Bill Gates names the 5 best books of 2018

Bill Gates recently shared the annual list of books he's read and loved over the past year.

The list is "pretty eclectic this year," Gates writes in his blog, Gates Notes. "From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone."

Here are the books Gates thinks you should pick up over the holidays.  

Educated, by Tara Westover: In Westover's bestselling memoir, she reflects on her childhood growing up in a Mormon survivalist household. Due to her family's beliefs, she didn't set foot in a classroom until age 17. Westover, who taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT, went on to attend Brigham Young University, Harvard University, and Cambridge University.

"I think education is really just a process of self-discovery—of developing a sense of self and what you think. I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing," Westover told Gates in an interview.

"Tara’s process of self-discovery is beautifully captured in Educated," notes Gates. "It’s the kind of book that I think everyone will enjoy, no matter what genre you usually pick up."

Army of None, by Paul Scharre: Scharre, a former U.S. Army Ranger and Pentagon defense expert, breaks down the complexities of AI in warfare into clear explanations, writes Gates. Scharre offers insight into the computer science, military strategy, history, philosophy, psychology, and ethics that underlie machine-driven warfare.

Also see: Obama's essential reads for challenging times

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou: Carreyrou is the Wall Street Journal reporter who, in 2015, exposed the scandal that brought down Silicon Valley startup Theranos. His book offers an insider's look into the rise and fall of the multibillion-dollar company.

"This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion," writes Gates. While it tackles serious ethical questions, the book "is ultimately a thriller with a tragic ending... full of bizarre details that will make you gasp out loud."

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari: "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," writes Gates. Harari lays out historical and philosophical perspectives on this century's most pressing issues, including nationalism, education, and immigration.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe: "I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately," says Gates, who now meditates up to three times a week.

The book opens with Puddicombe's journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk, and then becomes an explainer of how to mediate. It’s a perfect introduction to anyone interested in meditation, says Gates (Gates, Gates Notes, 12/3 [1]; Gates, Gates Notes, 12/3 [2]; Gates, Gates Notes, 12/3 [3]; Gates, Gates Notes, 12/3 [4]; Gates, Gates Notes, 12/3 [5], Elkins, CNBC, 12/3).

Keep reading: All 13 books Bill Gates has recommended about education


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