Make It New Grads

Bill Gates says this is the book every college grad needs to read

Bill Gates
Photo by Darren McCollester
Bill Gates

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."

The 700-page work of non-fiction isn't exactly a quick read, Gates admits, "but please put this one on your reading list to get to someday," he says. "It is the most inspiring book I have ever read."

That's particularly impressive given that Gates spends an hour reading every day and gets through about 50 books a year. "Reading is my favorite way to learn about a new topic," he says.

The class of 2017 seems to be listening. The Washington Post reported that Pinker's book is now "surging on Amazon," and, "as of Tuesday morning, the book had risen 605,000 percent to claim the number-two spot on Amazon's movers-and-shakers list."

Look for more exclusive pieces of advice from icons like Melinda Gates, Dave Ramsey and others over the next few weeks. Follow along using the hashtag #MakeItNewGrads. And don't miss: Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates agree on the best business book ever written