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The 7 Books Bill Gates Wants You to Read

The brainy billionaire says you’ll rip through one of his picks in ‘three hours tops…because it’s funny and smart as hell.’ Sounds a bit like him, no?

Kim Lachance Shandrow

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You don’t become the world’s richest man by wasting away the day binge-watching Netflix. You learn, you grow, you hustle. And you read, and a hell of a lot. Heavy reads, light reads, even breezy beach reads from time to time.

Related: (Slideshow) The 7 Books Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read When They’re Discouraged

We’re talking, of course, about Bill Gates: Inventor, philanthropist and voracious reader. Keeping up with his own tradition, the Microsoft co-founder recently took to his blog to publish his annual “beach reading (and more)” list, a collection of books he thinks everyone should add to their summer reading roundup.

Most of his selections, which he says made him “think or laugh, or, in some cases, do both,” are as cerebral as you’d expect, though a couple of surprising easy reads made it into the mix, too. Seems Gates, 59, is lightening up a bit with age.

Looking back, he credits much of his entrepreneurial success to reading. “I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid,” he said, “and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.” Apparently even in the summer.

With the first day of summer coming up on June 21, there’s plenty of time to dig into Gates’s picks. Check out his recommendations from your local library or spring for them at the neighborhood bookstore. Happy reading.

Related: 5 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Greatest Asset: You

Here are the seven titles that made the cut:

1. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

(Touchstone Books, 2013) by Allie Brosh

Why he recommends it: “You will rip through it in three hours, tops. But you’ll wish it went on longer, because it’s funny and smart as hell. I must have interrupted Melinda a dozen times to read to her passages that made me laugh out loud.”

2. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True

(Free Press, 2012) by Richard Dawkins

Why he recommends it: “It’s an engaging, well-illustrated science textbook offering compelling answers to big questions, like ‘how did the universe form?’ and ‘what causes earthquakes?’ It’s also a plea for readers of all ages to approach mysteries with rigor and curiosity.”

3. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) by Randall Munroe

Why he recommends it:  “It’s an entertaining read, and you’ll also learn a bit about things like ballistics, DNA, the oceans, the atmosphere, and lightning along the way.”

4. XKCD: Volume 0

(Breadpig, 2010) by Randall Munroe

Why he recommends it: “They research press conferences and find out that sometimes it’s good to serve food that’s related to the subject of the conference. The last panel is all the reporters dead on the floor because they ate arsenic. It’s that kind of humor, which not everybody loves, but I do.” (Ouch, that hurts, Gates.)

5. On Immunity: An Inoculation

(Graywolf Press, 2014) by Eula Biss

Why he recommends it: “When I stumbled across this book on the Internet, I thought it might be a worthwhile read. I had no idea what a pleasure reading it would be. Biss, an essayist and university lecturer, examines what lies behind people’s fears of vaccinating their children. Like many of us, she concludes that vaccines are safe, effective, and almost miraculous tools for protecting children against needless suffering.”

6. How to Lie With Statistics

(W. W. Norton & Company, 1993) by Darrell Huff

Why he recommends it: “One chapter shows you how visuals can be used to exaggerate trends and give distorted comparisons — a timely reminder, given how often infographics show up in your Facebook and Twitter feeds these days.”

7. Should We Eat Meat? Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory

(Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) by Vaclav Smil

Why he recommends it: “The richer the world gets, the more meat it eats. And the more meat it eats, the bigger the threat to the planet. How do we square this circle? Vaclav Smil takes his usual clear-eyed view of the whole landscape, from meat’s role in human evolution to hard questions about animal cruelty.”

To see Gates explain why he likes each book in his own words, check out the clip below:

Related: 9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Kim Lachance Shandrow is a Los Angeles-based tech journalist who specializes in writing about iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android phones, as well as social media marketing, startups, streaming TV, apps and green technology. Her work has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, MSNBC.com, NBC.com, and in The Los Angeles Times and The International Business Times. She also consults for Ameba, a Canadian multiplatform children’s streaming TV startup.

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Self Development

How You Can Make Failing Part Of Your Growth Strategy

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

Entrepreneur

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The concept of ‘fail forward’ basically means that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Once you shift your mindset regarding failure, it becomes an asset to your growth. What’s not to like about learning?

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

1. Take risks

If it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it, then it’s okay to embrace the idea of taking more risks. Try new things and see if they’ll work. If they don’t, then at least you’ve tried and learnt.

Related: Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune

2. Learn constantly

Failing and learning shouldn’t be one-offs or isolated incidents. They should weave together in a constant stream of learning that builds and rewards as we move forward. That way, we can improve and eventually succeed more often than we fail.

3. Search and reapply

Learn from each other’s mistakes. Marketing is a spectator sport — you can learn from watching each other’s brand activities — both the wins and losses.

4. Accept failure

This one is the hardest step. It’s not easy to fail. It’s not something we’re taught to do. It distracts us from our mission and it takes time away from being successful. Or does it? If you start failing forward daily, not only for yourself, but for your teams as well, you will create an environment where failing forward is accepted and embraced as part of a learning culture that seeks continuous improvement. That improvement includes actively learning from your individual and collective mistakes.

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

Prev1 of 9

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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