Monday, September 19, 2011

Up Close: Bill Gates a twentieth-century life by Marc Aronson

Want to be like Bill Gates? Established non-fiction writer Marc Aronson understands that young readers can’t help but wonder how one goes about becoming one of the richest people in the world. He also understands, he says, that much of what is truly fascinating about Bill Gates is how he has shaped the world we live in now. With these twin aims he organizes Gates’ biography into eleven chapters, the bulk of which address what Aronson casts as the eight principles of getting rich fast. Following Gates from his childhood in a wealthy, competitive family and in his early years at a public school, Aronson explains how the teenage Gates used everything he could draw on to become extremely wealthy in a shockingly short period of time. Aronson does a good job of helping the reader understand Gates’ critics and wonders about Microsoft’s cofounder turning into a major philanthropist. A satisfying biography of a singular contemporary icon dually useful to the curious reader as well as a student looking for report material. Notes, an index, and a bibliography help the non-fiction writer consider the writer’s perspective and process. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Aronson, Marc. Up Close: Bill Gates : a twentieth-century life. New York: Penguin Group, 2009.

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