Bill Gates Is Writing a Memoir on His 'Struggles to Fit In': What We Know So Far

The Microsoft co-founder will tell of his Seattle childhood, friendships and struggles to fit in.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read
Bill Gates holds a microphone and speaks to an audience in Berlin

Bill Gates, shown here in May 2024, is writing his first memoir.

Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty Images

Writing books is nothing new to Bill Gates, and you can be forgiven if you thought he'd written an autobiography already. But while the Microsoft co-founder is the author of four books, he's never told his own story. On Tuesday, Gates announced that his first memoir, Source Code, will be published on Feb. 4, 2025.

A spokesperson for Gates describes the book as "the origin story of Bill." The book won't focus on Microsoft, the blockbuster technology company Gates and Paul Allen founded in 1975, nor on the Gates Foundation, his charitable foundation. Instead, it will offer a "rare, candid glimpse" into Gates' life. And the cover features a photo of a young, gap-toothed, freckled Gates that's quite different from the bespectacled adult Gates most people know today.


This missing-toothed kid grew up to be one of the richest people in the world.

Gates Notes

Read more: Why Bill Gates Says AI Will Supercharge Medical Innovations

The memoir will include a look at his Seattle childhood, his relationships with his grandparents and parents and his "struggles to fit in." While it will discuss his days at Harvard -- Gates dropped out after two years -- and the founding of Microsoft, the book is described as a personal look at Gates' life, not a history of the software company with which he's forever associated.

"I've been in the public eye since my early twenties, but much of my life before then isn't well-known," Gates said in a blog post. "In the book, I share some of the tougher parts of my early life, including feeling like a misfit as a kid, butting heads with my parents as a rebellious teen, grappling with the sudden loss of someone close to me, and nearly getting kicked out of college."

Read more: Bill Gates Wants You to Stream This One Show on Apple TV Plus

The promotional materials didn't mention Gates' personal life as an adult, and it sounds from the description as if the memoir will end with the 1975 founding of Microsoft. (We're guessing it will include at least a mention of pickleball, the now-hot sport that Gates has been playing since friends of his father invented it in 1965.)


Bill Gates today.

Gates Notes

Readers who are interested in Gates' take on his marriage and much-publicized divorce, it seems, will have to wait and see if the billionaire produces a second volume.

Gates married Melinda French in Hawaii in 1994, and together they raised three children, now adults. The family home on the shores of Lake Washington, a 66,000-square-foot mansion called Xanadu 2.0, reportedly includes six kitchens and 24 bathrooms. 

The couple divorced in 2021 after Bill Gates acknowledged an affair with a Microsoft employee during the marriage. When asked in 2022 by journalist Gayle King if Bill Gates had more than one affair, Melinda Gates said only, "those are questions Bill needs to answer."