Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Christmas is over and we just have a few more days to bid adieu to the darkest year ever. That in itself is a grand reason to celebrate and no celebration is complete without gifting – either to your loved ones or to yourself. Books always make great gifts and if they are from Bill Gates’ recommendation list, they become extra-special.

Bill Gates is well known for his voracious reading and millions of his fans eagerly wait for his book recommendations. Like always, Gates didn’t disappoint his fans and shared a list of his favorite books from 2020, for the holidays. Although these books are not exactly festive, but they are definitely enriching reads.

  1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Prison and racism might appear to be a bleak subject for the festive season, but if the present crisis taught us anything, it is that we must recognize our shortcomings – the sooner the better. This is one of those rare books that has meaningfully transformed the world to a better place. The book was first published in 2010 and has been so crucial in changing the dialogue about racial equality in US that was cited in judicial decision-making and lasted over 5 years on the bestseller list of New York Times.

The book’s 10th anniversary edition was published this year, with a fresh introduction by Alexander that described the book’s impact and also discussed the current state of criminal justice reform.

“I finished the book more convinced than ever that we need a more just approach to sentencing and more investment in communities of color” –Bill Gates

  1. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

In the current times, specialization is given extreme importance. For instance, the general perception is that when an athlete starts early, spots the sport that’s right for him and practices endlessly to hone his skills, he attains greatness. In this book, Epstein advocates a different perspective. He emphasizes the role of a broad range of general skills in any given discipline rather than obtaining specialization. He states that apart from a miniscule of disciplines, like classical music, garnering a wider range of generic skills is more important for attaining success.

“I think his ideas even help explain some of Microsoft’s success, because we hired people who had real breadth within their fields and across domains,” -Bill Gates

  1. Breath From Salt by Bijal P. Trivedi

A book about cystic fibrosis might appear to be an odd choice for holiday reading or gifting but if you are looking for an inspirational read then your search should end here. Breath From Salt is an moving story about a small organization of extremely determined parents and doctors who worked with a new biotech company to tackle a terrible disease that victimizes or kills children and youth – and they were successful. The people who form the main characters of this book are actually giving new hope to children suffering from cystic fibrosis. The journey that the book traces is so heartening that it lights up the readers’ spirit with a new optimism, even if they are unaware of the subject.

“This book is truly uplifting.” -Bill Gates

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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