Buffett did respond to Banayan with a handwritten note, but the billionaire was much too busy to meet him in person. Undaunted, Banayan booked a trip to Omaha, Nebraska with a small group of friends to attend the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.
His plan was to ask Buffett a question during the Q&A portion. Since he wasn't a shareholder or a journalist, Banayan had to enter a lottery system.
The odds of being selected were extremely low — only 30 people out of 30,000 attendees were going to be selected to ask questions, a volunteer told him. But another volunteer pulled him aside and told him that certain stations had far fewer lottery entries than others. If Banayan dropped his ticket into one of those buckets, his chances would skyrocket. Banayan followed her advice and was chosen as a winner.
Hours later, the spotlight flashed on Banayan as he introduced himself, stated where he was from and said:
"Mr. Buffett, I've heard that one of your ways of focusing your energy is that you write down the 25 things you want to achieve, choose the top five and then avoid the bottom 20. I'm really curious how you came up with this and what other methods you use for prioritizing your desires?"
Buffett chuckled, responding, "Well, I'm actually more curious about how you came up with it." The audience erupted in laughter.
Buffett proceeded to explain that both he and Munger live very simple lives, and are not disciplined enough to approach decision-making in that way. "I can't recall making a list in my life," said Buffett.
Banayan was stunned. "I could feel my cheeks turning red and I walked away in defeat and humiliation, so confused why Warren Buffett would lie like that," he says.