The Name is Buffett, Warren Buffett

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Mohnish Pabrai — Imitation is the best form of flattery

Photographs courtesy: Mohnish Pabrai

The $650,000 he paid to win a lunch with his idol was guru dakshina. For Mohnish Pabrai, the truest Eklavya of the investment world, the guru is none other than Warren Buffett. The only difference is that, in this case, the guru had more honourable intentions — the hefty, auction-determined bid price would not rob the shishya of his greatest skill; instead, the money would go towards San Francisco’s Glide Foundation, Buffett’s favourite charity. For Pabrai and his friend Guy Spier, who bid jointly for the lunch, it was a masterstroke, because the charity was anyway on their agenda, having taken a leaf, once again, from Buffett’s book. And so, while they contributed to the charity, they also bought themselves a chance to get up close and personal with the guru. “I had a huge tuition bill to pay — this was only a fraction,” Pabrai said at the time of winning the lunch in June 2007.