Warren Buffett | Charlie Rose | January 27, 2017 | Summary and Q&A

November 21, 2020
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Warren Buffett | Charlie Rose | January 27, 2017

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In this video, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett discuss their friendship, philanthropy, and various global issues. They talk about the importance of education, the impact of technology and artificial intelligence, the role of philanthropy in society, the challenges of trade and inequality, and the potential risks of nuclear weapons and bioterrorism. They also share their thoughts on the future of the economy, the role of government, and the need for collaboration and innovation.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Bill Gates and Warren Buffett become friends?

Bill and Warren met on July 5th, 1991, and immediately hit it off. Warren initially had to persuade Bill to become friends, but they have since enjoyed a strong friendship that has lasted over 25 years.

Q: What is the Giving Pledge and how did it come about?

The Giving Pledge is an initiative started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010. It encourages the world's richest individuals to pledge the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Warren had already pledged the bulk of his wealth to the Gates Foundation in 2006, and they decided to expand that idea to other billionaires.

Q: How has the Giving Pledge evolved over the years?

Initially, Bill and Warren thought the Giving Pledge would attract around 30 to 40 people, but it now has over 156 members. They are delighted with the response it has received and the impact it is having. Members are learning from each other about effective philanthropy and how to handle wealth within their families.

Q: Why are many young technology entrepreneurs giving away their wealth at a young age?

Many young technology entrepreneurs are achieving financial success at a young age, which allows them to make significant philanthropic contributions. Unlike Bill Gates, who started giving later in life, these entrepreneurs have a better understanding of where the real impact and payoffs are in terms of philanthropy.

Q: Why did Bill Gates decide to give his wealth to the Gates Foundation instead of creating his own foundation?

Bill and his first wife, Susie, actually started a foundation over 50 years ago. They both believed that larger sums of wealth would be available later on if Bill focused on making money first and Susie focused on giving it away. Bill also believed that Susie was better equipped to empathize with people's needs and put personal energy into philanthropy. After Susie passed away, Bill decided to consolidate his charitable efforts into five foundations, with the Gates Foundation being the largest.

Q: What convinced Warren Buffett to give his wealth to the Gates Foundation?

Warren had always planned on giving away a large portion of his wealth, but he initially planned on establishing his own foundation. After meeting Bill and observing his philanthropic efforts, Warren realized that the Gates Foundation had a similar mission to what he envisioned. He also saw that Bill was committed to putting his own money into the foundation, which further convinced him to give his wealth to the Gates Foundation.

Q: Why did Warren Buffett consider his late wife, Susie, to be a significant influence in his life?

Warren admits that he was not well-adjusted and lacked emotional maturity before meeting Susie. She helped him overcome his personal shortcomings and put his life together. While it took time, Susie had a significant impact on his life, and without her, Warren believes he would not have had the successful life he has had.

Q: How do Bill Gates and Warren Buffett work together as partners?

Bill and Warren have been partners for over 57 years and have never had an argument during that time. They have a strong partnership built on mutual respect and trust. While they have different opinions at times, they always find a way to work together and reach a common understanding. Warren often sees himself as the one who is right, but he acknowledges that Bill is smart and will eventually come to the same conclusion.

Q: Do Bill Gates and Warren Buffett agree on everything politically?

While they do not agree on everything politically, Bill and Warren share a general sense that the economy needs to keep growing and resources need to be allocated in a fair way. They both believe in the importance of trade, clean energy, and the advancement of technology. They see the US-China relationship as the most important in the world, given that both countries are the leading economic powers.

Q: What are some of the challenges and risks of the future, according to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett?

One of the main challenges is the growing inequality caused by the market system and the increasing specialization of the economy. While the market system rewards those who make life better for millions of people, it also leaves behind those who don't have specialized skills that are in demand. The responsibility falls on the government to take care of those who are left behind and ensure that society as a whole benefits from the market system. Additionally, they highlight potential risks such as the misuse of artificial intelligence, the spread of nuclear weapons, bioterrorism, and cyber warfare.


Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, through their friendship, philanthropy, and business success, have become influential figures who advocate for positive change in the world. They emphasize the importance of education, technology, and innovation in improving lives, while also acknowledging the challenges of inequality and the need for government intervention. They believe in the power of philanthropy and the responsibility of the rich to contribute to society. They recognize the potential risks of various global issues and the importance of collaboration and forward-thinking to address them. Overall, their discussions shed light on the complexity of social, economic, and technological issues, as well as the potential for positive impact and progress.

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