If you're in search of summer reading suggestions, billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have you covered.
On Monday, the two men, along with Charlie Munger, shared their top book picks on CNBC's "Squawk Box." While Buffett stands by his evergreen recommendation of chapter eight of Benjamin Graham's "The Intelligent Investor," he has added chapter four of Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" to his must-read list.
Buffett says there are "some very interesting reasons to be optimistic about the world in that chapter," which is titled "Progressive Phobia."
Gates also gives Pinker's "Enlightenment Now" his stamp of approval, noting that "it's a more serious read than a lot of books but really fantastic." It paints a picture of human progress, arguing that humans have the tools they need to thrive in modern times. "Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide," its publisher states.
Pinker "talks about the progress we've made and how we could learn from the places we've made even faster progress," Gates explains. "It came out of the work he did in his previous book, 'The Better Angels of Our Nature,' where he saw that violence was going down, and now he's looked at a lot of other things, like workplace safety and happiness."
Gates has shared his love for "Enlightenment Now" before. In a post on his blog, he called the Harvard psychology professor's work his new favorite book of all time. "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.
On "Squawk Box," Gates also recommends another of his current favorites, "Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think," by Hans Rosling, a professor of global health.
"Factfulness" explores why humans are consistently wrong about common problems facing the world. Instead of making decisions based off of facts and data, humans are largely influenced by unconscious biases. The silver lining is that the world is doing better than it may seem.
The book is "very readable," Gates says. "It talks about how the world has changed, and Hans shares how he had some misperceptions, that he didn't see all the progress. It taught you how to think about news and where we're going."
Gates and his wife Melinda first became fans of Rosling's in 2006, when he gave a viral TED Talk on the same topic. When the author passed away in 2017, the couple promised to carry on his final wish.
"He simply hoped that we would promise to keep spreading the message he was so passionate about: that the world is making progress, and that policy decisions should be grounded in data," Gates shares in a blog post dedicated to Rosling.
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