If avid reader Bill Gates could give every member of the class of 2017 a graduation present, it would be, fittingly, a book. Specifically, a copy of "The Better Angels of Our Nature," by Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker.
"Pinker makes a persuasive argument that the world is getting better, that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history," the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft writes on Mic.
"When you tell people the world is improving, they often look at you like you're either naive or crazy," he says. "But it's true. And once you understand it, you start to see the world differently."
This level of optimism "doesn't mean you ignore the serious problems we face," he says. "It just means you believe they can be solved, and you're moved to act on that belief."