I was honored to talk about my late friend Paul Allen at the Forbes Philanthropy Summit. He was one of the most intellectually curious people I’ve ever known. As a kid, he seemed to be interested in just about everything. And as an adult, that curiosity continued to influence every part of his life -- including his philanthropy, which will continue to benefit society for decades to come. I wish he had gotten to see all of the good his curiosity and generosity will do for the world.
The older I get, the more I treasure any time I get to spend with my dad. He is all the things I strive to be: a fantastic husband, a loving father, an effective philanthropist, and an engaged citizen of the world. Happy #fathersday, Dad.
@letterman’s newest season has a lot of fantastic guests, but for me, there’s one clear standout: @melindafrenchgates. I got to make a short cameo in Melinda’s episode. Letterman pitched a few crazy ideas for Microsoft and convinced me to try a sandwich with Worcestershire sauce and peanut butter (which I regret). Check it out on @netflix.
Summer is my favorite season to carve out extra time for reading. If you’re already starting to think about your summer reading list, here are five terrific books I’ve read so far this year. #bookstagram
I was touched when Melinda decided to write about my mother and my grandmother in her new book, The #MomentofLift. They were both tremendous role models for my sisters and me. I will always be grateful to my mom for instilling in us a love of reading and learning early on. Happy #MothersDay to all of the mothers out there -- and especially to my children’s role model, @melindafrenchgates.
For Teacher Appreciation Day, I’m thrilled to celebrate Washington State Teacher of the Year, Robert Hand. He recently showed me how cutting up a chicken is an important life skill (stay tuned for a video about that later this year). Which teacher has made the biggest impact on your life? #ThankATeacher
Microbiologist Peter Piot was just 27 years old when the lab where he was working received a blood sample infected with a then-unknown disease. That virus is now known as Ebola and Peter was part of the team that helped discover it. I’ve spent a lot of time with Peter over the years, and I never get tired of hearing him talk about the case that made him famous.
@melindafrenchgates’s new book is out today. Melinda writes that one of the most important things she has learned in her work is that you must “let your heart break; it’s the price of being present to someone who is suffering.” Your heart will break more than once when you read this book. But more often, you will be enlightened and inspired. I know I certainly was! #MomentofLift
#TBT to the time I helped release mosquitoes infected with a common bacterium that can block the spread of dengue during a trip to Indonesia. (My hosts gave me a blangkon — a traditional Javanese headdress — to wear for the visit.) If you’re as curious about mosquito-borne diseases as I am, I’ve put a link in my bio to help you explore some of the fascinating science behind these diseases (and what we’re learning about how to stop them). #MosquitoWeek
I would say this even if I weren’t married to the author: @melindafrenchgates’ new book The #MomentofLift is a terrific read. Melinda combines her mastery of data with her ability to tell powerful stories about the women who have impacted her life. I’m confident you’ll finish the book feeling enlightened and inspired. Download a free excerpt using the link in my bio.
India has more than 135 million goats – one-sixth of the world’s goat population -- and most of them are managed by women. That’s why I’m excited about the potential of a program called Project Mesha. Women are being trained to provide veterinary services to goats, which gives them a source of income and increases their independence. Although this project is still relatively small, it has the potential to make a huge impact for poor women and their families.
@stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence brings together experts from disciplines ranging from economics to ethics to understand how AI can improve life around the world. I really enjoyed being a part of the launch on Monday.
Tomorrow is International Women's Day — a day when we celebrate the progress made by and for women. To celebrate, @melindafrenchgates is sharing a chapter from her new book, “The Moment of Lift,” about the lessons she’s learned from women around the world (link in bio).
North-Grand High School was once ranked among the worst schools in Chicago. Today, it’s among the best. That’s because North-Grand and the Network for College Success began working together to increase the number of freshmen who finish the year on-track. Just seven years later, 95 percent of its freshman are on-track to graduate (up from 76 percent).
One of the most surprising experiences for me last year was participating in a discussion group with a bunch of teenage boys at a high school in Chicago. Although some of the guys talked about typical teenage frustrations—a teacher was treating them unfairly, or they kept dying in a video game—others had tragic stories. One had just watched a family member go to jail. Another spoke about a friend who had been shot. It was inspiring to see these young men working on dealing with their anger much earlier than I did. I was touched by the respect they had for each other and the intimacy they allowed themselves. I left thinking: This is how every classroom in the world should feel.
#TBT to that time I traveled halfway across the world to look at a toilet.
Wherever I am in the world, I always love talking with students. I was inspired by the energy of the community at Queen Mary University of London.
I recently visited @harvard to learn more about robotics research. I saw some surprising inventions that challenge what we think of as robots. I wore one robot like a glove. Another you could pull on like a pair of pants. These incredible creations are powerful examples of the exciting innovation underway in the field of robotics. You can read more about them on my blog (link in bio).
Looking for a last-minute gift? You can’t go wrong with one of these books.
There’s no doubt that Leonardo da Vinci was a genius. But what really set him apart was his sense of wonder and curiosity. I’m excited to share a project I’ve worked on to make it easier than ever to get to know his work. It’s a one-of-a-kind device called the Codescope that lets you explore the Codex Leicester, a notebook of Leonardo’s that I bought in 1994. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, I recently wrote about it on my blog.
