“Life’s a lot more fun if you treat its challenges in creative ways.”
Bill Gates is an American Entrepreneur, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Gates co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; it went on to become the world’s largest personal computer software company.
Bill Gates is one of my favorite people in the world; I grew up adoring Bill not only for his wealth but also for his relentless learning habit and work ethic. He has attributed his success to his relentless learning curiosity and maniac hard work. Bill Gates is one of the biggest testaments to the truism: “To earn more, you must learn more.
The most significant investment you can make in your lifetime is on yourself by becoming a lifelong learner and be curious to figure things out like Maria Forleo argued in her excellent book: Everything Is figureoutable. Someone might say that Bill can read that many books because he is Bill Gates, which I would say; instead, he is Bill Gates because he read important books voraciously.
In How to Think Like Bill Gates, Daniel Smith chronicles the life of Bill Gates from 1995 to 2015:
William Henry Gates III is born on 28 October to William and Mary Gates in Seattle, Washington. He becomes known as Trey by his family and as Bill to the wider world.
Bill begins attending an exclusive private preparatory school, Lakeside, in the Haller Lake neighborhood of north Seattle.
A member of the school’s computing club, he writes his first program, using the BASIC language on a Teletype Model 33 terminal linked to a remote mainframe computer. A fellow club member is Paul Allen, with whom Gates will eventually found Microsoft.
Gates and Allen write a traffic-surveillance program that they call Traf-O-Data, which earns the teenagers several thousand dollars.
Gates works as a congressional page (an assistant to a member) in the US House of Representatives for the summer.
After acing his high-school SATs, Gates enrolls on Harvard’s pre-law programme. There he befriends Steve Ballmer.
Gates and Allen spend the summer working for Honeywell, a New Jersey-based technology company.
Gates and Allen produce a BASIC software package for the Altair 8800, a landmark personal computer produced by MITS. Gates drops out of Harvard to join Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in order to work for the company. The two co-found Micro-soft.
Microsoft (as it is now known) is formally registered as a company. Gates publishes an open letter condemning software theft by computer hobbyists.
The relationship with MITS breaks down over commercial disagreements. Meanwhile, Gates is introduced to Kazuhiko Nishi, who helps launch Microsoft in Japan.
The company opens a Japanese sales office. Microsoft’s revenues top US$1 million for the year.
The company relocates its US base to Gates and Allen’s hometown, Seattle.
Microsoft agrees to provide an operating system for the personal computer being developed by industry giants, IBM.
Microsoft is incorporated, with Gates assuming the posts of CEO and chairman. He takes a 53% stake in the company. Steve Jobs, boss of Apple, approaches Gates about designing software for the imminent Apple Macintosh.
Time names the computer as its Machine of the Year. Paul Allen leaves Microsoft, having been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.
Microsoft launches its Windows operating system, which employs a graphical user interface.
Microsoft goes public. Gates’s shareholding is valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
Gates becomes the youngest billionaire in history. At an event in New York, he meets Melinda French, an employee who will become his wife.
Apple unsuccessfully sues Microsoft, with Jobs accusing Gates of plundering Macintosh innovations in the creation of Windows.
Gates establishes the Corbis digital image archive. Microsoft launches Office, a suite of applications including Word and Excel.
Buoyed by the release of Windows 3.0, company revenues top $1 billion for the first time.
Gates is named by Forbes as the richest person in the United States.
The Department of Justice begins investigating Microsoft for anti-trust practices.
Gates marries Melinda French. He also founds the William H. Gates Foundation.
Windows 95 launches, along with Microsoft’s own web browser, Internet Explorer. Gates releases his first book, The Road Ahead. Forbes names him the richest person in the world for the first time, with a fortune just short of $13 billion.
Melinda Gates gives birth to a daughter, Jennifer. Netscape, an internet browser company, requests the Department of Justice investigate the bundling of Windows and Internet Explorer.
Gates and his family move into their custom-built Lake Washington estate.
The Department of Justice charges Microsoft with anti-competitive practices.
Melinda gives birth to a son, Rory. Gates publishes a second book, Business @ the Speed of Thought. Microsoft stock reaches an all-time high.
Gates is replaced as Microsoft CEO by his old college friend, Steve Ballmer. Gates takes the title Chief Software Architect. A judge rules the company should be split in two – one part dealing with the Windows operating system, and another part with all other software. The decision is overturned a year later. Meanwhile, the William H. Gates Foundation is subsumed into the newly established Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Windows XP is launched, as is the Xbox games console.
Melinda gives birth to another daughter, Phoebe.
The European Commission launches an antitrust case against Microsoft.
Time names Bill and Melinda Gates as its Persons of the Year, alongside Bono, in recognition of their philanthropic work. Bill also receives an honorary knighthood from the UK.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett commits the majority of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Microsoft announce that Gates will end his full-time role with the company in 2008.
Microsoft launches Windows Vista. Gates receives an honorary degree from Harvard, thirty-two years after dropping out.
The European Commission imposes a record fine of $1.4 billion on Microsoft. Gates leaves his full-time position as scheduled in June to devote more time to his foundation. At a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, he introduces his philosophy of ‘creative capitalism’.
The foundation pledges $10 billion over ten years to help research, develop, and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries.
The foundation launches the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’, an initiative to encourage innovation in the interests of the 2.5 billion people without access to safe sanitation.
Polio is declared no longer endemic to India, a milestone in Gates’s mission to rid the world of the disease.
The Gates Foundation links up with the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to assess the progress of women and girls around the world.
Gates leaves his role as Microsoft chairman. He agrees to become a special adviser to new company CEO, Satya Nadella. He is also once again named by Forbes as the world’s richest person, after a hiatus from the top spot dating back to 2010.
