22 Unbelievable And Surprising Facts About Bill Gates

22 Unbelievable And Surprising Facts About Bill Gates
"Bill Gates. Source: Creative Commons

William Henry Gates III, famously known as Bill Gates, is an American businessperson, philanthropist, and software engineer. He is also one of the most famous people in the world mainly because of his wealth, role in the creation of Microsoft, and participation in global charities. Here are some of the most unknown yet unbelievable facts about Bill Gates.

1. He is not the world’s richest person

Even though Bill Gates is wealthy, there are other billionaires who rank above him. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the world’s richest person as of January 2021. CNBC reports that Elon Musk is now worth more than $180 billion, while Gates’ net worth stands at $132 billion. (CNBC)

2. He is not the only founder of Microsoft

Microsoft was founded on April 4, 1975 by Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen. In 1983, Allen resigned from the company after developing Hodgkin’s disease. In his book Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft, he claimed that Gates wanted to dilute his share of the company following his diagnosis. He added that Gates believed that Allen wasn’t working hard enough. (Wall Street Journal)

3. He dropped out of Harvard

When MITS Altair 8800 was released in 1975, Gates was still a student at Harvard University. The same year, he dropped out to pursue his passion for computer software development after identifying an opportunity to launch his own company. Speaking about the decision, Gates claimed that his parents supported him, and that he was willing to go back to school if things hadn’t worked out. He said:

“If things hadn’t worked out, I could always go back to school. I was officially on leave.” (YouTube)

4. Was involved in workplace romance

Bill and his wife Melinda Gates met at a business meeting in New York in 1987. At the time, Melinda was a product manager at Microsoft.

Bill and his wife Melinda Gates. Source: Creative Commons.

Speaking about their romance, Bill said: “You know, we cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married.” (Netflix)

5. He wanted to become an AI researcher

Gates’ passion for computers and software was undisputed ever since his youthful days. He once revealed that had he failed at creating Microsoft, he would have become an Artificial Intelligence researcher.

“Given my background, I would start an AI company whose goal would be to teach computers how to read, so that they can absorb and understand all the written knowledge of the world.” He said. (CNBC)

6. Wanted to become a billionaire by 30

One of the most interesting facts about Bill Gates is that he wanted to become a billionaire by age 30. Despite becoming a millionaire at age 26 in 1981, that was not good enough for Bill. His target was to become a billionaire by age 30, a target he was very close to achieving. He officially became America’s youngest billionaire at age 31. (Insider Magazine)

7. He washes his own dishes

It is impossible to discuss facts about Bill Gates without mentioning his dinner routine. The billionaire husband once revealed that he does the dishes every night after dinner, a routine that highlights his humility and down-to-earth character. During an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, one of the users wanted to find out that one thing Gates does that no one would expect from him. He responded:

“I do the dishes every night – other people volunteer but I like the way I do it.” (Reddit)

8. He lives in a $127 million mansion

Located in Medina, Washington, Bill Gates’ 66,000 square feet mansion, named ‘Xanadu 2.0’ is valued at $127 million. It features seven bedrooms, 19 bathrooms, a 60-foot pool with an underwater music system, an enormous reception with a capacity of 200 guests, and a 1,900-square-foot guest house. Along with a garage that can accommodate at least 23 cars, his compound also features an artificial stream with fish, and a manmadebeach that was constructed with imported sand from the Caribbean. (US News)

Bill Gates’ mansion as seen from the shores of Lake Washington. Source: Creative Commons

9. Each of his children will inherit only $10 million

His inheritance policy – one of the many fascinating facts about Bill Gates – shows just how the business mogul believes in hard work and self-driven success. In a Reddit AMA, the father of three once revealed that each of his children would inherit just $10 million when he dies. This may not be a small amount by normal standards, but from a billionaire’s perspective, it is less than 1% of his entire fortune. Explaining his decision, Gates said:

“I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favor to them. Warren Buffett was part of an article in Fortune talking about this in 1986 before I met him and it made me think about it and decide he was right.” (Business Insider)

10. He had a near-perfect SAT score

One of the most unbelievable facts about Bill Gates is that he scored 1590 out of a possible 1600 in his Scholastic Assessment Test back in his days at Harvard. On the other hand, his friend Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, had scored 1600 out of 1600 while at Washington State University. (Prep Scholar)

