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Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime [Kindle Edition]

Bill Gates Sr. , Mary Ann Mackin , Bill Gates
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A heartfelt, deeply personal book, Showing Up for Life shines a bright light on the values and principles that Bill Gates Sr. has learned over a lifetime of “showing up”—lessons that he learned growing up during the Great Depression, and that he instilled in his children and continues to practice on the world stage as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Through the course of several dozen narratives arranged in roughly chronological fashion, Gates introduces the people and experiences that influenced his thinking and guided his moral compass. Among them: the scoutmaster who taught him about teamwork and self reliance; and his famous son, Trey, whose curiosity and passion for computers and software led him to ultimately co-found Microsoft. Through revealing stories of his daughters, Kristi and Libby; his late wife, Mary, and his current wife, Mimi; and his work with Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter, among others, he discusses the importance of hard work, getting along, honoring a confidence, speaking out, and much more.

Showing Up for Life translates one man’s experiences over fourscore years of living into an inspiring road map for readers everywhere.

As Bill Gates Sr. puts it:

I’m 83 years old. Representing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and everyone who is a part of it has given me the opportunity to see more of the world and its rich possibilities than most people ever do. I never imagined that I’d be working this late in life, or enjoying it so much.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gates, attorney, philanthropist and father of the Microsoft scion, shares thoughts and family memories in this warm collection of short essays. Counting his children-Kristi, Libby, and son Bill--among his proudest achievements, Gates stays close to home and largely abstains from name dropping, though the Gates keep some impressive company (Gates prizes a photograph of himself, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter at the Zola Clinic in South Africa). With a conversational tone, Gates enumerates his tenets for successful life-hard work, generosity and curiosity-along with what he's learned from people like his scoutmaster Dorm Braman, his son Bill, his late wife, Mary, and his current wife, Mimi, as well as friends from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. government. Along with some impressive moments from exotic locations, such as his many trips to Africa, Gates's cascade of small, private moments build to an impressive and very personal life survey.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Bill Senior is as wise as his son is brilliant. I’ve learned a lot from both of them and believe everyone can benefit from the insights Bill Senior shares in this book.”
—Warren Buffett

"Bill Gates Sr. is a wonderful example of what it means to be a global citizen, teaching us how we can work together for a more just and fair society."
former president Jimmy Carter

“Bill Gates Sr., does more than just show up in this charming and instructive guide to a good life. He shares lessons learned as a husband, a father, a lawyer, a philanthropist, and a citizen. Showing up for life is a gift of great value.”
—Tom Brokaw

Product Details

  • File Size: 867 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (April 28, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0027G6XEW
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,638 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vaccine Against Cynicism April 29, 2009
Every page of this wise, warm, and inspiring book is suffused with the qualities that have made Bill such a towering role model for thousands of his protégés, mentees, and students. His infectious empathy and compassion. His glass-three-quarters-full optimism. His integrity and value set. His humility and utter lack of pretension.

Bill writes about the Gates family tradition of reading aloud with his children. My wife and I are now doing that with this book. Our hope is that Bill's wonderful stories and insights will help inspire in them the spirit of "radical generosity" which Bill attributes to his sister and so clearly applies to him better than any other human being I know.

Especially at a time when our world feels unmoored, we desperately need leaders like Bill to inspire us to show up for life in the way he has--for his family, friends, employees, community, nation, and world. Showing Up for Life is a powerful vaccine against cynicism. When you read this book, you can't help but want to use more of the hundreds of quiet decisions you make every day to make a difference in the lives of others.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From father to son, an interesting life story April 29, 2009
By Emil B
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bill Gates Snr writes a story that "humanises" Bill Gates Jnr, the competitor, as most of us know. Perhaps the father and son are very different characters; however the success of the future world's richest man can be traced back to the independent life and personal experience of his father. The life story of the author is as interesting, in my view, as the life story of Bill Gates Jnr.

There is a flow in this story that connects parents' lives, ambitions and dreams to what will become a dominant figure in software industry and philanthropy.

