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Bill Gates' top books, TV shows and music for summer 2023: 'There's more to life than reading'

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Bill Gates is switching things up this year.

The world's fourth-richest man normally releases his summer reading recommendations near the beginning of June. But this year, Gates decided that "there's more to life than reading."

In the latest installment of his annual tradition, the Microsoft co-founder added a Netflix show and curated Spotify playlist to his recommendations in an effort "to mix it up and try something different."

"I'm recommending just two books—one novel and one nonfiction—plus a mix of other things I've enjoyed lately," Gates wrote, "including a TV series set in Denmark and a few dozen songs that are on regular rotation for me."

These are Bill Gates' "great books, songs and shows for the summer."

Fiction: 'Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow'

By Gabrielle Zevin

One of the most acclaimed books of 2022, Gates writes that "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" — a novel centered around two friends who build a video game company together — was a story that he could relate to, and "reminded me a lot of my relationship with Paul Allen and our work together at Microsoft."

Nonfiction: 'Born in Blackness'

By Howard French

A self-describes "student of Africa," Gates says that he still "learned a lot from this thoughtful, well-researched book." In "Born in Blackness," author Howard W. French re-frames the story of the modern world with African history at its center.

"It was far from stateless and primitive when Europeans arrived," Gates writes. "In reality, [French] explains, various African kingdoms had established city-states that rivaled Europe's in terms of political organization, military power, commerce, art, and exploration. I mean it as a compliment when I say that 'Born in Blackness' left me wanting to know more."


Streaming on Netflix

Gates has recommended movies and TV shows in the past, but it's the first time that a show has made its way onto his list of summer recommendations.

The 67-year-old said that he "binged all four seasons" of "Borgen," which centers around a fictional Danish politician as she becomes her country's first female prime minister.

"I'm fascinated by how political coalitions come together and stay together, and I loved watching the PM, Birgitte Nyborg, figure it all out," Gates said. "She's a principled and talented leader who's also fallible and sometimes misguided. "Borgen" is entertaining above all else, but I've learned a ton from watching it too."

Curated Spotify playlist

Even with a net worth of $128 billion, Gates is as susceptible to "the joys of listening to a great song while going for a drive" as the rest of us.

His curated Spotify playlist includes "many of my favorite songs" from artists ranging from Enrique Iglesias to Vampire Weekend.

"These days, I love learning about new songs and artists through recommendations from my kids, who have great ears, and friends like Bono (whose ear isn't too shabby, either)," Gates says.

You can listen to Gates' 34-song playlist here.

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