Careers

Bill Gates says this classic coming-of-age novel is one of his favorites

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It's no secret how much Bill Gates loves to read. The Microsoft co-founder reads every night, has reviewed hundreds of books on his blog and regularly shares reading lists.

Reading has been a passion of Gates' since he was a boy. He once told The New York Times that reading, "is one of the chief ways that I learn, and has been since I was a kid."

Given his life-long love of learning, it is unsurprising that some of his favorite novels are from his childhood. On his blog, Gates shares that his favorite book of all time is one he read when he was just a teenager, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

Another favorite, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, is also a popular book for young adults.

The Microsoft mogul enjoyed this book so much that he has passed it on to his son. "One of my favorite books. I've read it to my son," he writes.

"A Separate Peace" explores themes of identity, masculinity and friendship. But what Gates loves the most about Knowles' work is the ways in which the main characters must navigate difficult situations.

"It's really," he explains, "about the bargains we make with the world."

He ends his review by posing a question that seems to be central to many of his favorite books: "How do we grow up?"

Indeed, The Catcher in the Rye also explores the idea of adolescence and adulthood. Gates wrote of the book, "It acknowledges that young people are a little confused, but can be smart, and see things that adults don't."

Gates is not the only business leader whose views are shaped by fiction. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' favorite book, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, greatly impacted his leadership style and Elon Musk says that Lord of the Flies by William Golding inspired him to want to save mankind.

Just like Bezos and Musk, Gates believes that reading has been essential to his success. "You don't really start getting old until you stop learning," he tells Time. "Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career and in the work that I do now with my foundation.

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