The Bill Gates Problem

The Bill Gates Problem

Reckoning with the Myth of the Good Billionaire


Nobody who comes away from reading The Bill Gates Problem will look at him in the same way’ - The Times

You know him as the founder of Microsoft; the philanthropic, kind-hearted billionaire who has donated endless funds to good causes around the world. But there's another side to Bill Gates.

We might like to think of the Gates Foundation as an innocent charity giving away money, collaborating with stakeholders, and listening to the desires of the populations it hopes to help, but is that how it works in practice?

Combining rich storytelling and ground-breaking reporting, The Bill Gates Problem offers readers a provocative and timely counter-narrative about one of the world's most widely recognized individuals - a true global celebrity with international reach. But more than that, this book speaks to a vital political question around economic inequality and the erosion of democratic institutions - why should the super-rich be able to transform their wealth into political power, and just how far can they go?


  • Schwab makes a strong case, based on years of reporting, that under the direction of a humbler man the Gates Foundation would probably be a more effective force for good.
    Editors' Choice, The New York Times

About the author

Tim Schwab

Tim Schwab is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. His 2019 investigation into the Gates Foundation won multiple awards, including an Izzy from the Park Center for Independent Media and a Deadline Club Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and was nominated for a Pulitzer prize by The Nation newspaper. His reporting on Gates has appeared in The Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review and the British Medical Journal, and represents some of the only investigative journalism ever published on Gates. Earlier in his career, Tim worked as a journalist for two daily newspapers and as a researcher for the watchdog group Food & Water Watch.
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