In a brand new blog post, the billionaire inventor and philanthropist has shared his five favorite books of 2014 — many of which touch on today’s prevailing economic issues and business trends.
Gates calls Business Adventures by John Brooks, for instance, “the best business book I’ve ever read.” Given to Gates by Warren Buffett, the out-of-print collection of New Yorker articles from the 1960s hones in on different case studies — price-fixing at General Electric, the flop of the Ford Edsel and missteps at Xerox, to name a few — in order to teach greater strategic lessons.
Gates also calls How Asia Works by Joe Studwell one of the best — and most aptly-timed — reads of 2014. As China recently surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy, Gates says the book aims to answer “why some of the continent’s countries [Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China] grew so fast while others languished.”
And it would be hard to compile any list of the best business books of the year without mentioning Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century — which “sparked a fantastic global discussion this year about inequality,” Gates writes. While Gates does differ on certain “secondary points and policy prescriptions” offered by Piketty, he agrees with the book’s basic premise: “that inequality is a growing problem and governments should play a role in reducing it.”
Rounding out Gates’ holiday reading list is Vaclav Smil’s Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization, which details “how our ability to make things with less material — say, soda cans that need less aluminum — makes them cheaper, which actually encourages more production.”
Gates has also included his favorite novel of the year, The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simison, which is a love story. For the full rundown, check out his blog post here.