Home > Finance > Bridge, golf and mattress testing: Inside Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s many years of friendship

Bridge, golf and mattress testing: Inside Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s many years of friendship


Bill Gates’ much-awaited bi-annual reading list had a few non-reading recommendations this time around for those stuck at home and looking for a distraction. The eclectic list featured TV shows like A Million Little Things, This is Us and I, Claudius. But among the entertainment options was a surprising wild card entry – playing bridge.

On his personal blog, Gates confessed to playing bridge with his favourite playing partner – fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.

“I’ve been playing bridge for years—Warren Buffett is my favourite partner. We don’t get together in person now that we’re sheltering in place, but we still play online,” he wrote. “There are lots of great options out there, including this guide to learning the game, and the online platform that Warren and I play on, which is called Bridge Base. I’ll keep our screen names between us.”

This revelation is just an example of the deep friendship Gates and Buffett share. Here are a few others:

Shares reading lists
Shortly after Gates and Buffett met in 1991, Gates asked Buffett for his favourite business book recommendation. Buffett lent Gates his copy of “Business Adventures” by John Brooks. According to a media report, Gates still has Buffett’s copy and it remains one of the best business books he’s ever read.


Bill Gates often turns to Warren Buffett for advice and not just in business. (Image: www.gatesnotes.com)

Tests mattresses together
Prior to the coronavirus, there was one place that Gates would visit every spring no matter what – Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders weekend in Omaha – not just for business but to goof off with his friend as well.

“Although the Berkshire weekend is always busy, Warren and I usually find time to goof off with a few games of bridge or a golf-cart ride around the showroom,” wrote Gates on his blog. In 2017, the duo went on a tour of the Nebraska Furniture Mart and somehow managed to get lost.

Has Buffett’s number on speed dial at the Gates foundation
Gates often turns to Buffett for advice and not just in business. “Not many people get to ask him (Buffett) for advice on a regular basis. I feel very lucky in that regard,” he wrote in a 2013 LinkedIn post. “The dialogue has been invaluable to me, and not only at Microsoft. When Melinda and I started our foundation, I turned to him for advice. It turns out that Warren’s brilliant way of looking at the world is just as useful in attacking poverty and disease as it is in building a business.”

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