Bill Gates gave 50 friends this novel

At Harvard University Bill Gates grins from ear to ear who looks over his honorary degree.
David L. Ryan | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

Bill Gates is an avid reader: he consumes about 50 books a year.

And, while the self-made billionaire doesn't often pick up fiction, "I loved the novel 'The Rosie Project,' by Graeme Simsion," he tells Katherine Rosman of The New York Times.

His wife Melinda Gates first introduced it to him. She "kept stopping to recite parts of it out loud to me. Eventually, I decided to take a look," he tells Rosman. "I started it one night at 11:00 p.m. and stayed up with it until 3:00 a.m. It is very funny, while also showing a lot of empathy for people who struggle in social situations."

Since, he's given the novel to at least 50 friends, he writes on his blog.

"Anyone who occasionally gets overly logical will identify with the hero, a genetics professor with Asperger's Syndrome who goes looking for a wife," he writes. "It's an extraordinarily clever, funny, and moving book about being comfortable with who you are and what you're good at."

The novel makes you laugh, but it also makes you think about your relationships, Gates says in a conversation with the author: "Reading about relationships — in the back of the mind, you're thinking about the relationships you have, and you want to understand those better and invest in those.

"So you get to laugh, but you also get to think, Hey, some people are good at this stuff naturally and some people are good at this stuff because they put the energy in. And you decide you want to be better at both levels, particularly on your close relationships."