I really enjoyed the latest TV documentary about Bill Gates, Inside Bill’s Brain.
I am always searching for great documentaries, or interesting/educational talks to watch with my kids (teenagers) that are well-produced, entertaining, and provoke some kind of discussion.
Inside Bill’s Brain ticked those boxes.
I couldn’t help but jot down some notes as I watched it (please don’t judge me) and thought I’d share it here.
– Bill Gates apparently reads 150 pages an hour and has 90% retention. I’m so jealous!
– Both his parents were very involved in the community, on boards for various organisations and believed in giving back.
– His mum created opportunities for Bill to be involved in social /community activities. Getting him to welcome guests at an event or hand out flyers. She basically forced him into social settings!
– He reads a lot. Apparently he’s able to look at a very complex problem, see patterns, arrange things to make sense. His wife describes his brains as “chaotic”.
– The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation) was formed in 2000.
– I was particularly interested in their philanthropic work. I think they have done great things in that area – even raising awareness of what philanthropy is (however I’m sure most people are not super clear about what it means to give to charity vs being a philanthropist?! – even my understanding is a bit foggy sometimes too).
– I love how Melinda cracks up laughing when asked how she would describe Bill’s brain – “CHAOS. There’s so much going on. It’s so complex. He thrives on complexity. He has a think week. He stills himself.”
– When Bill was a 8th-9th grader, he and his best friend would read magazines and talk about successful people, leaders, companies… and ask themselves, who was successful and why?
– Bill says, You can’t help one person. Gotta scale big. Get the most bang for your buck. He’s not doing to inspire people. He’s trying to solve a problem. He’s doing it for optimisation.
My issues with the documentary:
I would have liked a more intense interview to get into the really juicy bits of Bill’s brain.
I found that it skirted around a few big topics; watching it, I knew there were things that were not allowed to be said. So it all felt a bit contrived.
It didn’t go deep into the breadth of his personality. That would have been very helpful to understand HOW he thought about things a bit more?
It didn’t inspire me in the end. I just felt discouraged. If Bill Gates – one of the richest men on earth – can’t solve the some of the world’s hardest problems, then who else can?!?
In the end, it told a really interesting story. Bill Gates is a fascinating figure of the modern world. He’s relevant. He’s rich. He’s trying to do good with his money. It’s very worthy of family discussion.