Bill Gates is a software mogul, a billionaire philanthropist, and an avid reader—reporting he reads at least one book per week (or 50 titles per year). As a result, he’s emerged as a trusted authority on book recommendations. This year, he’s chosen Lavin Speaker Jared Diamond’s new book Upheaval as a summer must-read.
“I’m a big fan of everything Jared has written, and his latest is no exception,” Gates writes. “The book explores how societies react during moments of crisis. He uses a series of fascinating case studies to show how nations managed existential challenges like civil war, foreign threats, and general malaise. It sounds a bit depressing, but I finished the book even more optimistic about our ability to solve problems than I started.”
Gates also sat down with the celebrated author and historian to have a longer conversation about how societies have creatively solved their biggest problems. Diamond admits he became “cautiously optimistic” while researching some of the world’s most successful negotiations, and thinking about how to apply those insights to our current problems. “Jared doesn’t go as far as to predict that we’ll successfully address our most serious challenges,” Gates’ notes, “but he shows that there’s a path through crisis and that we can choose to take it.”