He is the youngest self-made billionaire in history, the most powerful person in the computer industry, the most eligible bachelor in America. His limited-edition Porsche, his high-tech mansion, his tantrums, and his odd rocking tic have become the stuff of legend. Bill Gates is an American icon, the ultimate revenge of the nerd. In high school he organized computer enterprises for profit. At Harvard he co-wrote Microsoft BASIC, the first commercial personal computer software - then dropped out and made it an international standard. At twenty-five, he offered IBM a program he did not yet own - a program called DOS that would become the essential operating system for more than 100 million personal computers, and the foundation of the Gates empire. Today Microsoft's dominance extends around the globe, and Bill Gates is idolized, hated, and feared. Yet behind the legend lies an enigmatic genius whose accomplishments, failures, strategies, and worries have never before been accurately reported. In this riveting independent biography, veteran computer journalists Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews draw on nearly a thousand hours of interviews with Gates's friends, family, employees, and competitors - and a dozen sessions with Gates himself - to debunk the myths and paint the definitive picture of the real Bill Gates, "bugs" and all. Here is the shy but fearless competitor with the guts and brass to try anything once - on a computer, at a negotiation, or on water skis. Here is the cocky twenty-three year old who calmly spurned a multimillion-dollar buyout offer from Ross Perot. Here is the supersalesman who motivated his Smart Guys, fought bitter battles with IBM over Microsoft Windows, and locked horns with Apple's Steve Jobs and John Sculley over the Macintosh computer - and usually won. Here, too, is the workaholic pessimist who presided over Microsoft's meteoric rise while virtually every other personal computer pioneer fell by the wayside. Gates has extended his vision of software to art, entertainment, education, and even biotechnology in an all-out battle to make good on his promise to put his software "on every desk and in every home." Manes and Andrew show precisely how he intends to do it. Permanently erasing the public relations myths, Gates is a bracing, comprehensive portrait of the industry, the company, and the man - and what they mean for a future where software is everything.