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Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime Paperback – May 11, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385527020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385527026
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lowell Weiss on April 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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