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You Won’t Believe Why Bill Gates Spent $30 million to Acquire This Peculiar Book

Heard of the Codex Leicester? It is pages upon pages of writings and sketches of the great enigma that is Leonardo da Vinci. The volume actually totals up to 72 pages and has been in the possession of Bill Gates for almost two and a half decades now.

The multi-billionaire acquired the Codex Leicester at an auction way back in 1994, purchasing it for a whopping $30.8 million.

A portrait of Leonardo, the man who inspires Bill Gates

Recently, CNBC has been prodding on reasons as to why Bill Gates could have acquired the volume, and why he has no intention of letting it go even after having it in its possession for well over 20 years.

Back then, Gates was still quite wealthy owing to the success of his tech company Microsoft, but he had not yet become the centi-billionaire that he is now. Why then, would he spend a little over $30 million for a book?


In 2013, the tech magnate could have already given us the answer. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Gates revealed his admiration of Leonardo, going to the extent of referring to him as his personal hero.

As he put it, it fascinated him that the genius painter and inventor was self-driven, pushing himself to the extremes of what people thought impossible during his time. And he did all that even when receiving negative feedback from society and facing criticism from his dad and the government of the day.

If the 2013 revelation passed you by, Gates has in his personal blog, revisited the Leonardo da Vinci topic. It was by revealing other aspects of the painter he admires that he endorses the biography by Walter Isaacson as a good read. If Bill Gates recommends a book, who are we to question his judgment?

This man clearly loves reading

In the blog, the 63-year-old is fascinated by Leonardo’s level of curiosity, and the lengths at which he went to satisfy it. Whatever he wanted to figure out, he would set his mind to it, scribble what came to him, the proceed to prove or void his hypothesis.

Then and Now

Bill Gates paints a stark contrast between the modern age and nearly half a millennium ago when the painter roamed this earth, claiming that it is now pretty easy to satisfy one’s curiosity thanks to the internet.

For Leonardo, it wasn’t quite the same piece of cake. Consequently, the billionaire finds it interesting that a man who lived that long ago is the one reminding us of how easy we have it now.

The Codex Leicester is still as fascinating to Bill Gates as when he first laid his eyes on it

Being the generous man he is, Bill Gates has made the Codex Leicester available to the public, although in digital form. Referred to as the Codescope, it is a kiosk that allows you to interact and peruse through the 72 pages filled with Leonardo’s knowledge, leaving you marveling at the genius of the man.

Last year, the Codescope toured museums all over Europe, in commemoration of Leonardo’s 500th death anniversary. What a legacy the man left if we’re still talking about him 500 years after he took his last breath!

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