11. He has a strong reading culture

Considering his high SAT score, it’s no surprise that Bill Gates is fond of books. In a 2016 interview with the New York Times, the billionaire software guru revealed that he reads up to 50 books a year, which translates to at least one book a week. (The New York Times)

12. He is color blind

Bill Gates is well-known for wearing glasses from his youthful days to date but what some people do not know is the fact that he is color blind. In an interview with XBLA creator Greg Canessa, it was revealed that Gates loved Zuma, a puzzle-matching game from PopCap. However, because he was color blind, he decided to create the colorblind mode of the game, which was eventually implemented in all PopCap games and other XBLA games that were color-dependent. (IGN)

13. He only speaks one language

Despite his success as a businessperson, philanthropist, and a well-travelled international icon, one of the most unbelievable facts about Bill Gates is that he only speaks one language: English. While speaking about being monolingual, Gates once admitted to feeling ‘stupid’ and regretful. He also mentioned that he studied Latin and Greek back in high school and got straight A’s, and that he wished he understood Arabic, French, or Chinese. (Reddit AMA)

14. He is a member of the Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is a commitment by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to charity. The organization consists of the likes of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Ackman, Leonard Ainsworth, Mark Zuckerberg, among others. So far, Bill Gates has donated over $50 billion to charitable organizations across the globe. (Giving Pledge)

15. He received an honorary knighthood

In 2005, Gates and his wife Melinda met Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace in London for a special knighthood ceremony. He received the KBE, also known as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for his role in creating the world’s most successful software company. However, because he is not a British citizen, he may remain knighted but will not be known as ‘Sir’, a title reserved for British citizens only. (The Guardian)

16. He had beef with Steve Jobs

Bill Gates and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had a love and hate relationship by virtue of being rivals in the tech industry. At the height of their rivalry, the late Jobs once described Gates as “weirdly flawed as a human being.” The two tech geniuses launched their companies around the same time, a factor that widely contributed to their rivalry and success in the industry.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at a previous event. Source: Creative Commons

Bill Gates recalls one incident in the 80s when Jobs travelled to Washington in a bid to convince him to create Microsoft software for the Apple Macintosh computer. At the time, the two companies, Microsoft and Apple, had taken the tech industry by storm. Bill was, however, not so impressed by Jobs’ attitude. He said:

“It was kind of a weird seduction visit where Steve was saying we don’t really need you and we’re doing this great thing, and it’s under the cover. He’s in his Steve Jobs sales mode, but kind of the sales mode that also says, ‘I don’t need you, but I might let you be involved.’”

The friction between the two bigwigs cooled down years later. Following Jobs’ death in 2011, Gates confessed that they “spurred each other on, even as competitors.” (Business Insider)

17. He is a fan of music

In an interview with the BBC, Gates was asked to choose eight songs he would take with him to a desert island. He chose the following: David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure, Willie Nelson – Blue Skies, Ed Sheeran – Sing, Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?, U2 – One, The Beatles – Two of Us, How Can Love Survive, from the Sound of Music, and My Shot from Hamilton, the musical.

18. He is also concerned about artificial intelligence

Several billionaires in the tech industry, including the world’s richest person Elon Musk, have voiced their opinion about artificial intelligence, terming it as ‘dangerous’ to human existence. One of the more surprising facts about Bill Gates is that he is also among the group of billionaires who think artificial intelligence could threaten human existence.

In a Reddit AMA, Gates admitted that he agreed with Elon Musk’s concern about AI and wondered why some people ‘were not concerned.’

He said: “I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.” (BBC)

19. He was a repeat traffic offender

In 1975, when he was 22 years old, Gates was arrested in New Mexico for speeding and driving without a license. But it appeared that he had not learned his lesson; in 1997, he was arrested again for running a red light. Further investigations later revealed that he also did not have a driving license. (CNBC)

20. Inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci

Even some of the wealthiest men on the planet draw their inspiration from fellow humans, and Bill Gates is a good example. The Microsoft co-founder counts Italian inventor and painter Leonardo da Vinci has one of his major sources of inspiration. True to his word, Gates paid $30.8 million for the Codex Leicester, a collection of scientific writings by the Italian polymath.

