Gates has written three books:
The Road Ahead, written with Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson, was published in November 1995. It summarized the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway.
Business @ the Speed of Thought was published in 1999, and discusses how business and technology are integrated, and shows how digital infrastructures and information networks can help to get an edge on the competition.
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (February 2021) presents what Gates learned in over a decade of studying climate change and investing in innovations to address climate problems.
Gates and his wife, Melinda, 2009
Gates married Melinda French on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai on January 1, 1994. They have three children: Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe. The family's residence is an earth-sheltered mansion in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. In 2009, property taxes on the mansion were reported to be US$1.063 million, on a total assessed value of US$147.5 million. The 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) estate has a 60-foot (18 m) swimming pool with an underwater music system, as well as a 2,500-square-foot (230 m2) gym and a 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) dining room. On May 3, 2021, Bill and Melinda Gates announced that they had decided to divorce following 27 years of marriage, and 34 years as a couple. The couple said they will keep working together on charitable efforts.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gates stated in regard to his faith: "The moral systems of religion, I think, are super important. We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I've been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that's kind of a religious belief. I mean, it's at least a moral belief." In the same 2014 interview Gates also said: "I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about. To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know."
Gates purchased the Codex Leicester, a collection of scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci, for US$30.8 million at an auction in 1994. In 1998, Gates reportedly paid $30 million for the original 1885 maritime painting Lost on the Grand Banks, at the time a record price for an American painting. Gates is an avid reader, and the ceiling of his large home library is engraved with a quotation from The Great Gatsby. He also enjoys playing bridge, tennis, and golf. Gates's days are planned for him on a minute-by-minute basis, similar to the U.S. President's schedule. Despite his wealth and extensive business travel, Gates flew coach in commercial aircraft until 1997, when he bought a private jet.
In 2016, he revealed that he is color-blind.
In May 2021 it was confirmed that in Bill Gates’ relationship, Gates was given permission by his former wife Melinda Ann Gates to spend limited time with Bills ex-girlfriend. This was due to a built-in arrangement Bill had with Melinda and this was prior to the now-former pair exchanging nuptials in 1994 in Hawaii.
This negotiation said that Bill and Ann Winblad will travel a few times annually on a weekend getaway with one another to chat and pick one another's brains. Bill Gates said he sought approval from Winblad at the time before he proposed to Melinda Ann Gates.
Gates meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, February 2017
In 1999, his wealth briefly surpassed US$101 billion. Since 2000, the nominal value of his Microsoft holdings has declined due to a fall in Microsoft's stock price after the dot-com bubble burst and the multi-billion dollar donations he has made to his charitable foundations. In May 2006, Gates remarked that he wished that he were not the richest man in the world because he disliked the attention it brought. In March 2010, Gates was the second wealthiest person behind Carlos Slim, but regained the top position in 2013, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires List. Slim retook the position again in June 2014 (but then lost the top position back to Gates). Between 2009 and 2014, his wealth doubled from US$40 billion to more than US$82 billion.
In October 2017, Gates was surpassed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. On November 15, 2019, he once again became the richest person in the world after a 48% increase in Microsoft shares, surpassing Bezos. Gates told the BBC, "I've paid more tax than any individual ever, and gladly so ... I've paid over $6 billion in taxes." He is a proponent of higher taxes, particularly for the rich.
Gates has held the top spot on the list of The World's Billionaires for 18 out of the past 23 years. Gates has several investments outside Microsoft, which in 2006 paid him a salary of US$616,667 and US$350,000 bonus totalling US$966,667. In 1989, he founded Corbis, a digital imaging company. In 2004, he became a director of Berkshire Hathaway, the investment company headed by long-time friend Warren Buffett.
In 1987, Gates was listed as a billionaire in Forbes magazine's 400 Richest People in America issue. He was worth $1.25 billion and was the world's youngest self-made billionaire. Since 1987, Gates has been included in the Forbes The World's Billionaires list and was the wealthiest from 1995 to 1996, 1998 to 2007, 2009, and held the spot until 2018 before being overtaken by Jeff Bezos. Gates was number one on the Forbes 400 list from 1993 through to 2007, 2009, and 2014 through 2017