If you want to know what it's like to be the child of one of the planet's richest people, you could try Rich Kids of Instagram. There you'll see yachts, champagne, private jets, and ridiculous cars, all of which are kind of fun to ogle. But a moment's reflection is enough to tell you that the reality of being the kid of a billionaire can't be all jet-setting luxury.

Basic empathy suggests that, while there are sure to be impressive perks, being the child of a famous mogul is also likely to have big downsides. How do you escape your parents' long shadow? Are people just trying to be your friend in hopes of accessing your money? 

If you want an honest answer to the question of what it's like to grow up with super successful parents, you could try to make friends with a super rich kid. But if none is handy, then Bill Gates' daughter has another suggestion for you: read Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. 

Living in the shadow of your billionaire dad

Bill Gates often shares book recommendations on his blog, but his most recent shout out offers a twist on the theme. He singled out Turtles All the Way Down for praise not because it's one of his all-time favorites, but because the book and its author are beloved by his daughter Phoebe (though Gates says he read it himself and enjoyed it as well).

The latest from young adult author Green tells the story of a teen girl living with OCD who is drawn into the investigation of a missing billionaire, befriending his son Davis in the process (this being a young adult novel, romance of course blooms). The premise sounds like it has the makings of a good page turner, but a compelling plot isn't the only reason Phoebe Gates loves the book. As she explains via her dad's blog, the novel also does an amazing job of capturing what it's like to grow up with a dad for a billionaire.

The younger Gates is a long-time fan of Green's work, but this book "hit closer to home for me than the rest," she writes. "As someone who has struggled with OCD for years, I saw some of myself in the main character. But more than anything, this book struck close to home due to the intriguing character of Davis." 

"Never has a book been able to capture so well what it is like to live in the shadow of someone else's legacy. This story shows how Davis struggled to find his own identity outside of his father's fame and wealth. Although we have very different relationships with our dads, I recognized his struggle, which also plays into my own life as I find my way in this world."

So if you're in the market for a propulsive beach read (or commute read) that also offers a realistic glimpse into the realities of life as a billionaire's kid, pick up Green's latest. It's got Phoebe's Gates' stamp of approval for verisimilitude.

Published on: Mar 29, 2018
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