With a net worth of approximately $81 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Gates has been a public fixture ever since he and Paul Allen started a computer revolution in the 1980s. He has all of the toys you would expect from the world's richest man, from a private jet to a 66,000-square-foot home he nicknamed Xanadu 2.0.
Yet as his wealth has grown, Gates has done more and more philanthropy work, donating billions of dollars to charity projects through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates was born on Oct. 28, 1955, in Seattle. The son of a lawyer and a schoolteacher, he was an argumentative but brilliant child. As a teenager, his appetite for knowledge was so great that he read the entire "World Book Encyclopedia" series from start to finish.
Source: Wall Street Journal
His parents enrolled him at the Lakeside School, a rigorous Seattle private high school that future Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen also attended. Gates often credits his discovery of computers to the tools he gained at Lakeside. "The experience and insight Paul Allen and I gained here gave us the confidence to start a company based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home," he said in a 2005 speech at the school.
Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
After graduating from Lakeside in 1973, Gates headed to Harvard. Though he entered as a pre-law major, he soon changed course and quickly worked his way through the university's upper-level math and computer science classes.
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