I thought I was pretty good at teaching myself – until I read Tara Westover’s memoir “Educated.” Her ability to learn on her own blows mine right out of the water. I was thrilled to sit down with her to talk about the book. It’s the kind of read that I think everyone will enjoy, no matter what genre you usually pick up.
My dad, who is turning 93 today, is one of the kindest, wisest people I know. I can’t wait to celebrate with him tonight.
Nothing could prepare me for the tuberculosis ward I visited in Durban, South Africa in 2009. Every bed was filled and the waiting list for admission was more than 80 names long. Soon, however, TB hospitals in South Africa may look more like this. Recent scientific breakthroughs mean that many of the wards that used to be full of patients may one day be filled with empty beds instead. That’s a testament to the incredible efforts of people like Dr. Andreas Diacon.
My mom was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known. She used to ask me at the dinner table how much of my allowance I planned on giving to the Salvation Army at Christmas. Melinda had a similar upbringing, and even before we got married we talked about how we would give back. Tomorrow, I encourage you to join us in one of our favorite traditions #GivingTuesday.
Last summer, I visited the largest fertilizer distribution center in East Africa. Just before wrapping up my tour, I paused to watch workers stack bags of fertilizer onto flatbed trucks for their long journey to farms hundreds of miles away. It was exciting to think about the farmers who would use them and the positive impact the fertilizer would have on their next harvests and their country’s future.
#TBT to the time that my dad wore a baseball hat made from hundreds of condoms to our foundation’s annual meeting. The hat was a gift from a social activist from Thailand named Méchai Viravaidya. His efforts to destigmatize contraceptives have been so successful that he is affectionately known as “Mr. Condom,” or the “Condom King,” in his home country.
Happy Halloween from King Arthur and Merlin! I can always count on Warren to put together a good costume. What are you dressing up as tonight?
I’ve been traveling to Africa regularly for more than two decades. Whenever I go, I’m struck by the unbridled optimism of the young people I see. Even in the face of some tough health and development challenges, they have a positive outlook about the future. They are ambitious. They think in innovative ways and are eager to learn the newest technologies. They are also willing to take risks. To see Africa through their eyes is to see a continent brimming with potential and opportunity.
I was 13 years old when I fell in love with programming. My school had just become one of the first in the country to get a computer terminal. That introduction to computer science changed the course of my life. I recently visited a high school that hopes to do the same for its students.
I can’t help but be excited for all of the students who are headed #backtoschool. Two pieces of advice: Surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self. And learn to recognize and appreciate people’s different talents. The sooner you can do these two things, if you don’t already, the richer your life will be. Good luck!
When I was a student, I was lucky to have some inspiring teachers who brought out the best in me. I recently met a remarkable teacher who is doing the same thing for kids who face obstacles I never could have imagined when I was in school. Her name is Mandy Manning, and she teaches English and math in Spokane, Washington, to immigrant and refugee teens who have just arrived in the United States.
After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, many wrote the country off as a lost cause when it came to public health. Today, its health system is a model for other nations to follow. Many people were involved in making this dramatic turnaround possible – from government leaders to health workers to the people of Rwanda themselves. One name, however, comes up again and again: Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.
In the 1970s, two Colombian pediatricians were facing a big problem: a lack of incubators made survival for preterm infants extremely challenging. Looking for a solution, they drew inspiration from how kangaroos care for their young. This approach has been shown to reduce newborn mortality by more than 50 percent.
After spending time with the brilliant scientists and advocates working to stop Alzheimer’s – and the Alzheimer’s support community – I’m more hopeful than ever that we can make progress against this devastating disease. I'm excited to share that my next investment in Alzheimer’s research is in a new fund called Diagnostics Accelerator.
In 2012, my dad went to visit Nelson Mandela in South Africa along with President Carter. Mandela took them to a clinic that cared for infants born with HIV. As reporters and photographers looked on, he picked up one of the babies and held it in his arms. President Carter and my dad did the same. The next day, the image of all three men cradling HIV-positive babies was broadcast throughout South Africa. It sent a powerful message: that people did not need to be afraid of touching a person with HIV. I love this photo, because it reminds me of the indelible example that Mandela set for all of us. #mandeladay
Thanks to @lastmilehealth, more than 500 community health workers now serve 280,000 people in two of Liberia’s most hard-to-reach counties. “These are community members,” co-founder and CEO Dr. Raj Panjabi told me, “who may have a middle-school to a high-school education and can be trained and equipped to provide high-impact medical care just within a matter of weeks.”
“I hope you’ll join me to work for a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear.” @malala’s mission inspires me today and every day. #MalalaDay
So many of my favorite family memories, both as a kid and now, have been out on Hood Canal with my dad. We had a wonderful #4thofJuly yesterday and hope you did too.
This revolutionary cooler keeps vaccines at the right temperature for at least five days with no ice, no batteries, and no power required.
Buddy comedy coming soon. #bestfriends
My dad and I share the same name. After starting Microsoft, people used to ask him if he was the real Bill Gates. I always hope he says, “Yes.” I hope he tells them that he’s all the things the other one aspires to be. Happy #fathersday to the real Bill Gates.