would look great on anyone’s bookshelf, and might even change a mind or two along the way.
Also, whoever did that adorable video should do more of them.