Having original ideas is not the only way to be successful in life, and shameless imitation can often yield equally satisfying results. Studying the world’s greatest investors can be used as an effective method for accumulating wealth, wisdom, and happiness. Some of these investors have the same kind of influence as modern philosophers, and their ideas and behavioural traits can inspire anyone to make better decisions in life and at work. Mohnish Pabrai is an investor from India, and has always followed this approach, so much so that he is known as a “clone investor”. He has copied everything in his life from the best value investors of all time, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, with whom he went on to become good friends. None of Pabrai’s ideas are original: he simply applies Buffett’s techniques to running his own business, such as how to build his own brand and how to avoid silly mistakes. Pabrai even uses them to help him in his interpersonal skills and time management. During the course of his experience, however, Pabrai has also created some of his own rules for successful investing. He says we should clone shamelessly, hang out with people who are better than us, treat life as a game, not a survival contest or a battle to the death, be in alignment with who we are, avoid doing what we don’t want to do, or what’s not right for us, and finally, stop worrying about what others think of us, and instead live our lives according to an inner scoreboard so as to understand and define who we really are.
At the same time, however, Pabrai’s approach of copying the best ideas from finance giants must go hand in hand with a certain level of intelligence, along with some key criteria, in order to customise the investors' initiatives to their own personalities and environment. Every time we happen upon a good principle that the world is not yet ready to understand and accept, we must forge ahead regardless, and profit from competitive advantage.
Like Buffett, Pabrai always keeps his calendar clear of commitments, so much so that his typical day consists of zero meetings and zero phone calls, so that he has time to read up on companies, and study them in depth. His entire team is made up of just one person: himself, so there is no danger of anyone taking initiatives that might lead to mistakes.