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Bill Gates spends 3 hours a day doing this thing during holidays

Jessica Yun
·2-min read
MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 17: Microsoft founder Bill Gates attends a book presentation at the 53rd Munich Security Conference at Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany, on Februrary 16, 2017. The annual event brings together government representatives and security experts from across the globe.  (Photo by Andreas Gebert/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 2017. (Photo by Andreas Gebert/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Even when one of the richest billionaires in the world is relaxing, he’s working somehow.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is famous for reportedly reading 50 books a year – that’s just about one a week – and in a recent Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session, he revealed how he gets it done.

“On vacation I get to read about three hours a day so I get through a lot of books,” he said.

Not only that, but for a fifth of the books he reads, the 65-year-old philanthropist takes notes in order to better retain the information he’s read.

“It takes me at least twice as much time when I write notes but for a lot of books that is key to my learning,” he said.

In fact, he’s had trouble “going digital” and switching to e-books because of his habit of scribbling notes in the margins, he told TIME in a 2017 interview.

His holiday reading habit has been around for years – and it’s one he will forgo sleep for.

“I always take a big canvas tote bag of books when I go on vacation. I have a bad habit of staying up really late if I’m in the middle of a book that I love.”

Gates’ success can be attributed to his lifelong habit of reading, which can help inspire creativity, innovation, and leads to the spark in imagination that is so essential to entrepreneurship.

“You don’t really start getting old until you stop learning. Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently,” Gates told TIME.

“I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to read. Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career and in the work that I do now with my foundation.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are also voracious readers: Amazon, after all, began as an online bookstore, and books have been said to have “nurtured Amazon since its creation and shaped its culture and strategy”.

In December last year, Gates published a list of five book recommendations “for a lousy year”. The list encompasses a look at the racism of the US’ criminal justice system; why generalists, not specialists, are needed; as well as remarkable scientific innovations and true stories of Cold War espionage.

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