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The Bill Gates Summer Reading List

Most people probably wouldn’t consider Bill Gates a value investor.

After all, Microsoft was basically the poster child for the tech boom of the 1990s – a boom that Warren Buffett famously did not participate inand the company continues to be considered a “growth” stock today.

But I’d have to disagree.

Bill Gates might not be picking stocks, but he still thinks and acts a lot like a value investor. At the very least, he has more than a few things in common with Warren Buffett. Here are a few examples:

  1. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are very close friends, and the two often play bridge (and sometimes ping pong) together.
  2. Gates sits on the Board of Berkshire Hathaway and Berkshire is the largest holding in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation portfolio.
  3. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s portfolio is managed by a guy called Michael Larson. Larson is a buy-and-hold value investor, with a strategy similar to Buffett’s. Since Larson started working for Gates in 1994, the billionaire’s net worth has increased from $5 billion to $80 billion.
  4. And, just like Warren Buffett (who reads 500 pages a day now and used to read 1,000 pages a day when he first started his career) and Charlie Munger (whose secret is to “go to bed smarter than when you woke up), Bill Gates is a voracious reader and reads over 50 books a year.

So, if you’re looking for some good books to read this summer and want to expand your knowledge, here are 5 books that Bill Gates is recommending for 2019:


 

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

by Jared Diamond

Gates: I’m a big fan of everything Jared has written, and his latest is no exception. The book explores how societies react during moments of crisis. He uses a series of fascinating case studies to show how nations managed existential challenges like civil war, foreign threats, and general malaise. It sounds a bit depressing, but I finished the book even more optimistic about our ability to solve problems than I started.


Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Mysterious, Miraculous World of Blood

by Rose George

Gates: If you get grossed out by blood, this one probably isn’t for you. But if you’re like me and find it fascinating, you’ll enjoy this book by a British journalist with an especially personal connection to the subject. I’m a big fan of books that go deep on one specific topic, so Nine Pints (the title refers to the volume of blood in the average adult) was right up my alley. It’s filled with super-interesting facts that will leave you with a new appreciation for blood.


A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

Gates: It seems like everyone I know has read this book. I finally joined the club after my brother-in-law sent me a copy, and I’m glad I did. Towles’s novel about a count sentenced to life under house arrest in a Moscow hotel is fun, clever, and surprisingly upbeat. Even if you don’t enjoy reading about Russia as much as I do (I’ve read every book by Dostoyevsky), A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story that anyone can enjoy.


Presidents of War

by Michael Beschloss

Gates: My interest in all aspects of the Vietnam War is the main reason I decided to pick up this book. By the time I finished it, I learned a lot not only about Vietnam but about the eight other major conflicts the U.S. entered between the turn of the 19th century and the 1970s. Beschloss’s broad scope lets you draw important cross-cutting lessons about presidential leadership.


The Future of Capitalism

by Paul Collier

Gates: Collier’s latest book is a thought-provoking look at a topic that’s top of mind for a lot of people right now. Although I don’t agree with him about everything—I think his analysis of the problem is better than his proposed solutions—his background as a development economist gives him a smart perspective on where capitalism is headed.


If you’re interested in books, you should check out our free E-book on how to value invest like the professionals. 

Have you read any of these books? If so, let us know what you think in the comments section!