The clock has gone back, the mid-term is over and the big
save is on for Christmas. So how are you going to pass the dark
evenings between now and party season?
For anyone who has watched the new Netflix show
Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates, you’ll know that the billionaire
philanthropist takes a large canvas bag with him wherever he goes.
And what’s in the bag? It’s not presents from Santa. It’s books – lots
and lots of books.
than too little,” says the Microsoft founder on his blog, Gates Notes.

Finding time

Fine for him, he has loads of time on his hands you might scoff, but
between solving sanitation and water hygiene problems in
developing countries and wiping out malaria, he probably has less
spare time than most of us.
A recent article in the Sunday Times (20 October, Culture
supplement) pointed out that, while most middle-aged people say
they lack time, what they really mean is they lack focus.
So, with the shorter days and longer nights upon us, why not read
even one life-changing book between now and Christmas, and see
what happens?

Where to start?

We’ve compiled a reading list for you, based on the
recommendations of some of the world’s greatest leaders and finest
minds, both Irish and international.

Bill Gates

Gates reads a lot and, once every summer and winter, he shares his
five favourite books on Gates Notes. Here are two of his favourite
books from 2018.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
“If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21
Lessons offers a helpful framework for processing the news and
thinking about the challenges we face,” explains Gates.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe
“I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I

have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with
Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a
Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how
to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the
perfect introduction,” according to the philanthropist.

Sinéad Burke


Moving closer to home – and to one of Broadly Speaking’s most-
listened-to podcast episodes ever – we checked in on the Instagram
account of powerhouse and global activist Sinéad Burke, where she regularly
posts about her reading materials.
Burke, host of the new podcast As Me– where she has interviewed the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and
Victoria Beckham about their greatest vulnerabilities – has also
spoken at Davos, not once, but twice; walked the red carpet at the
Met Gala; and graced the cover of Meghan Markle’ edition of British
Vogue, and all at 3ft 5ins tall. So, whatever she’s reading is sure to
be of life-adding value.
What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Published in 2017, this story of being defeated by Donald Trump for
the White House is a lesson in humility, and finding strength and
hope in our so-called failures, both public and private.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
This is the second novel of Indian author Arundhati Roy and comes
20 years after her Man Booker prize-winning novel The God of Small Things.
Her new book is fundamentally a story of hope, where the
lives of the novel’s heroes have been broken by the world they live
in, but they are ultimately rescued and restored by love.

Barack Obama

The former US president is also an avid reader and sharer of
recommendations. He even posts his reading lists on social media.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Obama says this book “examines what happens to characters
without important women in their lives; it’ll move you and confuse
you and sometimes leave you with more questions than answers”.
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
“Its arguments on the internet’s impact on our brains, our lives and

our communities are still worthy of reflection, which is something we
all could use a little more of in this age,” according to Obama.

Trish Long

Trish Long is the vice-president of Disney (Ireland) and also the
guest on one of Broadly Speaking’s most popular podcast episodes.
Why? Because her story starts in a council estate in Limerick,
Ireland, where she had to bribe her dad to let her stay in school.
Now she’s VP of Disney (Ireland). Wherever she finds her wisdom
and inspiration from is sure to be a useful source.
Long shared three of her top books with us.
Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull
“It’s about Pixar and the culture of Pixar; the challenges they faced
and how they overcame them and changed in the process. But I
think it is an excellent business book, especially for anyone working
in ‘non-traditional’ business (such as media, entertainment, arts,
broadcasting etc) as it is really about how to encourage creativity to
thrive and to create the correct environment for people to develop,” Long says.
Blink by Malcom Gladwell
“Again, [this is] really useful in challenging the fact that most of us
are trained out of trusting our gut – with ever-increasing
bureaucracy, research and testing before one can develop ideas or
products. Each chapter engages with an incident/story in
environments as to when people did not trust their gut. It is also
about how important the gut is to leaders and having the confidence
to listen to it and how it is, in effect, really the result of years of
experience and knowledge and very valuable,” she explains.
Big Magic (Creative Living Beyond Fear) by Elizabeth Gilbert
According to Long: “This also challenges the perceptions of mystery
surrounding the process of creativity. [Gilbert] encourages one to
embrace our curiosity or, as the New York Times said, Big Magic
wants to help its readers live creatively, which does not necessarily
mean ‘pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to
the arts’, but ‘living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity
than by fear’.”

Warren Buffet


This billionaire philanthropist is as well-known a reader as Bill Gates.

He regularly slips recommendations into media interviews and
shareholders’ letters or meetings.
Dream Big by Cristiane Correa
This is the story of the three Brazilians who founded 3G Capital, an
investment firm that joined Buffett in purchasing HJ Heinz in 2013.
Buffett recommended the book at his 2014 shareholder meeting. In
New York Times interview, its author explained the two tenets of
3G’s management style: meritocracy and cost-cutting.
“They trust in people and they let their teams work,” said Correa.
If you’d like more insights into your business please contact for more information on business model innovation and strategy workshops