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Bill Gates' summer reading recommendations

The rhythm of publishing a book generally goes like this: if you are lucky, there is a flurry of attention around publication. This goes on for few months. Also if you are lucky, there are book festival invitations too. Then things quieten down, unless your book is thought useful for the lecture circuit too. I assumed that quieting down would be the case for Nine Pints, but then this week something extraordinary and unexpected happened: Bill Gates recommended my book as one of his five summer reads. Amazing. I once worked for the Gates Foundation as a consultant many years ago, on the back of The Big Necessity, when the Foundation was debating whether to work in water and sanitation. So I'd hoped he would have read The Big Necessity though I never heard one way or the other (whether he did or not, the Gates Foundation subsequently launched itself into water and sanitation and has done excellent things since). I also knew that Bill had liked Bad Blood by John Carreyou, which he recommended last year, about the Theranos scandal. But I never expected him to recommend Nine Pints, and I'm totally delighted that he did. He posted a thoughtful review which is here and also did a clever animated video in which, I was chuffed to see, he highlighted Janet Vaughan.

And immediately the Bill Effect became obvious. The US edition of Nine Pints had been swimming around Amazon rankings at about 50,000. After Bill's announcement, it leapt up to the top 500 and became the number one bestseller in haematology. Thank you, Mr. Gates.

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