gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates

The Novel I Gave to 50 Friends

Sign In
 
My Profile & Settings
Log out
GO
Your search for "", with selected filters, does not match any posts. Please try again with a different search term or reset filters.

Popular searches include: Books, Malaria, and Future of Food.
RELATED ARTICLES ON
Logout:


Become a Gates Notes Insider
- or - Sign up with email
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Send me updates from Bill Gates
Sign Up
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, subscribe to your favorite topics and more. We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Account Settings
VIEW & EDIT PROFILE
Your Information
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Password
Save
Cancel
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Deactivate Account
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process. Deactivate account If you want to permanently delete your account and remove its content, please send us a request here.
Ok
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

Forgot your password?
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Change your header photo
your image
 
Change
your image
Uh Oh!

The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.

Ok
First name
Last name
Enter a first and last name. For example, "Richard Feynman"
Bio
0/160 characters
Edit Profile
Account Settings
Save
Cancel
Suggested Reads
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. You will now be redirected to the sign in page, or you can click here
Ok
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill
You must provide an email
This email is already registered
Continue
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
 
your image
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Welcome FirstName!
You are now a Gates Notes Insider
Update Your Profile Information
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Select Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Continue
Confirm
Are you sure you want to
deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent
Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions
Sign up to receive occasional updates from the Gates Notes
Sign Up
Privacy Policy
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
This verification token has expired.
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
The Novel I Gave to 50 Friends
 
Hello, . . My Profile & Settings
Log out
FOLLOW ME
It looks like you're using an older version of Internet Explorer which may not display all the features on this site. Upgrade Now » close
Different ≠ Less Than

The Novel I Gave to 50 Friends

If somebody asked me, “what do you think your decades of working in technology have prepared you for?” my first answer definitely wouldn’t be, “writing a best-selling novel that beautifully explores the human condition.” But Australian author Graeme Simsion has taken his extensive experience in the data modeling industry and used it to do just that.

Melinda and I loved his first book, The Rosie Project. It starts when a geneticist who may or may not have Asperger’s Syndrome decides to put together a double-sided, 16-page questionnaire as the obvious first step to finding a wife. Ultimately 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.

Since then, I must have given The Rosie Project to at least 50 friends. Graeme has been busy too, writing a sequel called The Rosie Effect. As soon as we heard about it, Melinda and I asked him for an advance copy, and we enjoyed it so much that we invited Graeme to come to Seattle to talk to us about it.

I was happy to learn that one of my favorite things about both books is also one of Graeme’s favorite things. Usually, when we meet people who are different from us, in whatever way, we tend to treat them as inferior, even though we say that’s not what we’re doing. We may not even consciously realize we’re doing it. But through Don Tillman, the hero of both books, Graeme casts the issue in a different light. True, Don may not be the best at picking up on subtle social cues. But if you need to secretly collect DNA samples from 117 people at a party, there’s nobody in the world who’s going to do a better job. Different doesn’t mean less than.

What Don allows readers to appreciate is that, just because somebody might not be highly literate in the language of emotions doesn’t mean he doesn’t have emotions, and powerful ones at that. He sees the world in terms of logic, but he feels just as deeply about that world as everybody else. That puts him in a difficult position, and Graeme puts you right there with him.

The Rosie Effect, the second book, shows that Graeme isn’t a one-trick pony. It’s got a lot of the same characters, and of course they have the same foibles as they did in the first book. They even find themselves in some of the same kinds of situations. But somehow Graeme manages to make everything look and feel totally new. Don does aikido in the first book, and so when you get to aikido in the second book you think, is this just going to be the same thing again? But then it turns out to be funny in a completely different way.

The Rosie Effect, which will be released in the United States at the end of the year, improves on its predecessor in one interesting way. In the first book, you won’t necessarily see yourself in Don. (I’d say most readers will see somebody they know in him, but not necessarily themselves.) Anybody who’s a parent, though, has experienced what Don goes through in the second book. Am I doing this right? Because this isn’t what the pregnancy book says to do. Or this professional is judging me. What if she’s right and I’m wrong? Will my child be ruined? These are powerful fears we all have, and seeing them in Don makes you feel like you’re not the only one. And the outlandish plot—at one point Don decides the most logical thing to do is to have a New York accountant pretend to be an Italian peasant pretending to be a Columbia medical student—makes it impossible not to laugh at it all.

Graeme says that his comedy mentor’s mantra is, “Make ’em laugh. Make ’em cry. Make ’em think.” I think that with The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect Graeme has written two books that would make his mentor proud. 

Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions

Read previous versions of the Annual Letter

Filed Under

Discussion
comments powered by Disqus