By Hilary Brueck
Bill Gates has never been able to pick just one book.
So during an AMA session on Reddit on Tuesday, when a questioner asked Gates about the best book he’d read so far this year, Gates named two:
“There are two amazing books. One is Enlightenment Now by Pinker and another is Factfulness by Rosling,” Gates wrote. “They are both very readable and explain that the world is getting better.”
Pinker has been a favorite of Gates for years. In Pinker’s book, which was released earlier this month, he argues that people are happier, healthier, wealthier, and safer than they’ve ever been.
He says that’s not just true in the US; it holds up around the world.
Gates actually de-throned his old favorite book of all time, “Better Angels” — another Pinker book — to make room for Pinker’s new “Enlightenment Now” at the top of Gates’ list of all-time favorite books.
Here’s what Gates had to say in praise of his new No. 1 book on his blog:
“Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.”
The other book Gates recommends comes from Swedish doctor Hans Rosling, who was an adviser to the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Rosling helped set up Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Sweden.
Rosling died in February 2017 at 68 years old, but his son and daughter-in-law finished up the final chapters of his book for him, and it’s set to be released this April. It’s called “Factfulness” and details 10 of the most common ways we’re wrong about the world.
“This book is my last battle in my lifelong mission to fight devastating ignorance,” Rosling said in 2017, days before he died.
Gates called it “an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world” and his wife, Melinda, echoed the praise: “Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can,” she wrote in her review.
Bill and Melinda Gates were good friends of Rosling, and before he died he had one last request, which the couple detailed on Bill Gates’ blog in February 2017.
“He simply hoped that we would promise to keep spreading the message he was so passionate about: that the world is making progress, and that policy decisions should be grounded in data,” they wrote.
Both of Bill Gates’ picks fulfill that dying wish. They are extremely hopeful books; both suggest, in their own way, that we’re living in the best moment humans have experienced yet.
It’s a trend that Gates, in his characteristically optimistic way, expects will continue. To aid that trend, Gates funnels billions of dollars toward fighting some of the world’s most desperate problems, such as advancing child and maternal health, improving education, and working on eradicating extreme poverty.
Originally published at www.businessinsider.com
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