Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime
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Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  85 reviews
A heartfelt, deeply personal book, Showing Up for Life shines a bright light on the values and principles that Bill Gates Sr. has learned over a lifetime of “showing up”—lessons that he learned growing up during the Great Depression, and that he instilled in his children and continues to practice on the world stage as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Crown Business (first published 2009)
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Kami
What an amazing book!!!! I have heard about Bill Gates, the boy who founded Microsoft started in his basement and made a huge business. That is all true, but Bill Gates Sr. is the one who raised him and that has made all the difference. Each short chapter is a pearl of wisdom from Gates Sr. ranging from people and experiences throughout his life. He filled his life with important projects to help mankind. He and his wife were busy helping people, introducing their children to amazing, influentia...more
Nettie
Oct 15, 2009 Nettie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nettie by: Laura Rodormer
Bill Gates Sr.'s book is an interesting intersection with the other book I am working my way through for the 2nd time, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Covey points out early in his text that our country has moved from a character ethic (shown by integrity, humanity, industry, modesty and fidelity) to a personality ethic (shown by quick fix solutions, influence, attitudes and strategy). Bill Gates Sr. illustrates his character filled life with short touching anecdotes about...more
Kelsey
Having just recently read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, I was expecting this book to be quite similar. It was in format, but not so much in content. It is obvious that the author is passionate about being a citizen of the world, as this seemed to dominate the last half of the book. Because the book was something different than I anticipated, I did not enjoy it as much as I could have had I not had any expectations. However, there were several things which I will take away from reading it, an...more
Deborah
I liked his quote by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen in "Kitchen Table Wisdom". "Life is the ultimate techer, but it is usually through experience and not scientific research that we discorer its deeper lessons. We are all here for a single purpose: to grow in wisdom and learn to love. We can do this through losing as well as through winning, by having and not by having, by succeeding or by failing. All we need to do is to show up openhearted for class...So fulfilling life's purpose may depend more on ho...more
Lpeterso
Not as meaty as I would have hoped, this little book reads more like a collection of "words of wisdom for the day". However, it covers a broad cross section of life, and Bill Gates Sr certainly has the street cred to speak with authority on everything from raising kids to honoring your spouse to local volunteer service to convening task forces to solve the world's problems.

It's disappointing, therefore, that this book was co-authored by a professional speech writer. How much so? Who knows.

Ther...more
Traci
After reading this book I now feel like saving the world, helping other people, starting something that could be come big while also feeling encouraged that there are others out there who plod on even though it may not be showing how much good you are doing. Bill Gates Sr. is very insightful and has a unique outlook on life. I wish more people in my life had his outlook.
Lucia
A nice, easy book to read. Though it offers good advice on global citizenship and other more serious topics, I think the parts about his family were buttered up to the point that it loses credibility. In this world where we like to hear the good, the bad and the ugly in order to learn from others' experiences, all we read are goody-two-shoes nice stories, so we lose interest. Bill Gates Sr could have shared his advice on coping after losing a loved one, for example, when he tells about losing hi...more
Janet
Quick read. Each chapter is about someone who has infuenced Bill Gates during his lifetime. Great book.
Sara
Bill Gates Sr. is an impressive person. Smart, reasonable, real. Liked this - motivating.
Asma
It was such a delightful enriching experience to read Bill Gates Sr.’s book “Showing up for life”. Between its pages, this book complies a great deal of wisdom and motivation that is being introduced by the lessons the writer gained through his different experiences in life. Its truly is an unselfish act to share those lessons that are considered the secrets of the successfulness of the Gates family in social and career term. It’s brilliant the way that the writer summarizes a life experience in...more
Tamara
I liked it mostly. I love Mr. Gates Sr's idea of showing up...be reliable, be part of something. I love his family values. He has great passion for his causes. I don't especially agree with all his causes. I don't see how killing babies is empowering to women, for example. To me, there is nothing MORE powerful than conceiving, carrying, birthing, and raising a child. What Planned Parenthood calls "family planning" is the ultimate coward's path. Hardly empowering. I did not like his sanctimonious...more
Zinaj
This book is written by Bill Gates' father, which is probably makes one feel compelled to pick it up. Gates' initial idea was to write a book in order to share thoughts on life with his grandchildren. My desire in reading the book was just out of curiosity. I wanted to get a sense of the advice he would give to his grand children, how was this the same or different to the tenets he used in raising his kids.

