Book Review : Impatient Optimist – Bill Gates in his own words by Lisa Rogak

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‘This is how I see the world, and it should make one thing clear: I am an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist.’

                                                                                                          –   Bill Gates

A biography but not in the usual sense of the word, this book attempts to give us a glimpse into the life and personality of one of the world’s richest businessmen who spearheaded the digital technology revolution as the CEO of his brainchild and  tech-giant Microsoft. After dropping out of Harvard University in the junior year  and later co-founding  the company  with his friend Paul Allen in 1976, there was no turning back for this ingenious scientist who at a young age of 31, became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.  This book tries to explore various aspects of his life – from his decision to step down as CEO and engage in philanthropic work, his relationship with Paul Allen, his successor Steve Ballmer and Apple’s Steve Jobs, the nature of his philanthropic work and his foundation, his take on business, future trends in technology, his family, his legacy and his attitude towards various things in general.

His take on success –

‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’

Now the surprising element of the biography is that it is not in text format. Lisa Rogak has experimented with the conventional  style , and has presented the biography as a collection of quotations by Bill Gates  collected from various sources –print media , public interactions, conferences and business events, online journals etc. At first, it is hard to realize how a book replete with his sayings can be helpful  in providing an insight into the mind of this venerated personality – but as one reads through the pages –the words  indeed prove to be the words of wisdom and open the doors of  enlightenment. As the pages are turned, the reader himself can make a sketch of his character. The process is very much similar to real life – we hear/know what people say on the basis of which we form a portrait of the person in our mind. This approach also eliminates any prejudice or bias – a figment of author’s mind – which can set in the minds of the reader if he reads through the author’s lens. All in all, a commendable effort by Lisa Rogak, I must say. A possible drawback could be that this format does  not give a detailed description of his life or incorporate third person’s views about him. The quotes are also not arranged chronologically but categorically. It does provide a list of his significant life events in brief at the end – but it is very similar to the way we list events in history matched with its year.

If you are looking for an inspirational, light reading or are simply interested in his life– this book is a good bet. But if you want a detailed description of his life, this book might disappoint you. My suggestion to the readers – go for this book for the innovative style of writing.  It will be a refreshing change. The inspiration and wisdom which you would get out of it could be the icing on the cake.

You can buy the book here :  http://fkrt.it/Iv2HT!NNNN

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