He calls this year's selections "highly giftable."
"A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives," the 63-year-old technologist, investor and philanthropist wrote in his latest post on Gates Notes.
The eclectic list includes FT and McKinsey's Business Book of 2018, bestselling author Yuval Noah Harari's latest work on humankind, a self-help book that advocates 10 minutes of meditation a day, a coming-of-age memoir and a book about the use of autonomous weapons in warfare.
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
Westover grew up in a fundamentalist and survivalist Mormon home in Idaho and did not have any formal education until she left home at 17. She wasn't homeschooled either and spent her childhood working in her father's junkyard. With pure grit and a voracious desire to learn, she went on to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.
Her memoir chronicles her journey and was chosen as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2018 and as Amazon Editors' Best Book of 2018.
2. Army of None, by Paul Scharre
The risks and benefits of artificial intelligence have been widely discussed, but defense expert Paul Scharre focuses on the use of the technology in warfare in his book.
The former Army Ranger led the working group that drafted the government’s policy on autonomous weapons. His book, while touting the advantages of such weapons, discusses the ethical questions that surround letting machines decide to take human life.
3. Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou
The story of Silicon Valley start-up Theranos has captivated readers in 2018. Two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter John Carreyou's book gives readers an insider's look at the spectacular collapse of a company once valued at $10 billion. Described as "chilling" by The New York Times Book Review, it won the FT and McKinsey's Business Book of 2018 award.
A movie based on the events described in the book is currently in the works with Jennifer Lawrence set to star as Theranos founder, Elizabeth Holmes.
4. The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe
Gates and his wife Melinda have only recently started meditating, and he described Puddicombe's explainer as a great introduction for anyone looking to try practicing mindfulness. This is the only book on the list not published in 2018.
Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a digital health company that provides guided meditations online and has over a million paying subscribers.
5. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari
Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari has built a solid reputation and enjoyed tremendous success and popularity despite criticism from other experts. In his latest book he turns his focus to the present-day after exploring the past and future in Sapiens and Homo Deus, respectively.
Lessons for the 21st Century is a collection of essays that address urgent issues the world is confronted with today, including fake news and the rise of authoritarianism.