Not only is he one of the wealthiest people in the world, but he’s also a philanthropist, an author and even a knight.
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With a net worth of more than $86 billion, Bill Gates is known for being one of the richest people in the world. But there's a lot more you probably don't know about the Microsoft co-founder.
Gates was born in Seattle in 1955 and discovered his passion for technology early on. In school, he met long-time friend and future co-founder Paul Allen. Together, they launched another small-business venture before coming up with the idea for Microsoft.
Related: 5 Life Lessons From Bill Gates, One of the Most Influential Philanthropists on Earth
Until he realized his desire to pursue computers, Gates had planned to become a lawyer and studied pre-law at Harvard. He eventually dropped out, launched Microsoft and met his employee and future wife, Melinda. Today, Gates is not only a self-made billionaire and tech leader, but he's also a philanthropist, an author and even a knight.
Check out these 20 surprising facts about Bill Gates.
Additional reporting by Nina Zipkin
Image credit: Joe McNally | Getty Images
After spending a few years in public school, Gates later attended the Lakeside School, a private preparatory school in Seattle. It was there that Gates discovered his passion for computer programming and met Paul Allen, who became his close friend and later Microsoft co-founder. He also developed his first computer software program at age 13. Using BASIC computer language, the program was a tic-tac-toe game in which players could compete against the computer.
The Lakeside School recruited Gates to help code its class scheduling system. Gates took advantage of his new task and his coding abilities, and he and his long-time pal and later Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen tweaked the school's scheduling software and placed Gates in all-girls classes.
“Paul did the computer scheduling with me. Unfortunately for him he was two years ahead of me and he was off to college by then. So I was the one who benefited by being able to have the nice girls at least sit near me,' Gates shared with BBC.
Image credit: Bruce Glikas
From the moment they met in middle school, Gates and Allen became friends — likely because of their common interest in computer programming. While in school, the two formed a company called Traf-O-Data. They put together a small computer based on an Intel 8008 chip that measured and analyzed traffic data for the Washington state highway department. Gates and Allen made about $20,000 from the venture, but it slowly dissolved as Allen went on to work for Honeywell in Boston and Gates enrolled at Harvard.
It's hardly shocking that the genius got a near-perfect score on his SATs. Gates scored a 1590 out of 1600 on the college entrance exams.
In 1973, Gates began studying pre-law at Harvard University, planning to follow in the footsteps of his lawyer father. Although by his sophomore year, Gates's plans changed and he began taking some of the school's most rigorous math and science courses. Then, two years into his Harvard career, Gates dropped out to pursue Microsoft.
In 1975, in his Porsche 911, 19-year-old Gates was arrested for speeding and driving without a license. But he didn't learn his lesson — two years later, Gates was arrested again in Albuquerque, N.M., for another traffic violation and for driving without his license.
There's speculation that the generic user icon in Microsoft Outlook 10 is actually a silhouette of Gates's mugshot.
After graduating from Duke University in 1986, Melinda Gates landed her first job at a startup — Microsoft.
'œI just thought, '˜Oh my gosh. I have to work at this company. They are changing the world. And if I get an offer, there's no way I'm not going to take it,' ' Melinda told CBS News.
Melinda scored the job, and shortly into her time working there, she made a great impression on the boss.
Related: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’s Top Secret to Success
'œI met her at a New York City sales meeting,' Bill told CBS. 'œAnd then it was only a week or so after that, that I went up to her in the parking lot and asked if she wanted to go out.'
Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images
Gates made his first billion in 1987 at the age of 31, making him the youngest billionaire ever at that time.
To ensure privacy, Gates rented out all 250 rooms at the Manele Bay Hotel in Lanai, Hawaii, where his wedding party was staying. At the time (1994), Gates was the second-richest person in America. Taking an extra precaution to keep the media and paparazzi from flying overhead, Gates reportedly hired all of the helicopters on Maui, too.
You'd think a simple punch card or check-in system might suffice — not for Gates. Gates memorized the license plates of his employees so he would know when they arrived at and left work.
'œI knew everyone’s license plate, so I could look out in the parking lot and see when did people come in, when were they leaving. Eventually I had to loosen up, as the company got to a reasonable size,' he revealed in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs program.
Besides his private plane, Gates's other big splurge was Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester manuscript, which dates back to the 16th century. In a 1994 auction, Gates won the manuscript for $30.8 million, making it the most expensive book in the world. Gates sometimes puts the book on loan to museums.
In July 1995, at 39 years old, Gates became the richest man in the world with a fortune of $12.9 billion. He has since lost that title a few times, but he held the top spot on the Forbes World's Billionaires real-time ranking in March 2017.
During a 1998 trip to Brussels, Belgium, Gates was on hi