How Bill Gates Thinks

Author Steven Johnson talks to the engineer turned philanthropist about the future, technology, ice, capitalism, and optimism.

When interesting people hang out, interesting things tend to happen. So when we found out that Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From andThe Ghost Map was going to sit down and talk to Bill Gates, whom you’ve probably heard of, we thought we’d like to eavesdrop. So we did.

Gates and his eponymous foundation are launching the 10th year of their Grand Challenges initiative—a program that provides grants to projects looking to solve problems like malaria and malnutrition. Johnson’s most recent book, How We Got to Now, tackles the history and future of innovation, and is the basis of a six-part PBS series that launches on the 15th of this month. Over the course of their conversation, Johnson and Gates touched on everything from capitalism to ice. Here’s what they said.

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