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Annual Letters from Bill Gates


In all five of the annual letters I have written so far, I have discussed our foundation’s activities, showing where we’re making progress and where we’re not. This year, Melinda and I chose not to focus on the foundation specifically. Instead, we wanted to focus this year’s letter entirely on three myths that keep the world from accelerating success against poverty and disease. I wrote about the first two myths, which relate to poverty and aid, and Melinda decided to write about the third one, because it is related to her expertise in reproductive health. Read the 2014 letter.

JANUARY 20, 2014

Annual Letter 2014

"By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same."

JANUARY 08, 2013

Annual Letter 2013

Over the holidays I read The Most Powerful Idea in the World, a brilliant chronicle by William Rosen of the many innovations it took to harness steam power. Among the most important were a new way to measure the energy output of engines and a micrometer dubbed the "Lord Chancellor," able to gauge tiny distances.

JANUARY 08, 2012

Annual Letter 2012

Throughout my careers in software and philanthropy—and in each of my annual letters—a recurring theme has been that innovation is the key to improving the world. When innovators work on urgent problems and deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical.

JANUARY 08, 2011

Annual Letter 2011

As I sit down to work on my third annual letter, governments in every corner of the world are facing tough decisions about how to reduce spending. Although foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of governments’ total budgets, it is one place being considered for cuts. As a result, health and agricultural assistance that saves lives and puts poor countries on a track for self-sufficiency is at risk.

JANUARY 08, 2010

Annual Letter 2010

This is my second annual letter. The focus of this year’s letter is innovation and how it can make the difference between a bleak future and a bright one.

JANUARY 08, 2009

Annual Letter 2009

This is the first annual letter I plan to write about my work at the Gates Foundation. In this letter I want to share in a frank way what our goals are and where progress is being made and where it is not. Soon after Warren Buffett made his incredible gift, which doubled the resources of the foundation, he encouraged me to follow his lead by writing an annual letter. I won’t be quoting Mae West or trying to match his humor, but I will try to be equally candid.

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