Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have the same definition of success—and it has nothing to do with money

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett speak with journalist Charlie Rose at an event organized by Columbia Business School on January 27, 2017 in New York City.
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Though Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are worth $86.4 billion and $76.8 billion respectively, the two friends have the same definition of success, and it's one that has nothing to do with wealth.

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session on Monday, Gates replies to the question, "What is your idea of success?" by citing his friend: "Warren Buffett has always said the measure is whether the people close to you are happy and love you."

At 61, Gates has not shown any signs of slowing down. He remains actively involved in running The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But he prioritizes making time for family.

"I just went on a trip with my 17-year-old son to see six colleges," says Gates. "He is a junior in high school and trying to figure out where he should go. Trips like that have been a great way to spend time together."

Warren Buffett has always said the measure is whether the people close to you are happy and love you.
Bill Gates
co-founder of Microsoft

When in public with his three children, Gates says he sometimes disguises himself a bit in order to remain inconspicuous.

"For example, when I did college tours with my son, I wanted the focus to be totally on him," says Gates. "A lot less people recognize me when I have a hat on or else they realize I am trying to be incognito."

Gates, an avid reader, also says that he takes book recommendations from his son.

Even billionaire business magnates appreciate the routine moments with family. "Melinda is very creative about helping me find chances to spend time with the kids. Even just driving them to school is a great time to talk to them," says Gates.

He admits that he hopes to become a grandfather.

Melinda Gates and Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation.
Brian Ach | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

In addition to making sure the loved ones in his life are happy and cared for, the second critical component of success to Gates is making the world a better place. Gates writes, "It is also nice to feel like you made a difference — inventing something or raising kids or helping people in need."

Gates says he still considers his work at Microsoft to be the most important of his lifetime, more vital even than his philanthropic endeavors.

"Although the Foundation work is super promising and will be the biggest thing over the decades ahead, I still think the chance to be part of the software revolution empowering people was the biggest thing I have gotten to do."

See also:
The 3 best pieces of advice Bill Gates would give his 19-year-old self
Sam Adams founder: Unless you're a sociopath, being happy is better than being rich

Jim Koch: Unless you're a sociopath, happiness trumps being rich