Bill Gates' new 'favorite book of all time'—and how you can download a free chapter

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Bust out your bookmark — billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has a new favorite book, and it'll make you feel optimistic.

Gates touts "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress" by Steven Pinker as his new top read, beating out a previous pick written by the author, "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined."

"Enlightenment," Gates claims, is, "like 'Better Angels' on steroids.''


Gates recently tweeted praise for "Enlightenment," writing that he "can't wait for readers to get their hands on" the tome. Anyone who's interested can sign up via Gates' blog to be a "Gates Notes Insider" and download a free chapter. The book is slated for a Feb. 27 release on Amazon.

Gates' favorite facts from "Enlightenment"

In the book, Pinker — a psychology professor at Harvard University and the author of 10 books — presents "the big picture of human progress," according to Amazon, and points to data that shows life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge and happiness are on the rise worldwide.

"The world is getting better, even if it doesn't always feel that way. I'm glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture," Gates writes in his review of the book. "'Enlightenment Now' is not only the best book Pinker's ever written. It's my new favorite book of all time."

In the blog post, Gates points to his favorite facts in the book, which show the world is improving. They include optimistic nuggets like the stat that you're 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century, or that time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1930 to an hour and a half in 2014.

There is one topic, however, on which Gates thinks Pinker is too optimistic: artificial intelligence.

"He's quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don't think we're in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear — who exactly controls the robots? — is a valid one," Gates writes. "We're not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address."

His other faves

Can't wait for the February release of "Enlightenment" and need a book to cozy up with now? Gates — an avid reader — also recommends "The Best We Could Do" by Thi Bui and "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" among others.

The founder of Microsoft read 50 books last year.

"It's very relaxing for me. I do a lot of work, and it's kind of this reward. But I have to be careful. Amazon or Netflix video watching can actually cut into my book time," Gates recently told Time.

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