Bill Gates is known as the world’s richest person, as well as an investor, businessman, technology innovator, and a leading philanthropist.
Born William Henry Gates III, on Oct. 28, 1955, he developed an interest in computers at a young age, and later on revolutionized the technology industry when he left Harvard University to pursue building his new company.
With his friend and business partner Paul Allen, he formed and developed the world’s biggest software company: Microsoft. After spending 25 years as the company’s CEO and president and accumulating a massive fortune, Gates stepped down in 2014 to focus on the Melinda & Gates Foundation.
Together, the Gates have made philanthropy their full-time focus in giving back to the world’s poorest people. Their foundation has made a major impact on global issues funding health and development, education, and advancing philanthropy.
In celebration of the his 62nd birthday, here are some of the best quotes attributed to the philanthropist.
(Giving back to the less fortunate)
“Is the rich world aware of how 4 billion of the 6 billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.”
"The market does not drive the scientists, the communicators, the thinkers, the government to do the right things. And only by paying attention to these things, and having brilliant people who care and draw other people in, can we make as much progress as we need to." (TED Talk, February 2009)
"I'm certainly well taken care of in terms of food and clothes. ... Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world." (The Telegraph UK, January 18, 2013)
"Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity."
(Importance of Reading)
"I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot."
“If geek means you’re willing to study things, and if you think science and engineering matter, I plead guilty. If your culture doesn’t like geeks, you are in real trouble.”
(Successes and failures)
"It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." (Investing Answers, 2011)
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." (Forbes, March 4, 2014)
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
Disclosure: Bill Gates is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a funding partner of Global Citizen.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.