An opinion poll conducted for The Times newspaper finds Gates is the most admired person in the world.
In his Book, Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime, Bill Gates Sr. (Bill Gates Father) shares some insights on Bills thought pattern and success:
Bill Gate Sr. on Bill Gates Jnr. Thinking
“My son, Bill, has always been known in our family as Trey.
When we were awaiting his arrival, knowing that if the baby was a boy he would be named “Bill Gates III,” his maternal grandmother and great-grandmother thought of the confusion that would result from having two Bills in the same household. Inveterate card players, they suggested we call him “Trey,” which, as any card player knows, refers to the number three card.
As a young boy, Trey probably read more than many other kids and he often surprised us with his ideas about how he thought the world worked. Or imagined it could work.
Like other kids his age, he was interested in science fiction. He was curious and thoughtful about things adults had learned to take for granted or were just too busy to think about.
“His mother, Mary, and I often joked about the fact that Trey sometimes moved slowly and was often late.
It seemed like every time we were getting ready to go somewhere everybody else in the family would be out in the car—or at least have their coats on. And then someone would ask, “Where’s Trey?”
Someone else would reply, “In his room.”
Trey’s room was in our daylight basement, a partially above-ground area with a door and windows looking out on the yard. So his mother would call down to him, “Trey, what are you doing down there?”
In his Book,Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime, Bill Gates Sr. narrates the story of how became a curious relentless learner, in a chapter titled “Things I Learned from my children” :
I learned from Trey that childhood curiosity can last a lifetime.
When Trey was very young I often took him to the library. He loved to read and often needed to return the books he’d read to check out more.
I know many parents would love to entice their children into becoming readers. So let me report that it’s possible to take even the best of good habits a little too far. One unintended consequence of all those trips to the library was that Trey read so much he was reading at the dinner table!”
“Mary and I did our best to convince him that, in light of certain social proprieties, reading while dining with others was not a good thing.
One contributor to Trey’s nonstop reading was the fact that every summer the teachers at his school gave their students a summer reading list and there was a contest to see who could read the most books. Trey was so competitive he always wanted to win and often did.
Still, I believe the main reason Trey read so obsessively was that he was so curious. He didn’t just want to learn about some things. He wanted to learn about everything. We tried to nurture our children’s curiosity in ways I think many parents do.
We didn’t allow the children to watch much television, but we let them buy plenty of books. And it’s true that we didn’t enforce bedtime as strictly if one happened to be reading late.
Trey’s curiosity and his loyalty to deep analytical thinking have never wavered.
When he and Paul started Microsoft he instituted a tradition he called “Think Week.” This was time Trey spent mostly alone doing his most serious creative thinking about the company.
I say “mostly alone” because when Mary’s mother was alive, he spent Think Week with his grandmother, Gami, at her home on Hood Canal. She would cook for him and be there when he wanted company.
“Trey remains as much of a reader today as when he was a child. He doesn’t read anymore at the dinner table—and that’s a good thing because some of the books he’s attracted to are increasingly unappetizing. They have titles such as The Eradication of Infectious Diseases, Mosquitoes, Malaria & Man, or Rats, Lice, and History.”
“He seems to remember everything he reads and is, at times, eager to share what he’s learned with the next person he encounters.”
Charlie Rose Interview Bill Gate Jnr. and William H. Gates,
Charlie Rose: And what did you learn from Bill?
William H. Gates: I wish that I could say I have the same energy to learn more on a daily basis that he does. And it has had some effect on me. But it is certainly — from my point of view, differentiating Bill from the world at large, it is this business of his just insatiable —
Charlie Rose: Curiosity.
William H. Gates: — and demanding curiosity.
Charlie Rose: You think it’s his defining quality?
William H. Gates: I do, as a matter of fact.
Charlie Rose: You do.
William H. Gates: And right behind it is the fact he remembers everything he learns. So —
Charlie Rose: Well, that’s the I.Q. thing or what? Memory and everything else?
William H. Gates: Well, learning and remembering gives him a capacity to accomplish anything.
Charlie Rose: Here’s what’s interesting — Rupert Murdoch will say, as he said to me, curiosity is the thing that’s served him best in life. A reflection of that is a company that he’s built, andbeing a visionary, as you were. Where does that come from?Are you born with it? Is it DNA? Is it some early childhood exposure?
Bill Gates: I think it helps to have —
Charlie Rose: I mean, I’ve got it, too.
Bill Gates: — adults who give you a sense that, yes, you can’t learn anything. They encourage you the read books. You know, I could always get as many books as I wanted, I could go to the library. I had a grandmother who would read to us. And it was, you know, it was thought to be a great thing.
So early reading let you imagine all these situations and start to think to yourself. Could I ever run a business? Could I ever discover something in science? And I do think some positive reinforcement of — hey, you, you’re clever, you can do these things — at a young age takes you a long way. And, you know, then — and this is a great time to be a curious person.
You know, go online, get DVD courses. I mean, I envy my kids growing up right now. When my son asks a question, sometimes I don’t know the answer. And we’re over there at the computer watching the video of, OK —
Charlie Rose: Do you have a role model in your life beyond your father?
Bill Gates: I’d say Warren Buffett is the closest thing I have to a role model.
Charlie Rose: When they write the story of his life, what do you think the most important thing they will say is? He’s only 53, and you’re only 83, and he’s only 53, or 84, or whatever.
William H. Gates: I don’t think we’ve missed much about the answer to that question. I mean, people are going to say this was the most curious guy that ever lived. And he was energetic. He was a hard worker.
All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.