Power Players

Bill Gates shares possibly 'the most important thing' he's learned from Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates attend the Forbes' 2015 Philanthropy Summit Awards Dinner.
Dimitrios Kambouris | Getty Images

To celebrate Warren Buffett's 90th birthday on Sunday, Bill Gates wrote a blog post honoring the pair's 29-year friendship — and what may be the most important guidance Buffett ever gave him.

Gates and Buffett first met in 1991 and bonded over their common love for math and numbers, Gates said in his post.

Since then, Gates and Buffett have played countless games of bridge, enjoyed meals at McDonald's and looked to each other for advice – Gates even has the Oracle of Omaha's phone number on speed dial at his office.

Although Gates has received plenty of advice from Buffett and learned many valuable lessons, "the most important might be what friendship is all about," Gates wrote in his post.

Gates recalled how Buffett himself put it when the pair spoke to Columbia University students in 2017:

"You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with. So it's important to associate with people that are better than yourself. The friends you have will form you as you go through life. Make some good friends, keep them for the rest of your life, but have them be people that you admire as well as like," Gates recalled Buffett saying.

Buffett told students that choosing the right friends is important for career success, and Gates agrees.

"A person that I admire as well as like—that's the perfect description of how I feel about Warren," Gates wrote in his post.

In the past, Gates has said that he admired how "emotionally invested" Buffett is in his friendships, just as he is in his business. "It's about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself," Gates wrote in a 2016 blog post.

"Even though he keeps up a hectic schedule, Warren still finds time to nurture friendships like few other people I know," Gates wrote. "He picks up the phone and calls to say hello. He regularly sends articles he's read that he thinks Melinda or I will find interesting."

"Everyone should have a friend as thoughtful and kind as Warren Buffett."

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