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Here’s what Bill Gates is reading and bingeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Here’s what Bill Gates is reading and bingeing during the COVID-19 pandemic
[Photo: Kuhlmann/MSC/Wikimedia Commons]

Yesterday Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates sat down with Fast Company’s editor-in-chief Stephanie Mehta to talk about a range of topics surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, including Gates’s expectations for a vaccine timeline and the U.S. government’s response to the outbreak.

Gates, of course, has a deep breadth of knowledge on all-things pandemic and public health. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been working on fighting various communicable diseases for two decades now. It’s little wonder, then, why he is one of the most high-profile public figures people turn to to get insight into COVID-19’s future and the world’s response to it.

Yet, considering his status as COVID-19 sage, it’s easy to forget Bill Gates is just a mere mortal like the rest of us. Even he needs a breather from a constant stream of COVID-19-related news.

Gates, of course, is an avid reader, however, he admitted that during the first few months of the pandemic, he “read less than I had for decades because there was so much disease-related readings that I wasn’t doing other things.” But Gates went on to tell Mehta in recent months he’s back to reading—and watching various content.

Here’s what that includes:

  • The Splendid and the Vile: a look at Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz of World War II. The book was published in February this year and is by Erik Larson, author of the previous best-seller The Devil in the White City. Here’s the publisher’s official The Splendid and the Vile page.
  • A Million Little Things: the ABC drama series about a group of friends in Boston who decide to really start living their lives after one of the friends dies unexpectedly. The show is currently in its second season and debuted in 2018. You can watch A Million Little Things here.
  • MasterClasses: Yep, even Bill Gates turns to online learning from time to time. Gates revealed he is currently watching a MasterClasse series featuring David Axelrod and Karl Rove discussing how to develop a campaign platform and reach audiences with messaging. The “David Axelrod and Karl Rove Teach Campaign Strategy and Messaging” MasterClass is 24 video lessons that clocks in at just over five hours long. You can check out the David Axelrod and Karl Rove MasterClass yourself here.
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