Overall, It is an easy read and delivers on sharing anecdotes from his experiences raising...more
Alexis
I don't really like these types of books but some insights into how one successful family operates were interesting. I would have liked it more if it didn't smack so much of the motivational circuit, the ghost-written generic-ness of it, the 'who moved my cheese' rah-rah-ness of it. I don't get much of a sense of what it would be like to sit down with Bill Gates, Sr. and hear him talk about his life. Or maybe it does give a good sense. The overly-emotional auld-lang-syne-iness of it reminds me o...more
Charlotte
Norman Rockwell meets Oprah Winfey here, but Showing Up for Life is a fascinating, quick read that sheds light on the traditional family structure and old-fashined values--singularly American-- that bred the mega-success and mega-philanthropy of his famous son as well as the rest of their glorious family. Bill Gates, Sr., is humble and outspoken in the manner of the best politicians, without a hint of irony or corruption. You'll find this in the self-help section, but it's really a memoir and a...more
Erin
I enjoyed this book for exactly what it is - a short collection of stories, memories and life lessons. I agree with Senior - great things can happen in life by simply showing up. What I also liked about this book were the references to other books, poetry, authors, organizations, etc - just enough info to let me explore more on my own.
Matt Evans
Yep. This book isn't written by the Bill Gates you and I know and hold dear to our hearts, it's written by his dad: Bill Gates, Sr. Here's where it gets confusing: the Bill Gates you and I know is Bill Gates the III or "Trey," as Dad Sr. called him. So what’s up with a Sr. begetting a Trey? Turns out Bill Sr. is actually a junior, or, a tad more pretentiously, II. Here's how things work, though: once Bill Sr.’s dad died, Bill Sr., then a Jr., became a Sr. (i.e., as he is now). But, interestingly...more
Kristy Powers
What can I say, I love books like these! The author is a genuine member of The Greatest Generation and acts like it. He is fully engaged in a civic and philanthropic life and I just love him and his friends, family, and acquaintances after reading the book! It is not a how-to book nor is it an in-depth review of his life, but it is somewhat inspiring to me. Being an easily discouraged idealist, I appreciate books like this that help me view life's possibilities in a positive way.

If you want to b...more
Frodo
This was a quick read and enjoyable as well as inspirational. Good to know something about the father behind Bill Gates and the family's philosophical pinnings.
Bala
In Showing up for life, Gates Sr. talks about his appreciation for life, lessons that learned from family and people he came across, and shares his thoughts and philosophies on helping the society.
The book emphasizes old fashioned values through a collection of short anecdotes that conveys a pearl of wisdom or a about a trait that he keeps close to his heart.
I listened to the audio version of it. Patrick Egan read most of the book, which is the right choice.
You might not agree on some of his...more
Julia Luo
Loving family members is the most important part of our life.
I will go to Africa to help the poor through improving the agriculture someday.
L. Hinz
I really enjoyed Bill Senior's view on the great obligations that come with great resources. Thoughtful, inspiring book.
Corinne
A very interesting view into the lives of Bill Gates' parents and his unique upbringing. An easy and quick read, this book is full of the wisdom and insight of a great philantropist, Bill Gates Sr. I especially enjoyed the chapters about his wife, who sounded like and incredible woman. Each year at Christmas she would ask her kids how much they were planning on donating to the Salvation Army. She was extremely compassionate, yet quite the go-getter. (I would love to have read a book written by h...more
Weston Kincade
This book is full of great advice, much of which my own father told me over the years. However, like most advice that is given, there are some sweeping generalizations, especially in Mr. Gates' solution to education, that don't take into consideration the complex influences that are out of people's control and make his solution a much more complex, arduous task to accomplish. It is never as simple as we initially think. However, overall Mr. Gates' advice is quite insightful and useful to people...more
Jana
It was an interesting, quick book. The ending seriously lagged for me.
Kelly
I have the pleasure of working with Bill Gates Sr. and he is quite a person. His book is very enjoyable. It has a good deal of wisdom to proffer. I suppose I don't see eye to eye with him on everything, but he wouldn't expect that; in fact, one of the best part of the book is his call to have dialogue and to hear each other out. It is interesting to get insights into where a person so phenomenal as Bill Gates III came from, and I feel that I wasn't let down by this quick, quick read.
nicole
I received this book as a "must-read" from my mom and at first I have to admit I was wary. Expecting a book focused on Bill Gates Jr., I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the book was about Bill Sr., someone of whose accomplishments I was not aware of. The book was inspiring at the very least and caused me to reevaluate my approach to people and life. I really enjoyed reading this easy-to-read book and admire the life, family and legacy Bill Sr. has built.
Jenny
Super fast read, mostly just about being the kind of person who shows up. About why he thinks his kids turned out the way they did, parenting opinions, anecdotes from an 84-year old former lawyer, a bit treacly re: Africa and philanthropy, and definitely looking at the bright side - trying for inspiration here. How parents can encourage and learn from their kids and the kind of impact that being a grandparent/aunt/uncle can have on kids of any age.
Billbob Spear
Place the book where you spend a few minutes now and then.....Made up of thoughts from the father of one of the world's richest men ---Bill Gates, Jr. Ever wonder what it is like to be the father of a very successful and rich son.this will tell you. Filled with Sr's thoughts on living life. Lots of good advice and interesting stories. More time spent discussing his daughters and late wife than the son. Worth reading but not a sit down and finish type.
Jessica Bukowinski
This popped up in a search for books about volunteer management. I did not come to it with any expectations. I was almost surprised to enjoy it. It was inspiring, and by offering an expanded definition of the word neighbor the book opened my mind a little further to the idea of embracing international rather than just local giving.
A must read for anyone thinking of applying to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a grant!
Connie
Quick easy read with some practical ways to stay engaged with family, friends, and the world. I liked it!
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