Leonardo Farkas is Chile’s most exuberant and eccentric entrepreneur. Instantly recognizable by his mass of curly blond locks, he looks more like a rock musician than a successful businessman. He spent part of the 1980s in the United States, playing piano in clubs and on cruise ships. Having made millions in mining back home, he is best known for sharing his good fortune, often by showering crowds of well-wishers with cash. Farkas gave a record individual donation of one billion pesos ($1.8 million) to Chile’s annual telethon in 2008. That same year, his populist touch and appeal propelled him into the political limelight as a potential presidential candidate. He declined to run and today has loftier ambitions: preparing to be the first Chilean to visit space.
What is your favorite virtue?
The love and satisfaction I get from helping others.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
When they behave like true friends.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to spend more time with my family.
What is your idea of happiness?
No more hunger or evil people in the world, plus making love to my wife.
What is your idea of misery?
Dealing with politicians who just want my money.
If not yourself, who would you like to be?
My kids. They have a great life and super loving parents.
Where would you like to live?
In a perfect world.
Who are your favorite writers?
The ones that write from the heart and not just to make money.
Who is the person you admire the most?
Those that give to others.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Lo comido y lo tomado, no te lo quita nadie” (No one can take away from you what you’ve already eaten and drunk.)
What reform do you admire the most?
The creation of the state of Israel.
What special talent do you wish you had?
The ability to eat and drink as much as I want without gaining weight.
What super power would you like to have?
The power to ensure that good wins over evil.
What is your present state of mind?
Busy. I’m preparing to go into space.
What are your favorite food and drink?
Too many for this interview.
What do you hate the most?
Rich, cheap people who don’t help anyone.
Who is your favorite hero in history?
My father and my grandfather.
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