Books that changed my life: Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is a businesswoman and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband, Bill Gates. Her new book, The Moment of Lift, is out now, published by Pan Macmillan

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time was my introduction to science fiction. When I picked it up at our school library, I had never read anything like it before. The protagonist, Meg Murry, is an ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances when her beloved father goes missing on another planet. My own father was an aerospace engineer who helped send astronauts into outer space, so I felt a special connection to Meg and her journey across the universe to bring her dad home.


Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Cry, the Beloved Country is about a man and his son—and another man and his son—and how poverty, racism, and violence shape their lives. While it might be hard to believe that a book that takes on such difficult topics could be uplifting, it is. It’s full of characters who insist on answering the worst of human nature with the best of it.


Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee

In 2011, Leymah Gbowee won the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in organising a women’s movement that helped end Liberia’s civil war. She opens her unforgettable memoir by declaring “This is not a traditional war story… You have not heard it before, because it’s an African woman’s story, and our stories rarely are told.” Her book is about the power of women coming together—and the important work of bringing them together.