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Bill Gates named world's most admired man

Commentary: The annual list shows the Microsoft co-founder at the top, alongside Angelina Jolie. And Vladimir Putin is far more admired than Donald Trump.

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Don't we all crave admiration? 

How, though, to achieve it?

Perhaps start a tech company known for its ruthless ways, face regulatory troubles, make ungodly amounts of money and then spend the rest of your life doing great philanthropic work.

This is just one suggestion, but it's based on the announcement Wednesday that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been named in an annual poll as the world's most admired man.

He beat out former US President Barack Obama, martial artist and actor Jackie Chan and Chinese President Xi Jinping for the top spot -- though this may lead some to conclude that the world has rather divided criteria for admiration.

The poll was based on the views of more than 37,000 people in 35 countries. It comes via YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm based in London.

Lower down in the men's section, Russian President Vladimir Putin came in sixth, while US President Donald Trump placed 17th. This did, though, represent a rise of one spot for Trump over last year.

In the women's section, Angelina Jolie -- another who seems to have switched jobs from a lucrative one (in acting) to a more serious role as a humanitarian -- came out on top, as she has in all three years since YouGov divided the polling into separate male and female categories. (Gates has also come out on top all three years.)

Closely behind Jolie, admiration fell upon former first lady Michelle Obama, all-around-celebrity Oprah Winfrey and Queen Elizabeth. Rising stars include actor Emma Watson, who moved from 13th to sixth, and singer Taylor Swift, who moved from 14th to ninth.

As for Gates, it's not that he's universally the most admired. In the US, for example, Barack Obama topped the poll by quite some distance, with Trump second, recently deceased evangelist Billy Graham third and Pope Francis fourth.

Indeed, the Microsoft co-founder was only the most admired in six countries -- as opposed to Obama's 19 countries. The former president, however, isn't so admired in China and Russia, which brought down his standing, while Gates appeared near the top all over the world.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on his triumph.  

Of course, one wonders who might become the next tech leader to incite the world's admiration. 

Surely the path is set for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

He started a tech company known for its ruthless ways, he's facing regulatory trouble and he's made billions of dollars. He's even been dabbling in philanthropy

Yes, you might think Zuckerberg currently has all the charisma and human sensibility of a discarded stocking. 

However, as IAC Chairman Barry Diller recently said of Gates: "When I met Bill Gates, I would say he had the emotional quotient of a snail. And now you can see him cry."

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