Bud gains perspective throughout the novel and learns many important lessons about friendship and self-identity. Bud learns that friends are instrumental throughout life, and their support can assist and encourage a person during difficult times. Bud's best friend, Bugs, journeys with him to the Hooverville and provides moral support, Lefty Lewis graciously offers Bud a ride to Grand Rapids, and Steady Eddie makes Bud comfortable around the band and Herman Calloway. Bud learns that friendship is essential in order to have a happy, fulfilled life.
Bud also learns that he is ultimately in control of his own fate, and that he has the ability to carry his mother's memory with him wherever he goes. He learns that things work out for the better for those who remain determined and keep a positive attitude. Bud also learns that he is actually Herman's grandson.
Throughout the novel, Bud lives by various "Rules," which are actually false generalizations about most people. He learns that each person is uniquely different and that he cannot make accurate generalizations about those around him without personally knowing them. Bud also learns that the majority of people are caring individuals who offer help selflessly.