Each December, Bill Gates reveals a list of his favorite books from the year. Some of the books are new, some are old, and they run the gamut from history and politics, to business, memoirs, graphic novels, and more. In 2016, for example, his list included titles like Shoe Dog, the memoir of Nike co-founder Phil Knight; and The Myth of the Strong Leader, an in-depth survey of political leadership over the past 100 years, by Archie Brown.
“Reading is my favorite way to indulge my curiosity,” the Microsoft co-founder wrote on his blog. “Although I’m lucky that I get to meet with a lot of interesting people and visit fascinating places through my work, I still think books are the best way to explore new topics that interest you.”
With 2017 quickly coming to a close, Gates has once again named his top picks for the year. So, whether you’re a self-proclaimed bookworm or plan on reading more in the New Year, you’d be ill-advised not to include these titles on your 2018 reading list.
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
This illustrated memoir tells the personal tale of a family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam and what it’s like to simultaneously be both a parent and a refugee. A thought-provoking graphic novel, The Best We Could Do is Bui’s debut work.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
In this vivid tale, author Matthew Desmond chronicles the journey of eight Milwaukee families in their quest to keep a roof over their heads. A book that has been described as “wrenching and revelatory” by The Nation, Evicted sheds light on what it’s like to live in extreme poverty in 21st century America.
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
In his memoir, comedian Eddie Izzard reflects on a childhood marked by the loss of his mother, boarding school, and alternative sexuality. An “honest and generous” account of his life in comedy, film, politics, and more, Believe Me is a personal tale laced with Izzard’s signature brand of intelligent humor.
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, The Sympathizer tells the captivating story of a communist double-agent who comes to America after the Fall of Saigon. While living in Los Angeles, the narrator forges close relationships with the very Vietnamese refugees he is spying on. Authored by Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer is a gripping tale of love, friendship, and espionage.
Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil
Last but certainly not least, Gates recommends Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil. In this book, Smil takes a comprehensive look at how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging cultures to modern day.