The writings include topics on fossils, soil erosion, movement of water, and the luminosity of the room. However, Bill did not purchase the original copy; he had the codex pages scanned and stored in a CD-ROM in 1977. The codex has since been featured at art galleries across the United States, including Minnesota and South Carolina. (CNBC)

21. Has a strict schedule

One of the most interesting facts about Bill Gates is the nature of his schedule. Given that he is a busy man, he as a minute-by-minute schedule, almost similar to that of the President of the United States. His schedule involves checking the headlines of the New York Times, The Economist and Wall Street Journal every morning.

His daily routine is reportedly broken into five-minute intervals, same has his Tesla counterpart Elon Musk. Bill’s wife Melinda claims that her husband is not fan of breakfast. However, in a Reddit AMA, Gates revealed that he loved cheeseburgers for lunch.

He then takes time to read in his library during the day. When he is not reading or working, he spends time with his three kids and wife, which includes doing dishes every night after dinner. (The Independent)

22. He was the world’s first centi-billionaire

‘Centi-billionaire’ is a relatively new term used to describe a person with a net worth of at least a hundred billion units of a given currency. However, this term is usually reserved for billionaires with strong currencies such as the United States dollar, the Euro, the Pound sterling, among others.

If you thought you’ve heard enough of fascinating facts about Bill Gates, there’s even more. In 2019, he had an estimated net worth of around $101 billion, making him the world’s first centi-billionaire. (Financial Express)

From these little-known facts about Bill Gates, it seems that he is a nice person with a rich wallet and even a richer heart. Despite being one of the richest individuals in the planet, Gates continues to be involved in charity. His humility, work ethic, strong familyvalues and love for humanity makes him a role model for both established and upcoming entrepreneurs across the globe.


1.      CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/07/elon-musk-is-now-the-richest-person-in-the-world-passing-jeff-bezos-.html

2.      Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703806304576232051635476200

3.      YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ4G1RtoKyI&t=53

4.      Netflix (Inside Bills Brain): https://www.netflix.com/title/80184771

5.      CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/24/bill-gates-says-hed-start-an-ai-company-today.html

6.      Insider Magazine: https://www.insider.com/millionaires-reveal-secret-to-being-rich-successful-2018-6#bill-gates-values-simple-solutions-3

7.      Reddit AMA :https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1xj56q/hello_reddit_im_bill_gates_cochair_of_the_bill/?st=itofjv6g&sh=19fc7cd0

8.      US News: https://money.usnews.com/money/business-economy/articles/1997/11/23/xanadu-20

9.      Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/billionaires-and-millionaires-who-arent-leaving-all-their-money-to-children-2019-7

10.    Prep Scholar: https://blog.prepscholar.com/celebrity-sat-scores-kesha-bill-gates-and-more

11.    The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/04/fashion/bill-gates-gates-notes-books.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

12.    IGN: https://www.ign.com/articles/2016/02/18/this-was-bill-gates-favorite-xbla-game

13.    Reddit AMA: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2tzjp7/hi_reddit_im_bill_gates_and_im_back_for_my_third/

14.    Giving Pledge: https://givingpledge.org/Pledger.aspx?id=199

15.    The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/mar/02/usa.microsoft#:~:text=Bill%20Gates%2C%20the%20billionaire%20chairman,Buckingham%20Palace%20for%20the%20ceremony

16.    Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/the-bill-gates-steve-jobs-feud-frenemies-2016-3#bill-gates-and-steve-jobs-werent-always-enemies-microsoft-made-software-early-on-for-the-mega-popular-apple-ii-pc-and-gates-would-routinely-fly-down-to-cupertino-to-see-what-apple-was-working-on-1

17.    BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/31047780#:~:text=Humans%20should%20be%20worried%20about,strong%20for%20people%20to%20control

18.    BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/31047780#:~:text=Humans%20should%20be%20worried%20about,strong%20for%20people%20to%20control.

19.    CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/the-first-big-purchase-bill-gates-made-when-microsoft-started-taking-off.html

20.    CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/02/micrsoft-billionaire-bill-gates-paid-30-million-for-this-book-25-years-ago-and-it-still-inspires-him-today.html

21.    The Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/bill-gates-daily-routine-microsoft-billionaire-cheeseburgers-reading-bridges-washes-dishes-a7904831.html 22.    Financial Express: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/the-centibillionaires-bill-gates-joins-jeff-bezos-as-the-only-two-members-of-the-100-billion-club/1521834/?utm_campaign=fullarticle&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=inshorts

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