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We hope Bill Gates is celebrating his 61 years with 61 incredible things to do.
Being the richest man on the planet has its perks. Forbes estimates Gates’s net worth at $81.9 billion, $6.5 billion ahead of Zara’s Amancio Ortega in second.
So what do you get the richest man in the world on his birthday? Well, he doesn’t want much. In an interview with The Evening Standard, Gates said he simply wants books and movies. (We’re now wondering what kind of movies the great Gates would sit and watch. Does he do sci-fi? Animated?)
While it’s slightly comforting that the richest man in the world gets like the rest of us about birthdays, we know his story stands far from ordinary.
A Simple Start
Born in Seattle, Washington, Gates showed interest in computer programming at 13 years old. He also voraciously read anything he could get his hands on. He was born into a middle-class family who enrolled him in Lakeside School, Seattle’s premiere preparatory school. During Gates’s time there, a Seattle computer company gave the school some of its first computers. Gates became fascinated and wrote a BASIC computer language tic-tac-toe program. He also met Paul Allen, who later became his business partner at Microsoft.
Gates went to Harvard University initially thinking about becoming a lawyer. However, his love for technology kept him up late toying with new programming. He and Allen contacted the New Mexico-based company Altair that was developing Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). Gates pitched a BASIC software program that could run Altair’s computers.
The company was impressed, and Gates dropped out of Harvard to work with Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gates and Allen crafted a new company with Altair called Micro-Soft. (They later dropped the hyphen.) By 1979, Microsoft created different software for other computers, and Gates moved Microsoft to Bellevue, Washington. At 23 years old, Gates became the head of Microsoft.
From there, Gates’s business acumen launched the company to success as Microsoft partnered and acquired more and more tech companies. Since the late 1980s, Gates has found himself at the top or near the top of Forbes‘s annual wealthiest Americans.
Most recently, in 2015, Gates rounded up 20 other billionaires to form the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in innovative clean energy.
His Best Quotes on Success
We compiled some of Gates’s best quotes to celebrate his big day:
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
“Life is not fair; get used to it.”
“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 lot.”
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
“I believe if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”
“If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?”
Gates details his fears in an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, and we can see a passionate Gates talking about exactly why he invests so much into The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.