Bill Gates recently called Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined the most inspiring book he’s ever read. We asked Dr. Pinker what books have most inspired him. Here’s what he shared:


Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
The Mind-Body Problem, Rebecca Goldstein
36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction, Rebecca Goldstein
Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain 
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Enemies: A Love Story, Isaac Bashevis Singer 
1984, George Orwell
The Iliad, Homer
Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw


The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch
The Two Cultures, C. P. Snow
Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand
The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley
The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins
Adaptation & Natural Selection, George C. Williams
Origin of Species, Charles Darwin 
Principles of Psychology, William James
The Strategy of Conflict, Thomas Schelling
Words and Things, Roger Brown
The Yanomamo, Napoleon Chagnon
The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris
Problems in Philosophy, Colin McGinn
Retreat from Doomsday, John Mueller
One Two Three … Infinity, George Gamow
Homicide, Martin Daly & Margo Wilson
The Evolution of Human Sexuality, Donald Symons
The Last Word, Thomas Nagel
Brainstorms, Daniel C. Dennett
Style, Joseph Williams
Clear and Simple as the Truth, Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner