The 4 items that make Bill Gates a productivity machine

Analyzing the hobbies and routines of the obscenely wealthy is a popular genre of web content. But no one has supplied this genre with as much material as Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

While promoting his new project, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, the magnate gave a tour of his workspace during an interview with Vanity Fair.

It should come as no surprise that a vast collection of books was listed among the items that energize Gates’s creative process fairly early on in his discussion with the magazine.

“I read more nonfiction than fiction. I’m always on the lookout for nonfiction books that can educate me about some area where I need to learn more, but I mostly read a novel because Melinda, one of our kids, or a friend recommends it,” Gates explained.

In his estimation, “Hot Seat”, written by former General Electric CEO, Jeff Immelt, “The Overstory”, written by Richard Powers, and Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land”, are the best books Gates has read recently.

Bill Gates would spend one entire week reading as many papers and books as he could in a secret cabin in the Pacific Northwest, back when he was president and chief software architect at Microsoft.

The literature that inspires Gates appears to be halved between academic research (especially data concerning infectious disease) and books that offer an intimate significance to his life in particular.

“Like most people, I suspect, I first read The Catcher in the Rye when I was in school. It’s still one of my favorites, and I have a lot of J.D. Salinger memorabilia at home. The paperback in this photo is from 1963. Melinda and I bonded over our love of Gatsby when we were first dating. The line, ‘His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it,’ is on the wall in our library at home.”

Among the less obvious fancies cited by the billionaire philanthropist is an interest in the card game, bridge.

“I love the strategy involved. It requires a lot of math, which I enjoy, but the best part is the partnership. You have to try to communicate with your partner, using nothing but your bids. It’s fascinating.”

Both he, and famed tycoon, Warren Buffet appreciate the game as a mind-sharpening tool.

 “I probably play 100 times as often as Bill, so that probably is the only game in the world where I would have a slight edge with him,”  Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick in a recent interview.” “Very slight edge.”

Gates once said that he makes a point to retain focus on advancements in technology, including those made by the company he helped develop into the most influential tech firms in the world.

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset has captured the interest of investors ever since its debut back in November 2019.

“One of the cool things about my job is that I get to keep up with cutting-edge technology. I would’ve put a robot in the picture, but I couldn’t find any good ones that would fit on my desk. Many people think mixed reality is just for gaming or entertainment, but the uses go way beyond that,” Gates said of the new product.

“HoloLens focuses on enterprise uses such as using it to train people by simulating the use of new products, for example, or test the design of a new product. If you’re looking at a machine in a factory, it can show you various indicators about how the machine is running.”

Despite the principled hobbies that define Gates’s daily routine, he also makes room for indulges here and there.

“A burger and fries is still my favorite meal, though I’ve cut back because beef is responsible for a lot of greenhouse gases. My dad, who passed away last September, helped us start our philanthropy years ago and used to have lunch at his local Burgermaster, going through letters from people asking for donations. People actually started sending him mail there,” Gates told Vanity Fair.

Ultimately, these hobbies and routines helped Gates complete a book that means a great deal to him. Once the COVID-19 threat is sufficiently neutralized, he and his wife, Melinda intend on focusing their resources toward climate change.

“If there’s one thing I hope people take away from the book, it’s that dealing with climate change requires solving some easy problems and some hard ones, and we can’t just deal with the easy ones. For example, electric passenger cars are well on the way to competing with gas-powered ones. I would put that in the (relatively) easy column,” Gates concluded.

“But we still have no idea how to make steel or cement without emitting lots of greenhouse gases. So people need to use their voice to make sure political leaders are putting the world’s brainpower and money to work on hard problems like those.”