Bill Gates recently gave the world a peep into his reading list, disclosing one of his favorite tennis books in a review published on Gates Notes. Much to the delight of sporting fans, Timothy Gallwey's The Inner Game of Tennis features on the list.
First published in 1974, the book was an observational study attempting to devise a comprehensive method of coaching. For Gates, who famously reads 50 books every year, the publication has many more layers.
Speaking about his love for the book, Gates said the book helps one deal with "self-criticism" and learn from one's mistakes. The American business magnate went on to add that he has read the book a number of times.
"I ended up reading it a number of times, which I don't do with many things, because it was a way of forcing me to think about, 'OK, what am I thinking about as I play tennis?' The inner game is really about your state of mind." Bill Gates said.
"Is it helping you or hurting you? For most of us, it's too easy to slip into self-criticism, which then inhibits our performance even more. We need to learn from our mistakes without obsessing over them," he continued.
Gates said the insights from the book at one point changed the way he showed up for work, and he began adapting the "Gallwey way".
"Gallwey's insights subtly affected how I showed up at work. Although I'm a big believer in being critical of myself and objective about my own performance, I try to do it the Gallwey way: in a constructive fashion that hopefully improves my performance. Today you lost a lot of money. Tomorrow, come in and try to do better," he stated.
"I love setting high standards for myself. You should criticize yourself. But how do you do that in a constructive way that improves performance?" he added.
Bill Gates dubs himself a "semi-serious" tennis player
Bill Gates also recalled trying his hand at tennis back in the day, dubbing himself a "semi-serious" player.
Going back to the self-criticism that he felt also translated into his on-court behavior, Gates said the book helped him better handle "negative reinforcement" and react better.
"I'm so mad that I missed that shot. I'm so bad at this," Gates said. "That would linger, so during the next point, I was still thinking about that bad shot."