In a letter announcing the birth of his daughter Max on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook stock, valued at $45 billion over their lifetimes.
It will go into the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a new humanitarian organization that aims to cure or curtail all human disease, among other lofty goals.
Zuckerberg isn’t the first billionaire philanthropist, but at age 31, he is remarkably young for the scope of his ambitions.
So we have to hope that he’s seeking wisdom from his elders, namely Bill Gates. Gates reads a book a week to build his understanding of the world. Many of the books are about transforming systems: how nations can intelligently develop, how to lead an organization, and how social change can fruitfully happen.
Here’s a selection of Gates’s recommended reading books that we think could inform Zuck’s ever-more-powerful decision making.
‘Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012’ by Carol Loomis
Warren Buffett and Gates have a famously epic bromance, what with their recommending books to each other and spearheading philanthropic campaigns together.
So it’s no surprise that Gates enjoyed « Tap Dancing To Work, » a collection of articles and essays about and by Buffett, compiled by Fortune magazine journalist Carol Loomis.
Gates says that anyone who reads the book cover-to-cover will walk away with two main impressions:
First, how Warren’s been incredibly consistent in applying his vision and investment principles over the duration of his career;
… [S]econdly, that his analysis and understanding of business and markets remains unparalleled. I wrote in 1996 that I’d never met anyone who thought about business in such a clear way. That is certainly still the case.
Getting into the mind of Buffett is « an extremely worthwhile use of time, » Gates concludes.
‘Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization’ by Vaclav Smil
Gates says his favorite author is Vaclav Smil, an environmental sciences professor who writes big histories of things like energy and innovation.
His latest is « Making the Modern World. » It got Gates thinking.
« It might seem mundane, but the issue of materials — how much we use and how much we need — is key to helping the world’s poorest people improve their lives, » he writes. « Think of the amazing increase in quality of life that we saw in the United States and other rich countries in the past 100 years. We want most of that miracle to take place for all of humanity over the next 50 years. »
To know where we’re going, Gates says, we need to know where we’ve been — and Smil is one of his favorite sources for learning that.
‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’ by Elizabeth Kolbert
« Humans are putting down massive amounts of pavement, moving species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, and more, » Gates writes, echoing a concern that he voices in many of his reviews.
« Natural scientists posit that there have been five extinction events in the Earth’s history (think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs), » he continues, « and Kolbert makes a compelling case that human activity is leading to the sixth. »
To get a hint of Kolbert’s reporting, check out the series of stories that preceded the book’s publication.
from Business Insider http://ift.tt/1NoT44I