Both former President Barack Obama and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett have been enthralled by the same book this spring: "The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World," by Melinda Gates, a philanthropist and the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"I read it one sitting, it captivated me so much," Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick during an interview on "Squawk Box" on Monday. "It's a story, but [you also] learn much about the world that you should know — and I would say most people don't know. This is a story of her experiences that is absolutely sensational."
The book explores the inequalities women face, and it addresses how supporting and empowering women can address these imbalances. The idea is that, "when you lift up women, you lift up everybody — families, communities, entire countries," as Obama put it in a recent Facebook post about what he has read lately that he recommends.
"In her book, Melinda tells the stories of the inspiring people she's met through her work all over the world, digs into the data, and powerfully illustrates issues that need our attention — from child marriage to gender inequity in the workplace," Obama writes.
Gates also drew from her own experiences, including her relationship with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. She always knew she wanted her marriage to be a partnership, she recently told CNBC Make It's Jenna Goudreau.
The good news, Gates found, was that her husband had grown up around women who didn't always fall into traditional gender roles: He "had a mom who both was at home and working. She did many things in the community and was on several boards," Gates told Goudreau. "He had a grandmother who went to college when most women didn't."
Still, after they had children, there were times when "we just didn't realize we had fallen back into our own sort of biases about who does what," Gates said. Those moments taught her to speak up about what she needed and how the couple could better divide household and child-rearing responsibilities.
Through "The Moment of Lift," Gates aims to use her own stories, as well as those of other women across the globe, to not only shed light on certain issues but to help to work toward solutions.
"I've called Melinda an impatient optimist and that's what she delivers here — the urgency to tackle these problems and the unwavering belief that solving them is indeed possible," Obama writes.
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