Bill Gates (with 5 adorable puppies) unveils his summer book list

Bill Gates is many things. A tech mogul, innovative genius, philanthropist, avid reader and apparently he is also obsessed with puppies The last one is very true as on his blog, GatesNotes, he recommends five books for your summer reading pleasure using a variety of puppies to reenact the plots.

But though he uses the cutest of creatures he writes, “When I pulled together this list of five that you might enjoy this summer, I realized that several of my choices wrestle with big questions. What makes a genius tick? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where does humanity come from, and where are we headed?”

Here are his five recommended books for summer 2018 and watch the video with adorable puppies below.

1. Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson

Gates said he has always been fascinated by da Vinci and his wide range of interests and there is no better biographer than Isaacson. “Isaacson also does a great job of explaining why Leonardo’s work is so revered. Unless you’re an art historian, you might even wonder if paintings like the Mona Lisa are famous just for being famous. But Walter shows how Leonardo’s genius is in the details,” writes Gates.

2. Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler.

Gates goes a little dark with his next pick. The book centers around Bowler, a professor, who is diagnosed with colon cancer and wants to understand why and how to deal with this death sentence. “The central questions in this book really resonated with me. On one hand, it’s nihilistic to think that every outcome is simply random. I have to believe that the world is better when we act morally, and that people who do good things deserve a somewhat better fate on average than those who don’t,” he writes. Gates finds it to be a surprisingly funny memoir. 

RELATED: Check out Bill Gates top summer reads from 2017: 

Bill Gates top summer reads of 2017
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Bill Gates top summer reads of 2017
"Hillbilly Elegy" by JD Vance
Vance, now a successful venture capitalist, grew up poor in the hills of the Appalachia

"Hillbilly Elegy" is his account of life during that time — dark moments, times of joy, and Vance's perspective on the culture that pervades life in America's forgotten towns.

"While the book offers insights into some of the complex cultural and family issues behind poverty," Gates writes, "the real magic lies in the story itself and Vance's bravery in telling it."

"A Full Life" by Jimmy Carter

After having written more than 24 books already, President Carter's memoir about growing up in the small town of Plains, Georgia still reads as a quick, impressive book, Gates writes.

"I loved reading about Carter's improbable rise to the world's highest office," he says. "The book will help you understand how growing up in rural Georgia in a house without running water, electricity, or insulation shaped — for better and for worse — his time in the White House."

The stories may be from another time, but Gates says they carry a distinct timeliness as people's trust in political institutions (and the people running them) are at near rock-bottom.

"Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah

Noah, host of "The Daily Show," recounts his experiences growing up with a black South African mother and a white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa in the late 1980s.

His book is equal mixture heartbreaking memoir and laugh-filled comedy, according to Gates, a self-admitted longtime fan of "The Daily Show."

"Much of Noah's story of growing up in South Africa is tragic," he says. "Yet, as anyone who watches his nightly monologues knows, his moving stories will often leave you laughing."

"Homo Deus" by Yuval Noah Harari

Harari's most recent book makes him a repeat appearance on Gates' summer reading list. (Last year, it was "Sapiens.")

"Homo Deus" is the follow-up book to "Sapiens," as it discusses what might come of societies as they evolve into the future.

"So far, the things that have shaped society — what we measure ourselves by — have been either religious rules about how to live a good life, or more earthly goals like getting rid of sickness, hunger, and war," Gates writes. "What would the world be like if we actually achieved those things?"

"The Heart" by Maylis de Kerangal

The only novel on Gates' list, "The Heart" is about as close to creative nonfiction as fiction gets, Gates says.

The story involves a man dying in an accident, after which his parents decide to donate his heart. "But the plot is secondary to the strength of its words and characters," Gates writes. "The book uses beautiful language to connect you deeply with people who may be in the story for only a few minutes."

The recommendation is courtesy of his wife Melinda, he says, and now he's passing it along to the public.


3. Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

Another book about Lincoln, but this one is particularly interesting as it blends together fact and fiction. Gates writes, “It’s basically a long conversation among 166 ghosts, including Lincoln’s deceased son. I got new insight into the way Lincoln must have been crushed by the weight of both grief and responsibility.”

4. Origin Story: A Big History of Everything, by David Christian

Gates is a big fan of Christian, saying his course,  Big History, is one of his all-time favorites. He labels this book as being a great introduction to the course. “Understanding where humanity comes from is crucial to shaping where we go next. Origin Story is an up-to-date history of everything that will leave you with a greater appreciation of our place in the universe.”

5. Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund

Gates says this is a fascinating read by the famous global health lecturer. “The bulk of the book is devoted to ten instincts that keep us from seeing the world factfully. These range from the fear instinct (we pay more attention to scary things) to the size instinct (standalone numbers often look more impressive than they really are) to the gap instinct (most people fall between two extremes,” writes Gates. The French Bulldog puppy also made this book look particularly interesting.

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