Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Dhandho Investor: Chapter 17

Mohnish Pabrai is an Indian-American businessman and investor. For a number of years, he turned heads with the performance of Pabrai Investment Funds since its inception in 1999. Pabrai has high regards for Warren Buffett and admits that his investment style is copied from Buffett and others. Over the next few weeks, we'll be exploring the topics in his book about value investing.

In this, the final chapter, Pabrai begins with a fable that illustrates the importance of focusing on companies within one's circle of competence. Investors can pick and choose from hundreds of thousands of companies (both public and private), real estate, currencies, mutual funds, options, hedge funds, treasuries, commodities and other investments. If the investor were to try his hand at all of them, he is not likely to do well. But by focusing on simple, easy-to-understand businesses, the investor increases his odds.

To that end, Pabrai advises investors to look only for opportunities that meet this criteria. Once an opportunity appears, study it closely, vet it, and make sure it's trading at a discount. "Do not make the fatal mistake of looking at five businesses at once," Pabrai argues. One should fixate on one company at a time, and only when the analysis is complete is one ready to look at other companies within the circle of competence.

While the book has been aimed at teaching readers how to maximize their wealth, Pabrai argues that there is more to life than money. A life focused only on increasing material wealth is not fully rewarding. Pabrai concludes the book by urging those who find success in Dhandho investing to give some of their wealth to those who are not so fortunate.

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