We all know from various stories what Bill Gates did during his early years, but we know much less about the parents. This book is a good read from a parenthood perspective. Both parents had a very hard time with Bill Gates Jnr and they handled the situation in a very smart way. If the father did not have an independent and positive life in his early years, with a rare opportunity to spend time with a great mentor, perhaps Bill Gates Jnr could have ended up as a rebel, competent and difficult successful manager or business man with good but not great achievements.

The book provides a glimpse of the family life, tradition with ups and downs and with amazing successes and tragedy. The work of the family in the field of philanthropy is also inspiring. A good book with a great story that makes an interesting read for most people as this is not a book that discusses the merits of a particular operating system or technology.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book. it reads like a pleasant conversation with an affable, interesting, kindly man. Yet while the prose is simple and straight-forward, the underlying messages are deep and thought-provoking. Mr. Gates covers wide-ranging topics, from an intimate look at his roots and the roots of his children, to national issues of taxation, to global crises of health and humanity. While it is not surprising to hear of a father's love for his children, I was struck by the open-heartedness Mr. Gates shows to extend that love to people in every walk of life around the globe. Throughout the book you find a very consistent picture of a man who puts his all into life, follows a strong moral compass, and cherishes every bit he gets out of life, from monumental milestones to the smallest touching word from a friend. He uses humor, color and candor through personal stories to make his points about what it means to be a parent, a spouse, a friend, and a citizen of the world. The book is a 'fun' read but also has that rare quality of leaving one thinking and inspired. Indeed, this is a man who shows up for life every day, and I believe the world is a much better place for that.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Functional Family Looks Like June 25, 2009
We're constantly bombarded with fictional and real stories of dysfunctional families. Here, finally, is a first-person history of three generations of a functional one. It's too late for many of us, but this book could be a lifeline for all new parents and those struggling to be good parents. It's neither preachy nor sappy, and in the span of three generations, we see the spectrum of good parenting from a family in the depths of the Great Depression to one with what might be considered an embarrassment of riches.

The book captures both the ordinariness and the exceptional qualities of the Gates family. One exceptional quality is their ability to see themselves as ordinary people, and another is the exceptional quality of their family life. This is how we'd all like to think any "ordinary family" lives. The Gates's understand that the vast majority of families in the world never get to experience this most basic of human needs, and in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we see them acting on that knowledge.

So much of child rearing today is focused on enrichment external to the family and often to its detriment. We read about well-educated "stay-at-home" moms who are so involved in their child-rearing responsibilities that they neglect their wider community ones and are so dominating their children's upbringing that the father doesn't get to play the important role Bill Gates Sr. played in his children's lives.

In the right hands, this little book could revolutionize how we think about raising children to be successful in whatever they choose to do--but especially in parenting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Every family should use this book as a guide
Published 23 days ago by Sheryl Rowland
5.0 out of 5 stars I've enjoyed reading this book to the fullest
This book kept my interest and it's good to see things thought the eyes of someone else's journey... Well written
Published 28 days ago by Malia Garcia
4.0 out of 5 stars I really loved this book
I really loved this book, its content as well as the audio voice which is very nicely delivered. It is not a big book, so it is a quick listen and it was great to hear directly... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Suvendu Mahapatra
5.0 out of 5 stars Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime
Excellent life lessons! The world would be a better place if people applied these lessons and "showed up to life"
Published 4 months ago by Amy Carlier
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking!
Each small chapter has a reason to see life for what it is and what it can be. To think about the greatest gift you can give, without even trying, is yourself by just showing up!
Published 4 months ago by Carla
5.0 out of 5 stars eloquent, thoughtful, inspiring.
I've already purchased many copies of this book for friends and family. It inspires me to be a better person and to live a more fulfilling life for myself and others.
Published 6 months ago by Ross Wehner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 7 months ago by scott f. welsh
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bill Gates
Am easy read with some insight to Bill Jr. as well.
Published 7 months ago by chuck FLINT
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Original bought and curious about his words on parenting, but upon reading realized that the book is more about life in general, a great read!
Published 9 months ago by zZ
4.0 out of 5 stars Be Complete!
We are always looking for the secret clue to living life well. Bill Gates, Sr. does not give a secret clue, he gives insight on how to live a complete life. Read more
Published 24 months ago by JP Carver
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