You already know that the richest man in the world is Bill Gates. You probably also know that the Microsoft founder has topped Forbes’ list of billionaires for 18 out of 23 years, with a net worth of $86bn this year.
However, there are so many other interesting and important things about Bill Gates that will speak to you if you’re open to thinking about and learning from them. For instance:
- Bill Gates considers his greatest achievement to be the PC. Last year he told Telegraph, “The most important work I got a chance to be involved in, no matter what I do, is the personal computer… I even knew not to get married until later because I was so obsessed with it. That’s my life’s work.”His wife is a former Microsoft employee. He met Melinda Ann French while she was working at Microsoft and they married in a private ceremony held in Lanai, Hawaii in 1994. She resigned shortly after their wedding to focus on family.
- Together with Melinda, he created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 17 years ago, a merger of 3 family foundations. The foundation, which is organized into four program areas namely Global Development Division, Global Health Division, United States Division, and Global Policy & Advocacy Division, allows benefactors to access information that shows how its money is being spent, unlike other major charitable organizations.
- Bill Gates hired Mike Larson in 1994, to put his wealth to work for him and thereby increase it. This was clearly one of his best decisions ever, as Larson has done and continues to do an excellent job, starting with $11 billion which has grown to over $80 billion. An astute and discreet money manager, Larson is the chief investment officer for The Gates Foundation and Bill Gates’ personal fortune, through the Cascade Investment fund.
- Bill Gates is the author of 2 books, The Road Ahead, (written with Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson) and Business @ the Speed of Thought.
- He has a habit of chewing ice cubes, and his wife hates it.
- He has 3 children: Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe. The Gates children weren’t allowed to use cell phones until they turned 13. Bill Gates once said in a Today interview, “They’re always coming home, ‘All the other kids have it. I’m the only one without it, it’s so embarrassing.'”
- He is committed to giving at least half of his wealth to charity over the course of time. Together with Warren Buffet, Bill Gates founded The Giving Pledge in 2010 to this effect, and over a hundred of the world’s wealthiest people have taken the pledge, including Paul Allen, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Michael Bloomberg, and Elon Musk.
- However, he and his wife have said they are leaving their children an inheritance of just $10m each, which essentially means they will be giving away up to 99% of the Gates fortune.
- Bill Gates claims no religion, although he thinks it “makes sense to believe in God” as he told Rolling Stone in 2014. He holds the moral belief that having been so lucky, he owes it to try and reduce inequity in the world. However, he believes that the moral values of religion are very, very important and the Gates children are raised accordingly- Melinda Gates is Catholic and the children go to church with her.
- In 2005, Bill Gates was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. He, along with his wife, has received numerous awards including the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award (for Bill and Melinda’s social work in the country), and the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award from The Tech Awards. Last year, President Barack Obama honoured Bill and Melinda Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their philanthropic efforts and just this year, President François Hollande awarded them with the France’s highest national award – Legion of Honour – in Paris for their charity efforts.
- Bill Gates reads The Economist from cover to cover every week.
What light bulbs went off in your head as you read? Do share in the comments section.