If I had been able to read The Song of the Cell by Siddhartha Mukherjee in school, I might have fallen in love with biology a lot earlier.
Growing up, I always looked forward to summer vacations because it meant more time for reading. My dad thought it was kind of funny that I’d check out so many books that the librarians wouldn’t give me new ones until I returned some.
I guess that habit has stuck with me. When I go on vacation now, I take what is probably a ridiculous number of books along. (Some have been around the world several times without being opened but I will eventually read them.) Sometimes I can get in as much as a book a day.
One book I read recently that I’m absolutely nuts about is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of our Nature. This one took more than a day to read because it’s over 700 pages, and it deals with one of the most complex issues in history—the history of violence. Pinker makes the case that over time, humans have become much less violent and more humane. This got me thinking about how we can achieve more positive outcomes in the world today through the work of our foundation.
Another great book I read recently was The Quest, by Daniel Yergin. For anyone interested in the dynamics shaping our energy future and all of the innovation around energy, it’s a fantastic book. In addition to my review of his book, I’ve also posted a response from the author to the follow-up questions I had about the important topics covered in his book.
I’ll be posting a review soon of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, a book by Ezra Vogel. It’s a biography of the former Chinese communist leader, who was well-known both for the brutal 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protestors and other oppressive tactics, and for the market reforms in the last quarter of the 21st century that transformed the country economically, socially, and politically. It’s also a bit on the long side, but completely worthwhile.
Other books I read recently that I’d recommend include:
Between family trips and some other travel I’ll be doing this summer, I probably have more reading time planned than I think I’ve had for a very long time, maybe ever since I started work. Still, I’m probably being too optimistic about what I’ll be getting to, because I’m taking a ton of books with me. I’ll share those on the site as I finish reading them. Two books that I’ve been reading recently and hope to finish soon are:
I also enjoy exchanging book recommendations and have asked several people I know to send me their own reading lists which I plan to share on the site. I hope you will share your own book recommendations in the commenting section below.