比尔·盖茨2020年终书单:糟糕一年里的五本好书

来源|比尔盖茨(ID:gatesnotes)

作者|Bill Gates

头图|比尔·盖茨

In tough times—and there’s no doubt that 2020 qualifies as tough times—those of us who love to read turn to all kinds of different books. This year, sometimes I chose to go deeper on a difficult subject, like the injustices that underlie this year’s Black Lives Matter protests. Other times I needed a change of pace, something lighter at the end of the day. As a result, I read a wide range of books, and a lot of excellent ones. Here are five books on a variety of subjects that I’d recommend as we wrap up 2020. I hope you find something that helps you—or the book lover in your life—finish the year on a good note.

在困难时期——2020年毫无疑问可以称得上是困难时期——我们中那些喜爱阅读的人尝试了所有种类的不同书籍。今年,有些时候我选择在一个棘手问题上深入探索,例如作为今年“黑人的命也是命”运动基础的不公正问题。其他时候,我需要换一个节奏,在一天结束时想点轻松些的事。这造成我读了各种各样的书,其中不乏优秀作品。在2020年行将结束时,我想推荐以下五本涉及各类主题的书。希望你能从中有所收获,从而帮助你——或你认识的喜爱阅读的朋友——给这一年画上美好的句号。

01

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

《新吉姆·克劳:色盲时代的大规模监禁》

By Michelle Alexander | 米歇尔·亚历山大 著

Like many white people, I’ve tried to deepen my understanding of systemic racism in recent months. Alexander’s book offers an eye-opening look into how the criminal justice system unfairly targets communities of color, and especially Black communities. It’s especially good at explaining the history and the numbers behind mass incarceration. I was familiar with some of the data, but Alexander really helps put it in context. I finished the book more convinced than ever that we need a more just approach to sentencing and more investment in communities of color.

与许多白人一样,近几个月来,我一直在尝试加深自己对系统性种族主义的理解。亚历山大的这本书提供了一个令人眼界大开的视角,用来看待我们的刑事司法体系如何不公地对待有色人种群体——尤其是黑人群体。这本书尤其擅长解释大规模监禁背后的历史和数字。我了解其中的一些数据,但亚历山大很好地为数据提供了背景。读完这本书,我更加确信我们需要一个更加公正的宣判方式,以及更多对于有色人种群体的投入。

02

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

《范围:为什么通才能在专业化的世界中取胜》

By David Epstein | 大卫·爱泼斯坦 著

I started following Epstein’s work after watching his fantastic 2014 TED talk on sports performance. In this fascinating book, he argues that although the world seems to demand more and more specialization—in your career, for example—what we actually need is more people “who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress.” His examples run from Roger Federer to Charles Darwin to Cold War-era experts on Soviet affairs. I think his ideas even help explain some of Microsoft’s success, because we hired people who had real breadth within their field and across domains. If you’re a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you.

在看了爱泼斯坦2014年关于运动成绩的精彩TED演讲后,我开始关注他的工作。在这本引人入胜的著作里,他指出虽然世界似乎需要越来越多的专业化(例如在你的职场上),但我们真正需要的,其实是更多“起步时涉猎广泛,并在进步中拥抱不同经验和观点”的人。他举的例子从罗杰·费德勒到查尔斯·达尔文,再到冷战时期的苏联问题专家。我认为他的想法甚至可以解释一部分微软的成功,因为我们雇佣了兼具领域内和跨领域知识的人才。如果你是一名通才,感觉被周围专才型同事掩盖了光芒,这本书就是为你写的。

03

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

《辉煌与邪恶:闪电战期间丘吉尔、家人与反抗的传奇》

By Erik Larson | 埃里克·拉森 著

Sometimes history books end up feeling more relevant than their authors could have imagined. That’s the case with this brilliant account of the years 1940 and 1941, when English citizens spent almost every night huddled in basements and Tube stations as Germany tried to bomb them into submission. The fear and anxiety they felt—while much more severe than what we’re experiencing with COVID-19—sounded familiar. Larson gives you a vivid sense of what life was like for average citizens during this awful period, and he does a great job profiling some of the British leaders who saw them through the crisis, including Winston Churchill and his close advisers. Its scope is too narrow to be the only book you ever read on World War II, but it’s a great addition to the literature focused on that tragic period.

有时,历史书使人产生的代入感要比作者想象的更加强烈。这本书对1940和1941年的精彩记叙就是这样的例子,当时德国试图用轰炸让英国人屈服,这使得后者几乎每一夜都要挤在地下室和地铁站里。他们感受到的恐惧和焦虑似曾相识——但比我们在新冠疫情中经历的要严重得多。拉森令你生动地感受到,在这个可怕时期,普通人的生活是怎样的。他还出色地描写了一些带领人民度过危机的英国领导人,包括温斯顿·丘吉尔和他亲密的顾问们。这本书的记叙范围十分狭窄,以至于不足以成为你阅读的关于二战的唯一书籍,却是对关于那段悲惨岁月的文学作品的极大补充。

04

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

《间谍与叛徒:冷战时期最伟大的间谍故事》

By Ben Macintyre | 本·麦金泰尔 著

This nonfiction account focuses on Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB officer who became a double agent for the British, and Aldrich Ames, the American turncoat who likely betrayed him. Macintyre’s retelling of their stories comes not only from Western sources (including Gordievsky himself) but also from the Russian perspective. It’s every bit as exciting as my favorite spy novels.

这个非虚构故事主要描写了两个人:成为英国双重间谍的克格勃特工奥列格·戈德尔维斯基,以及可能出卖了他的美国叛变者奥尔德里奇·艾姆斯。麦金泰尔重新讲述了他们的故事,不仅引述了西方的内容来源(包括戈德尔维斯基自己),而且也站在了俄罗斯的角度。它的精彩程度与我最喜欢的谍战小说不相上下。

05

Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine

《从盐来的呼吸:致命的遗传性疾病、科学新时代、以及改变医学的病人和家庭》(暂译)

By Bijal P. Trivedi | 碧周·翠瓦狄 著

This book is truly uplifting. It documents a story of remarkable scientific innovation and how it has improved the lives of almost all cystic fibrosis patients and their families. This story is especially meaningful to me because I know families who’ve benefited from the new medicines described in this book. I suspect we’ll see many more books like this in the coming years, as biomedical miracles emerge from labs at an ever-greater pace.

这本书实在令人振奋。它记录了一项杰出科学创新的故事,讲述这项创新如何改善了几乎所有囊肿性纤维化病人及其家属的生活。这个故事对我尤其具有意义,因为我认识一些家庭,他们已经从书里描写的新药获益。随着生物医学奇迹从实验室以更快的速度诞生,我想我们将在未来几年见到更多这样的书问世。