Holiday Gift Guide

Bill Gates: This book was so good, 'I stayed up with it until 3 a.m.'—then gifted it to 50 friends

Bill Gates
Ben Nelms | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The holiday season is a perfect time to focus on gratitude and giving, but choosing what to give your loved ones can be stressful (even with the vast amount of gift guides out there).

But you can't really go wrong with books — especially the ones recommended by Bill Gates. And while the Microsoft co-founder has shared hundreds of his favorite reads, there's one in particular that has been given the ultimate seal of approval: "The Rosie Project," by Graeme Simsion.

Gates was introduced to the book by his wife Melinda, who "kept stopping to recite parts of it out loud" to him, he said in a 2016 interview with The New York Times. "Eventually, I decided to take a look. I started it one night at 11:00 p.m. and stayed up with it until 3:00 a.m."

Simsion's debut novel centers around Don Tillman, a geneticist who may or may not have Asperger's Syndrome. Determined to find a suitable wife, he creates a double-sided, 16-page questionnaire to help complete the mission.

I must have given 'The Rosie Project' to at least 50 friends.
Bill Gates
philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder

"The book is less about genetics or thinking too logically or the main character's hilarious journey than it is about getting inside the mind and heart of someone a lot of people see as odd — and discovering that he isn't really that different from anybody else," Gates wrote in his review. "It's an extraordinarily clever, funny, and moving book about being comfortable with who you are and what you're good at."

Gates also called it "one of the best novels" he's read in a long time, which is quite the praise coming from someone who doesn't read a lot of fiction. In fact, Gates thought it was so good that he gifted it to at least 50 friends.

So if you're looking for a way to simplify your holiday shopping plan this year, taking a cue from the successful billionaire and sending a copy of "The Rosie Project" to everyone on your list might not be such a bad idea. (Gift-givers who want to go the extra mile should consider throwing in Simsion's sequel "The Rosie Effect," which Gates and his wife said they also enjoyed.)

According to Gates, not only will "The Rosie Project" make readers laugh, cry and think, but its main character offers something that virtually anyone can relate to: "We all have powerful fears, and seeing them in Don makes you feel like you're not the only one."

Tom Popomaronis is a leadership researcher, commerce expert, cross-industry innovation leader and VP of Innovation at Massive Alliance. His work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Inc. and The Washington Post. In 2014, Tom was named one of the "40 Under 40" by the Baltimore Business Journal. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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