Every year we see lists like this one: Bill Gates' favorite books of 2018. They're followed by the inevitable articles on why you should read them, why you should give them to someone else, or why you simply should care at all

If that's something you're into, I don't see it as a problem in any sense whatsoever. Bill Gates is one of the most philanthropic, technology icons I have ever seen--having witnessed his impact in my lifetime is humbling alone, but, I'm not buying any of those books and you shouldn't either. Here's why.  

1. Books aren't blenders. 

Want a good blender? Here you go. There's virtually no one who wouldn't be happy with one of those blenders. Books are a different story -- and not just literally. People have their own preferred genres, tastes, and topics, and one size definitely does not fit all. 

2. Bill Gates is not your friend.

I don't mean he's not friendly. He undoubtedly is. What I'm saying is that he's a stranger with no real insight into what kind of reading would be valuable to your life. And not just a stranger, but frankly out of touch with the average person's life, period. The man thinks a box of pizza rolls costs $20 (which isn't surprising, given that he probably hasn't shopped for his own groceries in 30 years).

3. It's the thought that counts.  

We can agree that if you give a gift, you thought about it. But surely we can also agree that there's a big difference in a hand-stitched quilt, for instance, and a gift card. Books can make wonderful gifts for all occasions but pulling one from a list just because someone successful plugged it doesn't exactly make me want to bestow my squeeziest hug on you. So, if it's the thought that counts, maybe err on the side of more thinking and less resorting to celebrity recommendations?

Nobody's saying you should judge a book by its cover. 

Okay, well, technically I am, but maybe your giftee is a bonafide Bill Gates fan club member. Or maybe you just need a last-minute Secret Santa present and a hardcover happens to fit the bill (fit the Bill -- hehe). Consider this simply a well-intentioned public service reminder that better gifts do exist, and they're more likely to come from the heart than the cart.  

P.S. show of hands here, and be honest--who knew 'squeeziest' was a real word?

Published on: Dec 5, 2018