奈飞（Netflix）发布了一部三集纪录片，想要一探亿万富翁、微软创始人兼慈善家比尔·盖茨的内心世界。纪录片的名字《比尔的大脑内部：解读比尔·盖茨》（Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates）十分贴切，这部时长达3小时的片子讲述了盖茨的人生起伏，包括他在富裕的西雅图家庭的成长故事、微软的创立以及他和梅琳达·盖茨目前通过盖茨基金会所从事的公共卫生事业。
这三集的每一集都有值得一看的时刻，包括第一集——这集的内容没有那么光鲜，它把对人类排泄物的讨论变成了从教育角度看发展中国家面临的卫生挑战。但是，正如一些评论所言，曾经执导过《难以忽视的真相》（An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for “Superman”）的导演戴维斯·古根海姆在盖茨各个人生阶段之间的过渡或许有些过于突然，也过于频繁。由于这个原因，持有怀疑态度或时间紧迫的观众应该选择第二集，因为这一集聚焦于盖茨的思考方式，最为深刻。
本集里也描绘了微软最初几年让人开心的旧时光，当时盖茨和艾伦在新墨西哥州阿尔伯克基合租了一间小公寓。“我们当时玩得很开心。”盖茨在一次采访中回忆道，“我从来没有喝醉过，保罗把我灌醉了。保罗喜欢吉米·亨德里克斯，他很喜欢这首歌《你见识过吗？》（‘Are You Experienced’）”这些场景也很好地说明了他和艾伦之间的分歧和差别如何迅速发展：艾伦的爱好不局限于编程，他也喜欢吉他和科幻小说，而盖茨则被塑造成一个“不相信假期”的工作狂。
Netflix has released a new three-part docuseries attempting to peer into the mind of billionaire Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. Aptly titled Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates, the three-hour series ebbs and flows between Gates’s upbringing in affluent Seattle, the founding of Microsoft, and the present public health work he and Melinda Gates are doing with their namesake foundation.
Each of the three episodes has moments worth watching, including the first—a non-glamorous hour of television that turns discussions of human fecal matter into an educational look at the sanitation challenges facing developing countries. But, as some reviews have pointed out, director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for “Superman”) transitions perhaps too abruptly and frequently from the various periods in Gates’s life. It’s for this reason that skeptical or time-strapped viewers should select the second episode, as it’s the most focused and insightful glimpse into the way Gates thinks.
The episode begins with a reenactment of 13-year-old Gates and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen digging through a dumpster to find source code for the PDP-10 computer. It’s appropriate foreshadowing of what’s to come: an exploration of Gates’s teenage years and his complicated partnership with Allen.
You very much get the sense in this episode that Gates’s career was shaped by his adolescence. His middle school friendship with classmate Kent Evans highlights the beginnings of Gates’ interests in business. (I’ll bashfully admit there’s a neat montage of historical moments juxtaposed against Gates discussing the influence of Fortune magazine.) “What kind of impact could you have? Should we go be generals? Should we go be ambassadors?” he says. “This idea that some people were super successful, that was interesting. What did they know? What did they do? What drove those kinds of successes?” These sorts of scenes come closest to telling us how Gates actually does think.
The episode veers away from Gates’s youth at times, at one point touching on his friendship with fellow billionaire Warren Buffet. Another plot line focuses on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s mission of eradicating polio. But eventually it delves back into Gates’ high school years, when he began to foster a friendship with the slightly-older Allen after the tragic, accidental death of Evans. It was then, in the 1970s, when Gates and Allen began picking up side-gigs as computer programmers, leading to the eventual founding of Microsoft and the personal computer revolution.
There’s amusing insight into those early years at Microsoft, when Gates and Allen shared a cramped apartment in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “We had a lot of fun,” Gates recalls in an interview. “I had never gotten drunk and Paul got me drunk. Paul was into Jimi Hendrix and there was the song ‘Are You Experienced?’” These scenes also do a good job of illustrating the burgeoning differences between him and Allen—the latter had hobbies outside of coding, like guitar and science-fiction, while Gates is presented as a fanatical hard worker who “didn’t believe in vacation.”
The subject of Gates and Allen’s deteriorating relationship has been the subject of much speculation, and Guggenheim’s portrayal of it is both intriguing and mournful given Allen’s death in 2018. Additional interviewees who knew both, like Melinda, really hammer this point home in the final 10 minutes, as you get a sense of missed opportunities to reconcile between the pair. But speaking of missed opportunities, Guggenheim asks Gates if he had any regrets over Allen, but Gates apparently doesn’t answer, and the camera cuts away.
Overall, the second episode of Decoding Bill Gates gives viewers the most well-rounded look at the experiences that shaped its subject’s career and world view. We’ll leave the reviews to the critics, but in terms of pure entertainment and insight into one of the most successful entrepreneurs in modern history, this is the hour of the series to check out.