Founder or errand boy?

According to the book jacket of The Diamond Cutter, first published in 2000: “Geshe Michael gives fresh insight into ancient wisdom by using examples from his own experience as one of the founders of the Andin International Diamond Corporation…” The Diamond Cutter Institute, which Geshe Michael founded in 2009, repeats the claim on its website: “Michael Roach is one of the founders of Andin International Diamond Corporation.”

On and in some promotional videos, Geshe Michael states more ambiguously that he “helped found Andin International Diamond Corporation.” It is questionable whether Geshe Michael had a founding role (“At that time I had $7 in my pocket…”) or if he helped in the capacity of an employee, as an “errand boy” to Ofer Azrielant, the founder of Andin:

By great good luck he was at that moment just opening a branch office in America, having already founded a small firm in Israel, his home. So I talk my way into his office and beg him to teach me the diamond business: “I’ll do anything you need, just give me a try. I’ll straighten up the office, wash the windows, whatever you say.”…

So I start as an errand boy, at seven dollars an hour, a Princeton graduate dragging through steamy New York summers and winter snowstorms on foot, uptown to the Diamond District, carrying nondescript canvas bags filled with gold and diamonds to be cast and set into rings.

This humble beginning haunted him years later as Aya Azrielant, the co-founder of Andin, continued using him as a “luggage carrier” on her shopping trips to Tokyo even after he had finally risen to vice president — a position not uncommon for a Princeton graduate.

… I was in corporate life for like 15 years and God, you sweat, you do these 70-hour weeks, you know, you claw your way up to the top, to the VP position, you know, and then it’s guaranteed that you will just get this stupid pin, you know, and I got a pin, I know I have a 15 year pin, I was the first person in the company to get a 15 year pin.

Spiritual Partners Course 4, 2006

Geshe Michael apparently was one of the first employees, but the old Andin homepage only named Ofer and Aya Azrielant as “the company’s founders.”

Geshe Michael did found a business institute after coming out of his three-year retreat (2000-2003), and said in a 2004 interview: “Through the Enlightened Business Institute we teach you how to conduct your business only through spiritual principles.” However, it is questionable whether he was a principled businessman and his business conduct enlightening.

I’m in the diamond business. I was brought up from my innocence to try to trick these tricky diamond dealers, and get them stones for the best price, and they’re talking thousands of stones every day, and you’re supposed to outthink them and outsmart them and out-talk them and…basically lie, so [laughs], so this would happen, you know? I would go into the boss and he would tell me, “Tell the guy you can only pay five hundred dollars”, when we both know I can pay a thousand, okay? So I tell the guy, “I can only pay five hundred.” And he sells it to me for five hundred, and I think, “Oh, my boss is a genius “, you know? This stone costs a thousand dollars, and we got it for five hundred dollars, we just made a five hundred dollar profit. I lied…and we just made five hundred dollars. ‘Course it was…he bought it for three hundred but that’s another point, [laughter] which is always the case if he sells it for five hundred, but that’s another point. I lied. … So it looks like, if you, if you, if you look at the cause and effect of what just happened…I lied, and it triggered the profit. Okay I lied…and we just got five hundred more dollars. Okay? It looks like the lie caused the money, caused the profit, okay? … Correct view of reality says this, …you gave money to someone else long ago, at some previous time in your life, okay? In your lives you gave money, therefore you get money. Okay?

ACI Course 1, 1993

Why did Geshe Michael resort to lying? Had planting seeds for success not worked back then either?
Update: “… I remember I couldn’t get a job and I, I wanted to work in the diamond business, I had to work in the diamond business. I went to thirty different companies, they all threw me out. And then finally I met this guy [Ofer Azrielant] and I begged him, “I’ll do anything, I’ll wash the windows, I’ll, I’ll clean the floor, I’ll do anything, just teach me the diamonds.” And so he said okay and he gave me like seven dollars an hour. I remember. And I had to carry things from 33rd street to 47th street and that was my job. And then one day he gave me eight dollars, and then later on he gave me nine dollars, and then he gave me ten dollars, and then he gave me a salary and then I got a position and then it was fifty thousand, and sixty thousand and it kept going, escalating, you know and then finally it reached this point where I’m the vice president and I have to have all these things.” – Geshe Michael Roach, ACI Course 8, 1996
Related posts:
. Karmic management at work How did $45 millions of crippling debt happen?
. Fact dishonesty, blind devotion, and breathtaking delusions Did his karmic management method help build Andin?


  1. Juan de la Parra

    Michael Roach claims on a video promoting his talks in Mexico that he was sent to NY by his tibetan lamas to prove he had understood karma by building a multi million-dollar business. He said he often had to lie to make a profit. So I guess he understood karma all right.

  2. tenpel

    I remember when I read part of this book I always wondered what the founders of the diamond business would say about his claims. It was amazing for me to see that the book is mainly centered on himself, giving not much credits to others. The book didn’t convince me so I never recommended it to anybody – not even to business people.


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