Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

How Bill Gates reads 50 books a year

By | Abhijit Bhaduri | Founder, Abhijit Bhaduri & Associate

 Bill Gates reads almost 50 books in a year. He clearly is less busy than both of us. How does he find the time to do this? Does he employ someone to just read the books and ghost write it for him? You can check out his blog and see just how many he has already read in 2018.

Bill Gates Notes

He posts a review of the book that he’s reading and you can pick up some neat ideas even if you have not read the book. I have not read the book Factfulness. I have just read the review of the book by Gates.

Factfulness  was the last book written by Hans Rosling. He had the ability to make complex ideas simple.

Hans was a friend who Gates admired. Labels like “developing world” and developed world” are misleading labels says Rosling. When those are the only two options we can choose from, we are likely to think anyone who does not have a certain quality of life as “poor”.

Bill GatesSomeone who standing on top of a skyscraper and looking down at the city is likely to see all the other buildings as “short” whether they are 10 stories high or 50. The same thing happens with income.

Life is significantly better for those on level two compared to level one. But it is hard to see that from level four unless you know how to look for it. The book is about the ten instincts that keep us from seeing the world “factfully”. The book offers practical advice about how to overcome our innate biases.

Hans Rosling worked on the book until his last days and even brought some chapters with him in the ambulance to the hospital. His son and daughter-in-law helped finish the book after he passed.

Here is Gates talking about Factfulness



Taking time out to read is hard when there so many emails to respond to and so many Facebook photos to check. We live in a world where devices rule our lives. It is hard to build time to read and reflect. However most successful people who maybe much busier find time to read and keep notes. Gates Notes is a great example of notes that summarise key ideas of a book. A young Elon Musk read for 10 hours each day before growing up to become Tesla CEO.

Here are some ideas I have tried

Block 30-45 minutes daily

You can start by blocking 10 minutes every day to read. Keep this time device-free and go to a place where you will not be disturbed. That makes a tremendous difference to what you can read and retain. As you get comfortable with the 10-minute window, increase it gradually.

Reading is like learning to lift weights. You always start by lifting the weight you can manage comfortably. Then gradually, over time increase the weight.

Take notes

I used to underline passages and scribble notes in the page margins. Now I simply use Post-it notes and stick them in the pages which have struck my fancy. If you read eBooks then most reading apps allow you to highlight and take notes in the app.

I use the Kindle app on my phone. You do not need to buy a Kindle. Use the Kindle app on your smartphone. It works and it is a free app.

Analog and digital

I always have some books on my smart phone which I can read while I wait (for flights or before people gather for meetings). I keep a few paperbacks handy that I read daily when I am home. This combination of paperback and digital books works well for me.

Reprinted with permission & originally published by Abhijit @

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button