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


Reading books is an excellent habit, that people of all ages should inculcate. It is especially crucial for professionals in leadership positions. More importantly, they should read all types of books, every once in a while, and take a break from reading only business books. In this era of digital content streaming, reading offers a number of benefits like strengthening the mind, improving cognitive abilities, reducing stress, and aiding sleep. The tech mogul, Bill Gates is an avid reader and has shared top recommendations from his reading list that include both non-fiction and fiction, based on science and private memoirs.

The Choice, by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

This book is a personal memoir and a guidebook for processing trauma, merged into one. The story narrates the journey of Eger’s life beginning from the time when she was sent to Auschwitz along with her family. It entails tales of surviving unimaginable horrors until she finally moves to the USA and becomes a therapist. It is an extremely inspiring story of winning over odds that instills hope and positivity. Eger’s unique background gifts her with amazing insight on handling personal trauma.

“I think many people will find comfort right now from her suggestions on how to handle difficult situations.”

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Some books cover such a vast spectrum of ideas and thoughts that they linger in your mind, long after you have finished reading them. Cloud Atlas falls in that category of books. The plot is rather complex, spread across six inter-linked stories taking place centuries apart. The book resembles a roller-coaster ride where all the narratives culminate at the final endpoint offering a catharsis that is extremely rare.

“If you’re in the mood for a really compelling tale about the best and worst of humanity, I think you’ll find yourself as engrossed in it as I was.”

The Ride of a Lifetime, by Bob Iger

Serving as the CEO of Walt Disney for fifteen years since 2005, Bob Iger is one of corporate America’s finest. The book is an illustrious recounting of his career right from the beginning. It is especially fascinating for people intrigued by the media industry. It offers an entertaining read enriched by business insights. Aggressive take-overs, inside fighting in Disney, all important details find a place in Iger’s account of Disney’s most transformative phase.

“This is one of the best business books I’ve read in several years. Iger does a terrific job explaining what it’s really like to be the CEO of a large company.”

The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry

Although the current Covid-19 crisis compels us to face unprecedented challenges, a historical parallel can be found in the 1918 influenza pandemic. Barry shares an illustrious account of the lethal disease and how science helped the human race to triumph over the tragedy.

“Even though 1918 was a very different time from today, The Great Influenza is a good reminder that we’re still dealing with many of the same challenges.”

Good Economics for Hard Times, by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

The 2019 Nobel Prize winners in Economics, Banerjee and Duflo’s latest book focuses on inequality and political divisions by exploring policy debates that are given prime importance in the world’s most wealthy countries. The book makes an attempt to diagnose the global shortcomings in the most simplistic terms. It emphasizes that there are no rigid economic laws preventing us from “building a more humane world.”

“Banerjee and Duflo… are two of the smartest economists working today. Fortunately for us, they’re also very good at making economics accessible to the average person.”

The interesting mix of varied topics that these five book recommendations from Bill Gates cover can fill the leisure hours of any person with enriching insights and experiences and help in enjoying their free time more productively.


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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