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Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic

2 January 2016

From The New York Times:

Evan Thomas, the best-selling biographer of Robert F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower and the author of a half-dozen other books, has seen those books reviewed over the years by The New Yorker, The Washington Post and The Atlantic. But with the recent publication of his latest work, “Being Nixon: A Man Divided,” he experienced for the first time a new phenomenon: the Bill Gates bump.

Just before Christmas, Mr. Thomas learned that his book had been favorably reviewed by Mr. Gates on his blog, Gates Notes.

“I’m surprised by the number of biographies I read that paint their subjects in black-and-white terms,” Mr. Gates wrote. “A classic example is former U.S. president Richard Nixon, who is too often portrayed as little more than a crook and a warmonger. So it was refreshing to see a more balanced account in ‘Being Nixon,’ by author and journalist Evan Thomas.” The review was illustrated by a photograph of the book on a desk adorned with objects from the Nixon era, like a rotary phone.

. . . .

Mr. Thomas was taken by surprise. “I’ve never met Bill Gates,” he said. “I had no idea he had a books blog.”

“I was thrilled because he has a lot of reach,” Mr. Thomas said, adding that sales of the book jumped soon after that review was posted. “I can tell the blog is well read because I heard from all sorts of random people.”

. . . .

“A few years ago I started thinking it would be fun to share some of these notes with the public,” Mr. Gates wrote in a recent email interview. “I have always loved reading and learning, so it is great if people see a book review and feel encouraged to read and share what they think online or with their friends.”

Mr. Gates says he reads about 50 books in a year, eschewing digital readers for old-fashioned books on paper. When he is busy with work, he reads about a book or two a week but will consume four or five in the same period while vacationing with family.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Tom for the tip.

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4 Comments to “Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic”

  1. Somehow I think more people buy books suggested by Opra than Billy …

    Way to go ‘The New York Times’ …

  2. “Mr. Gates says he reads about 50 books in a year, eschewing digital readers for old-fashioned books on paper. When he is busy with work, he reads about a book or two a week but will consume four or five in the same period while vacationing with family.”

    The math doesn’t quite add up there. 😉

    • The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense….

      A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction. — William Faulkner

      I met a wonderful new man. He’s fictional, but you can’t have everything. — Cecelia, “The Purple Rose of Cairo”

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