Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime” as Want to Read:
Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  378 ratings  ·  89 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Showing Up for Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Showing Up for Life

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 784)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
Cynthia Egbert
Mr. Gates and I do not see eye to eye on many things, but I really appreciate what he has to offer here and I highly recommend this work. Here are some of the quotes included that I marked and will use in the future.

-"Thinking matters through before we act is always difficult and often consumes a lot of our time. But it is simply not possible to be a person of integrity without doing it." -Stephen Carter

-One of the nicest compliments I ever received was paid me when I had been invited to speak a
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.

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.
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
Quick read. Each chapter is about someone who has infuenced Bill Gates during his lifetime. Great book.
Bill Gates Sr. is an impressive person. Smart, reasonable, real. Liked this - motivating.
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
I liked it mostly. I love Mr. Gates Sr's idea of showing 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
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
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
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
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
A charming book by a rare man. His message is optimistic but urgent: "We are in this life together, in our communities together, in our nation, in our world, and we share responsibility for it all." (p. xiv and passim)
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.
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
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.
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
It was an interesting, quick book. The ending seriously lagged for me.
Jasmine Du
Short, wise and inspiring!
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.
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.
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment
  • The City That Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control
  • Why America Is Not a New Rome
  • One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?
  • Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results
  • The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
  • 33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women's History: From Suffragettes to Skirt Lengths to the E.R.A
  • Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America
  • Global Warming: The Complete Briefing
  • The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking
  • The Hair Of The Dog: And Other Scientific Surprises
  • World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse
  • House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox
  • Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food
  • The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa
  • The Foundation: A Great American Secret: How Private Wealth is Changing the World
  • How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance
  • Smallpox: The Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer
Wealth's Fair Measure

Share This Book