Psychologists have mixed views on whether Bill Gates is a control freak, a sociopath or an antihero, after hearing the testimony he gave during the Microsoft antitrust trial.
The mental health experts expounded their opinions, at the behest of a US trade magazine, after viewing two hours of the Microsoft chairman and chief executive?s videotaped testimony. They also had access to biographical information.
Although the trio claimed they were ethically and legally prohibited from drawing absolute conclusions about Gates' psyche without talking extensively to him first, they said they were able to point to behavioural patterns that might give some clues to his personality.
Ronald Ebert, a forensic psychologist, said: "It's very clear that Bill Gates is a person who needs to remain in complete control of the situation," but added that he was masterful in the way he handled David Boies, the Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutor, while giving testimony.
"He just toyed with the prosecutor. Non verbally he says, 'Just in case you thought you were in charge, I just want you to know that nobody is in charge of Bill Gates," he explained.
. Ebert said that Gates' only odd behavior was his rocking, which he concluded was how the Microsoft boss remained focused, but he did not see Gates as a genius.
"Rather, I see him as a bright, focused entrepreneur, who has been able to use his non conformant streak to remarkable advantage," he concluded.
According to Jack Levin, sociologist and university professor, on the other hand, Gates could fall into the category of sociopath - or a person who displays aggressive, anti-social behavior.
"He's able to manipulate the reigns of power without heavy emphasis and ethics. He controls with moral impunity. He shapes the truth to his own liking. Bill Gates isn't afraid to go outside of [society's] established rules and regulations," he attested.
But he believed that Gates was more crafty than crazy. "He's not the least bit confused, doesn't talk to dogs, hallucinate or hear words spoken in an empty room. Some psychotics may be as smart as Gates, but they are generally much more confused," he said.
Harold Bursztajn, a Harvard Medical School clinical professor, took yet another view, however, suggesting Gates should be seen through the eyes of the general public.
What typically happened with public figures was that society glorified them at first, but figuratively crucified them once they stepped out of their defining role.
"So when Bill Gates was fighting against IBM and he was the little guy, that was OK. But now that he is the big guy, then he must be part of the evil empire," he said.
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