Bill Gates on Desert Island Discs: World's richest person reveals what you get for the man who has everything

Asked to pick a single luxury item for if he was stranded on a desert island, the Microsoft founder went for 'a bunch of DVDs of great lectures'

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The Independent Online

Bill Gates has appeared on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, finally providing the answer to the question of what to give to the man who has everything.

The Microsoft founder came in for some light-hearted criticism from listeners for music tastes which could at best be described as safe, but revealed that he had in fact been quite a “disruptive” teenager and that he and Paul Allen fixed school scheduling software so they got to sit with girls.

Mr Gates was named once again as the wealthiest man in the world last week, with a personal fortune of $87.4 billion far outstripping that of the man who briefly overtook him last October, Amancio Ortega.

And speaking to Kirsty Young in an interview broadcast on Sunday morning, the 60-year-old revealed the one item he would take out of all his worldly riches if he was to be stranded on a desert island.

Asked for his luxury item, Mr Gates said: “Well I suppose asking for an internet connection is probably outside the rules?”

Instead, he went for “a whole bunch of DVDs of all the world's great lectures”.

Mr Gates’ first song choice was “Under Pressure”, a collaboration between Queen and David Bowie, who died on 10 January aged 69.

He also chose Ed Sheeran’s “Sing”, which he put down to the fact that his “kids who are 19, 16 and 13 refresh my musical taste”.

Other songs included “One” by U2, “Blue Skies” by Willie Nelson and “My Shot” from the musical Hamilton, which he said was “about a young person saying, ‘Hey I’m going to take a risk, I’m going to get out there and try and do something new and different’”.

Speaking about his childhood, Mr Gates said: “I was a bit disruptive. I started early on questioning were their rules logical and always to be followed, so there was kind of a bit of tension there as I was pushing back.”

On meeting Google co-founder Allen at school, he said: "Paul did the computer scheduling with me. Unfortunately for him he was two years ahead of me and he was off to college by then. So I was the one who benefited by being able to have the nice girls at least sit near me.

"It wasn't that I could talk to them or anything - but they were there. I think I was particularly inept at talking to girls, or thinking, 'OK - do you ask them out, do you not?' When I went off to Harvard I was a little bit more sociable. But I was below average on talking to girls," he said.

And he spoke about his frustrations running the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which has so far spent £34 billion trying to combat diseases and development issues around the world.

He said: “When you see the cost of the diseases or even the malnutrition where the kids who survive don't grow up to achieve their full potential, it does bother you that there's not more generosity or there's not more creativity, that we are not drawing in the best scientists.”