Billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have been close friends for more than 25 years. Whenever they hang out together, Gates says, "I feel like a kid in a candy store. And not just because of his famous sweet tooth ... in all that time we have never run out of things to talk about and laugh about."

Actually, they did visit a real candy store -- Fairmont Antiques & Mercantile in Omaha, Nebraska --  during this year's "Woodstock for Capitalists," also known as Berkshire Hathaway's shareholder meeting.

You might even catch the two buddies kicking back on some lounge chair or playing with remote-controlled mattresses, courtesy of Nebraska Furniture Mart, a megastore owned by Buffett.

So you get the picture. They're close. And since Buffett has been around nearly a century, a lot of his common-sense wisdom has been imparted on the 62-year-old Gates.

And now it can be imparted on you, too. While nothing here is shock-and-awe, it will call you back to the basics of life and success. Here are four things that Bill Gates has openly admitted learning from Buffett during their friendship. 

Don't just invest. Look at the big picture.

Gates quickly learned early on that the key to Buffett's success starts with the right thinking around investment -- looking at the big picture and future of a business, and not merely focusing on the day-to-day details of the market.

Gates writes, "[Warren] talks about looking for a company's moat -- its competitive advantage -- and whether the moat is shrinking or growing."

Gates adds, "He says a shareholder has to act as if he owns the entire business, looking at the future profit stream and deciding what it's worth."

Be open and honest. And add humor.

Gates points out the quirky letters Buffet writes to his shareholders, and how effective his level of authenticity (and humor) is when communicating expectations and making others feel relaxed

Gates writes, "A lot of business leaders write letters to their shareholders, but Warren is justly famous for his. Partly that's because his natural good humor shines through. Partly it's because people think it will help them invest better (and they're right). But it's also because he's been willing to speak frankly and criticize things like stock options and financial derivatives."

He adds, "I still have a ways to go before mine is as good as Warren's, but it's been helpful to sit down once a year and explain the results we're seeing, both good and bad."

Value your time.

Noting one of Buffett's greatest strengths, Gates writes, "No matter how much money you have, you can't buy more time. There are only 24 hours in everyone's day. Warren has a keen sense of this. He doesn't let his calendar get filled up with useless meetings."

This creates margin for Buffett to spend more time with his close advisers and the people that matter most to him -- like Gates. "He's very generous with his time for the people he trusts," Gates says. 

Treasure your friendships.

Gates said the biggest lessons he's learned from Buffett over the years are more personal than dollars and cents. And the most important thing here's learned from Buffett over 25 years?

What friendship is really all about.

Gates writes, "It's about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren. He goes out of his way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life. To this day, every time I go to Omaha (which I try to do whenever I can), Warren still drives out to the airport to pick me up."

Published on: Jul 2, 2018