Books about Bill Gates

Gates defines the breathtaking changes that will touch us all, and how developing technologies will transform human being in unprecedented ways. Written in a private style, free of jargon, this book guides in the world of tomorrow in broad and self-assured terms. It debunks certain notions that have expanded attention in the media, and makes projections grounded in the realisms of today. Gates defines how the tools of the future will change the method we make choices about nearly everything, from which toaster we purchase to who our friends are & how we spend time with them; from how we earn and spend, to where we live and how we defend our families in an more and more complicated world.

Last week, as reports were flowing that Bill Gates would step down from his post as ceo at Microsoft to take an additional direct role in routing the business to its future, I ran across a main find in Baltimore thrift store a pristine hardbound first version of Gates’ 1995 book, The Road Ahead. Written at a serious point in the history of computing knowledge, the book placed out what Gates saw as the coming wave of invention. He outlined the “info highway” in which PC, television, & phone converge into a Windows-powered sphere of information on demand & billed by the byte.

The book, which vended over 2.5 million copies, barely stated the Web and spent more time deliberating the business models of online facilities like AOL and CompuServe than the Internet itself. And Gates spent even further pages talking about Encarta, Office, and the excessive things that Microsoft was planning—such as “wallet PCs” that would bring digital money as well as individual planners.

“It reads as if it had been examined by a committee of Microsoft managers,” he wrote. “Probabilities are, it has been.” The book was lampooned in a repurposing art venture called “Toad Head.”  And numerous believed the book presented Gates—and by translation, Microsoft—as out of touch & more interested in self-promotion than invention.

Nearly 20 years later, Gates is being called in from the bullpen to support a novel CEO sharpen Microsoft’s technology and creation strategy, with the title “Founder & Technology Advisor.” The query is, with Microsoft facing yet additional inflection point in technology—a “mobile first, cloud first” world, as novel Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called it nowadays and with much more improbability ahead of it than it faced at the last variation point, is Bill Gates really the true person for that job?

Repaving the Road

Gates is a clever guy, both as a technician and a businessman. But he is not a tech-psychic. The Internet fixed Microsoft by surprise and pushed it into survival performances that would finally lead to an anti-trust suit, with an alleged threat made by previous Microsoft Group Vice President Paul Maritz that the corporation would “cut off Netscape’s air supply” (as stated by my associate Dan Goodin back in year 1998).