The relationship between reading and intelligence has been the subject of scientific research for most of the last century. While it’s now widely accepted that reading does make you smarter, its level of impact remains unclear. With an IQ of 160, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is quite rightly seen as one of the smartest people of the 21stcentury. But does he conform to the theory that the most intelligent people are the biggest reading fanatics?
Bill Gates is an avid reader and frequently features book reviews on his blog, Gates Notes. With an impressive reading speed of 750 words per minute, Gates rattles through around one book per week. He mainly tackles nonfiction books on topics that align with his broader interests, i.e., leadership, genomics, economics, and memoirs.
As a multi-billionaire bookworm, Bill Gates has a lavish library of books to his name. He even owns one of the most expensive books ever sold. Back in 1994, Bill paid $35 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Codex Leicester’ notebook, which he describes as “genius”!
Want to know how Bill Gates exercises his brain at the age of 64? Here’s some insight into Bill Gates’ approach to reading, plus a look at the titles he’s enjoyed so far in 2020.
The Art of Reading
You may be thinking, “how does a busy philanthropist, public speaker, scientist, and businessman like Bill Gates find time to read?”. The secret lies in the formation of habits.
Writing on his blog in 2016, Bill said:
“Reading books is my favorite way to learn about a new topic. I’ve been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading.”
So the trick is to allocate a sufficient amount of time to reading, even if you’re busy. If you want to retain more information and really engage with the books you’re reading, you need to sit down for around an hour at a time.
Bill Gates’ Reading List
What has Bill Gates been reading to keep his brain active?
The Choice follows the story of a 16-year-old protagonist who was sent to Auschwitz in 1994. When the camp is eventually liberated, Edith moves to the U.S and becomes a therapist. Gates describes the book as “a hopeful story but a very tough story”.
According to Gates, Cloud Atlas is the kind of novel “you’ll think and talk about for a long time after you finish it”. The narrative is made up of 6 inter-related stories set in different times and places. It demonstrates how self-centered and bad people can be compared to how supportive and good people can be.
Named as one of the most influential people of 2019, The Ride of a Lifetime is focused on the lessons that Iger learned on his journey as the CEO of Walt Disney. Bill notes: “He did a really good job at explaining what the job of a CEO is”.
The Great Influenza is a tale about the deadliest pandemic in history, which struck at the height of WWII. “He explains how infection works and how immune systems work”, according to Bill.
In his blog post, Gates writes: “The book takes on inequality and political divisions by focusing on policy debates that are at the forefront in wealthy countries like the United States.”
Will you be reading any of Bill Gates’s book recommendations?