Even if you love reading, it’s natural to gravitate towards specific genres or authors.

But we should all seek to challenge ourselves and read things that are out of comfort zone, according to Microsoft co-founder and self-made billionaire Bill Gates, an avid reader who loves to share his favorite book recommendations.

“A lot of people lose curiosity in their 20s or 30s,” Gates told Harvard students in a Q&A. “So if you hand them a big, thick book, they’re like, ‘What? Am I going to read that?'”


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Why we should read academic books

Gates thinks that people don’t take the time to read “what’s fairly academic and super profound” even though those reads are the most important ones when it comes to developing new ideas, broadening your horizons and rethinking your relationship with the world.

In a world where our attention spans are drastically shortening and digital content aims to be as digestible as possible, it’s normal to feel slightly uncomfortable at the thought of tackling such complex, intense reads.

But growth does happen outside of our comfort zone, and it’s a concept that should also be applied to the information we consume if we don’t want to end up in a self-limiting bubble.

Bill Gates reveals two of his favorite educational reads


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So, what does Gates like to read to stimulate his mind? He is a big fan of renowned psychologist and author Steven Pinker, who regularly studies optimism. Gates recently shared that Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature is his new favorite book of all time.

He also loves Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, which he called one of the most educational books he’s ever read, according to CNBC. The book challenges the misconceptions we have about society and human progress because of our own subjective nature, and focuses on replacing them with actual facts.