Bill Gates may be the richest man in the world, but money can’t buy this skill that Gates really wishes he had. In fact, Bill Gates recently revealed during his third AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit that there is one skill he is lacking that makes him “feel pretty stupid.” What is this mysterious skill that Bill Gates desires so badly? Speaking a foreign language.
In his third AMA on Reddit, Bill Gates revealed that he really wishes he could speak another language besides English. He goes so far as to call Mark Zuckerberg amazing for learning Mandarin for a Q&A with Chinese students.
“I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages. I took Latin and Greek in High School and got A’s and I guess it helps my vocabulary but I wish I knew French or Arabic or Chinese. I keep hoping to get time to study one of these — probably French because it is the easiest. I did Duolingo for awhile but didn’t keep it up. Mark Zuckerberg amazingly learned Mandarin and did a Q&A with Chinese students — incredible.”
Time Magazine notes that Bill Gates is once again the richest man in the world, a title he has held for the 15 of the past 20 years. However, money can’t buy him the ability to speak a foreign language. In fact, Gates notes that he has attempted to learn a foreign language via Duolingo, but didn’t keep it up long enough to see results. It seems that money really can’t buy you more time, which is what Gates would need to master another language.
Bill Gates isn’t without any foreign language knowledge. He does note that he took both Latin and Greek in high school and received good marks. However, he says he is not fluent in any languages and those courses simply helped him with his vocabulary. Unlike Gates, Mark Zuckerberg put in the time to learn Mandarin prior to a Q&A with Chinese students — a task which Gates called “incredible.”
According to the Washington Post, Zuckerberg spent all the spare time learning Mandarin Chinese for over four years before his incredible Q&A with Chinese students. Mandarin is a notoriously difficult second language to pick up for many. Therefore, many cheered on Zuckerberg for taking on such a difficult task while running a multi-billion dollar company. Chen Gao, lecturer in East Asian studies at New York University, noted that there is no excuse for being “too busy to practice” and Zuckerberg is proof.
“While his Chinese is heavily accented, he charmed the audience with his sense of humor and appropriate language use. What I want to tell my students is that if the CEO of a $200 billion company has time to learn the ‘Category IV’ language, you cannot say you are too busy to practice.”
What do you think? Should Bill Gates put in the time like Mark Zuckerberg and finally pin down a second language?