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May 16, 2017, 8:00 a.m. EDT

Bill Gates tells new grads to read this book that says the world is getting better

Think about AI, energy and bioscience in this ‘amazing time to be alive,’ advises Gates

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By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch


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Bill Gates looks through a book during a 2011 visit to Nigeria. Now he likes Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.”

Bill Gates has a new book recommendation — one aimed at graduates in this peak season for giving them advice.

The billionaire bookworm says Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” is the most inspiring book he’s ever read and every grad ought to check it out.

“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this,” Gates wrote in a tweet on Monday .

Pinker, a Harvard psychology professor , “shows how the world is getting better,” wrote the Microsoft /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +1.70%  co-founder in another tweet .

“Sounds crazy, but it’s true. This is the most peaceful time in human history.”

That upbeat message is important because it can help put people on the path toward solving problems, Gates said in Monday’s tweetstorm.

“If you think the world is getting better, you want to spread the progress to more people and places,” he said. “This is an amazing time to be alive. I hope you make the most of it.”

What areas look good?

Artificial intelligence /zigman2/quotes/205896633/composite BOTZ +2.24%  , energy /zigman2/quotes/206420077/composite XLE +0.76%  and biosciences /zigman2/quotes/206189322/composite IBB +0.94%  are “promising fields where you can make a huge impact,” Gates said on Monday . “It’s what I would do if starting out today.”

He has touted the “Better Angels” book before, writing in a 2012 blog post that the work “offers a really fresh perspective on how to achieve positive outcomes.”

His latest comments on Pinker’s tome appear to have boosted sales of it on Amazon.com /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +2.07%  , as the Washington Post has noted . Its sales ranking recently was up by 607,800% to No. 2, according to the e-commerce giant’s “Movers & Shakers” list for books .

The software-industry pioneer has become well known for his reading recommendations. His recent picks have ranged from “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, to “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Noah Yuval Harari.

Below is his full tweetstorm.

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Victor Reklaitis is a London-based markets writer for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @VicRek.

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