Bill Gates says he was a ‘misfit’ as a kid who clashed with his parents and almost got kicked out of college


Gates, now 68, also revealed he almost got kicked out of college and will share more of the ‘tougher parts’ of his early life in a new memoir that will be released next year. — Bloomberg

In 2024, Bill Gates can count Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg among his friends. However, in his formative years, the Microsoft co-founder struggled to fit in with peers, as well as clashed with his parents before ultimately dropping out of Harvard University.

Gates, now 68, also revealed he almost got kicked out of college and will share more of the "tougher parts" of his early life in a new memoir that will be released next year.

Gates announced the autobiography, Source Code, on his blog this week, and it will be available on Feb 4, 2025.

"I’ve been in the public eye since my early twenties, but much of my life before then isn’t well known," Gates wrote on the announcement post.

"Over the years, I’ve often been asked about my upbringing, my time at Harvard, and co-founding the company. Those questions made me realise that people might be interested in my journey and the factors that influenced it."

The book, he adds, will cover his "misfit" early years as a child, his "rebellious" teenage phase when he "butted heads" with his parents and "the sudden loss of someone close to me."

"Throughout it, you’ll also find the stories of the many people who believed in me, pushed me to grow, and helped me turn my quirks into strengths," Gates continued.

"And I reflect on the luck I had to be born to a great family in a time of historic technological change and optimism, and to come of age just as the personal computer revolution was taking off."

Bill's best friend

Although Gates doesn't expand on who the individual he lost at a young age is, the father of three has previously spoken about the death of his best friend in an accident at the age of 17.

Kent Evans was Gates's first business partner when the duo were in the 8th grade. The pair began working out of a school computer lab to program the payroll for a local company.

In Netflix special Inside Bill's Brain released in 2019, Gates revealed he still knows Evans's phone number by heart.

It was Kent who first "got" Gates reading Fortune magazine, the man worth US$152bil (RM715.5bil) recalled, adding: "If you went into the civil service, what did you make? Should we be CEOs? What kind of impact could you have? Should we be generals? Should we go be ambassadors?"

Gates adds that Evans was the "best student in the class" and that they would have kept working together and attended college together if Evans hadn't died in a mountain climbing accident.

"It was so unexpected, so unusual. People didn't know what to say to me or to Kent's parents," Gates continues. "I sorta thought, OK, now I'm going to do these things that Kent and I talked about, but I'll do it without Kent."

Lakeside days

While the synopsis of the memoir on pre-sale sites promises the book will detail "the story of (Gates's) principled grandmother and ambitious parents" it also pledges to tell the story of how Gates went from "midnight escapades" in a computer lab to founding Microsoft.

Yet there is a well-known tether between the two, tying Gates's childhood successes with the Big Tech giant he went on to build. Microsoft's co-founder, Paul Allen.

Allen, though a couple of years older than Gates, formed a firm friendship with the entrepreneur while at Lakeside School in Seattle.

Having worked with Gates and Evans on the payment system algorithm, Allen later worked with Gates on digitising the timetable system at their school.

A year ago, writing on LinkedIn, Gates gave some insight – which will surely be expanded on in the book – about what the school meant to him.

In 2023 he wrote: "I’m thankful to the school and its teachers for everything they gave me – including the opportunity to learn about computers and programming at a young age.

"Looking back, it’s incredible just how much my experience there shaped my future." –Fortune.com/The New York Times

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