Leave Bill Gates alone: He’s stressed out enough—and so are these 10 business leaders

Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and other major CEOS show in their tweets who’s the most anxious.

Leave Bill Gates alone: He’s stressed out enough—and so are these 10 business leaders
[Photo: Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash]

Being at the helm is no walk in the park even for successful billionaire CEOs. And sometimes the weight of their leadership gets to be so great it spills over into their communication. So just how stressed out are the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates?


Now there’s a way to find out. An IT professor at the University of Wolverhampton in the U.K. developed a tool called TensiStrength. The team at SHL, a talent innovation company, used it to comb through the grammar, wording, and punctuation of some 150,000 tweets posted by 222 politicians and business leaders between 2009 and 2020.

According to the methodology: “Stress levels are scored on a scale from -1 to -5, with -1 showing ‘no stress’ and -5 showing ‘extreme stress.’ For the purposes of our study, we classified each tweet scoring between -3 (moderate stress) and -5 as ‘stressed.'”

The most stressed is Rupert Murdoch, with roughly one out of every three tweets indicating he’s on his last nerve. This is particularly interesting because the media mogul stopped using Twitter four years ago. Here are the top 10 executives on the list:

  • Rupert Murdoch (News Corp, executive chairman, founder): 31.4%
  • Bill Gates (Microsoft chairman, founder): 26.8%
  • Pierre Omidyar (eBay CEO): 24.2%
  • Reed Hastings (Netflix CEO): 13.3%
  • Tim Cook (Apple CEO): 12.7%
  • David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital, president): 11.3%
  • Ayah Bdeir (littleBits CEO): 11.1%
  • Evan Kirstel (eViRa Health, cofounder): 10.2%
  • Sarah Kunst (Cleo Capital, managing director): 9.8%
  • Richard Branson (Virgin Group, founder): 9.5%

The tool was used to compare the stress levels between genders, and it reveals that women such as Oprah Winfrey and Beth Comstock exhibit far less stress on the social platform. Could it be because women are better at hiding it?

You can see the full results including stats for U.S. and U.K. political leaders here.

View image larger here. [Image: SHL]

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.