“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.”
For 24 years, Bill Gates was the richest man in the world. The path to creating a revolutionary tech giant, Microsoft, and then, later, the largest private philanthropic foundation in the world began with a towheaded boy who liked to sit in his room all day and read.
It began with an Assertive Logician (INTP-A) personality type.
With ample research, we’ve broken down how Bill Gates is likely to process the world.
Let’s get into it.
Gates is the archetypal Introverted genius.
Gates reveals in the documentary Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates that when he was young, he would spend days reading, thinking, and pondering in his bedroom. His sisters remark that had it not been for their mother, Mary, Gates would’ve spent all his time reading.
There are several reasons why we’ve concluded that Gates is an Introvert – primarily because of his own admission, but also because there is ample evidence suggesting that he regains energy from being alone. Consider, for example, his weeklong “think weeks.” During these think weeks, Gates goes off to an isolated cabin on his own, and there he spends all his time reading and then synthesizing and organizing information he thinks relevant.
Some may argue that Gates is an Extraverted personality type. How else could he manage to control a Fortune 500 company and still find the energy to make the connections needed to change the world?
Well, Gates’s social skills are likely a gift from his mother. Mary Gates was a strong-willed woman who impressed on her son the importance of community and relationships. Mary likely had both the Extraverted and Judging personality traits, and it was from her influence that a young Bill Gates might have learned the advantages of strategic socialization.
“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”
Gates, in both business and philanthropy, seeks to find the best solution. Even if it doesn’t exist yet.
Take, for example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
One of the main goals of the organization has been to develop a clean plumbing system that could operate without electricity, water, or a sewer system. With this invention, the number of adults and children dying from dysentery and other waterborne illnesses would decrease, saving countless lives.
When Gates took on the project, he saw that traditional methods wouldn’t work. People told him that there was no way he could create a system and that he should give up.
Frustrated, Gates asked for inventors to step up and reinvent the toilet. He would not allow current limitations to stop him from his humanitarian goal, and it’s for this reason that we believe him to be an Intuitive personality.
Today, several countries have waterless toilets, leaving drinking water clean from waste. And it’s partly due to Gates’s seeing an issue and, instead of backing down, helping develop something that had never existed before.
Gates is a Thinking individual.
During an interview in Inside Bill’s Brain, Gates says, “It’s not my goal to be inspiring.” When asked what his goal is, he replies, “Optimization.”
It isn’t hard to believe that a man who refers to his brain as a “machine” would be a Thinking personality type. There are two solid examples of Gates’s Thinking trait. The first is his competitive nature. Gates has described himself as incredibly competitive, to the point that it was almost obsessive at times. This aligns with our data that Thinking types (particularly Analysts) are more likely to enjoy competition and strive to win.
The second is that he places a premium on intelligence. When asked in the documentary what his greatest fear is, Gates replies, “For my brain to stop working.” Of course, nobody wants their brain to sputter out, but for Gates, this is more than just a casual fear. For him, he’s ultimately afraid that his ability to process and solve problems efficiently and accurately will be taken away from him.
Melinda Gates (who we loosely type as an Extraverted, Judging personality) is the business partner and wife of Bill Gates. As the person closest to him, she says that he “thrives on complexity” and describes his brain as “chaos.”
One can see Gates’s Prospecting personality trait even as he speaks. When he speaks candidly, he is often speaking apropos of nothing, his brain connecting concepts as they appear before his very eyes.
While Gates is likely a Prospecting individual, many of his behaviors were heavily influenced by his mother. Echoing the recollection of his sisters, who we mentioned earlier, he reminisces that indeed, he would’ve spent days in his room, aimlessly reading, if left to his own devices.
It is likely the importance his mother placed on socializing, as well as the structure of his upbringing, that allows Gates to take his innate chaotic energy and direct it in a straightforward manner.
Perhaps one of Gates’s most prominent personality traits is his Assertive Identity.
He describes leadership and being in charge as feeling “natural” to him from a young age. This desire to be at the head of something may seem in direct conflict with his Introverted trait, but his Assertiveness – the confidence he had in himself and his ideas – balances it out.
Gates also describes himself as highly optimistic. Again, this goes against the stereotype of the pessimistic Logician, but Gates’s optimism has much to do with his belief that he can handle all the things that life throws his way.
It doesn’t hurt that he has billions of dollars to help him accomplish personal and societal goals, either.
At his very core, we believe that Bill Gates is a Logician. He is messy, thrives on complex things, and can spend hours getting lost in research if he lets himself. But the heavy influence of his mother and his wife helps foster a sense of discipline that’s not often seen in this personality type.
What do you think?
Do you have a different take on Bill Gates’s personality? Or did we hit the nail right on the head? Let us know in the comments!