Successful businessman, entrepreneur, self-confessed ‘geek’ and philanthropist Bill Gates is a bit like Marmite. While some love him for his achievements as an entrepreneur and his contribution to technology, others who maybe aren’t Microsoft fans, find it tricky to connect with him on any sort of personal level. Famously publicity-shy and socially awkward, he has never had the easy appeal of Richard Branson, for example; but he’s an individual to revere for not only his business and technology conquests, but also the work he’s done for the world’s disadvantaged. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation boasts assets worth $37.1 billion, which Gates has personally contributed $28 billion to, as well as working full time for.
Gates also joins the growing ranks of successful and wealthy figures who have said their children will not inherit the majority of their fortunes, which includes Mark Zuckerberg, Sting, Nigella Lawson and Warren Buffet. “I realised about 10 years ago that my wealth has to go back to society. A fortune, the size of which is hard to imagine, is best not passed on to one’s children. It’s not constructive for them,” he shares.
If you’re not too sure about Bill Gates the person, here are a few facts about him that I find particularly endearing…
- He lives and dies by the goals he sets for himself. He told his university teachers he would be a millionaire by the age of 30. He became a billionaire at the age of 31.
- He’s incredibly smart. His SAT score was 1590. The top score for the test is 1600.
- He gives back. He pledged to give 95% of his wealth to charity, leaving just a minuscule amount for his children.
- He’s humble. People in the developing countries he supports have no idea who he is, and he is fine with that.“They don’t know who I am, because it doesn’t relate to their world,” Gates explains. “If you’re a person struggling to eat and stay healthy you might have heard about Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali, but you’ll never have heard of Bill Gates.”
- He is a voracious reader and has a personal library packed with books. His pride and joy is the Codex Leicester, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, which he bought in 1994 for $30.8 million. His passion for aid also means that he devotes much of his spare time to reading about it.
If this makes you intrigued to find out more about Bill Gates, his interview with the Daily Mail (back in 2011) is probably the most personal he has ever got with the media, and it is well worth a read. He also shares his personal reading list on his blog, which offers a rich archive of book suggestions.
But in the meantime, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favourite and most meaningful quotes by Bill Gates, which relate to his views on business and personal development. We hope that some resonate with you and give you a dose of inspiration and motivation, as you begin planning your career goals for 2017.
The best thing about quotes is that they can trigger something within us, make us think and inspire us to take action. We’d love to hear if one strikes a particular chord with you…
1. “Of my mental cycles, I devote maybe 10% to business thinking. Business isn’t that complicated. I wouldn’t want that on my business card.”
2. “Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
3. “I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition.”
4. “If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?”
5. “I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.”
6. “Whether I’m at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I’m looking forward to reading.”
7. “Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”
8. “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
9. “Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity – the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.”
10. “Don’t study to earn, study to learn. What you learn today is what you will become tomorrow.”
Do you have a famous business quote, either by Bill Gates or someone else, which you to turn to for inspiration? We would love to hear it below…