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John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years by John C. Bogle

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PREFACE

THOUGH IT HAPPENED more than a half-century ago, it seems like only yesterday that I was a junior at Princeton University, barely out of my teenage years, an insecure but determined young man with a crew cut, majoring in economics. Seated in the reading room of the newly opened Firestone Library, I was reading current business literature as I considered a topic for my forthcoming senior thesis. As the sun poured into the reading room, I paged through the December 1949 issue of Fortune magazine. Fate must have been looking on me with favor, for, as I came to page 116, my eye caught an article entitled, “Big Money in Boston.” It appraised a business of which I was totally ignorant: The mutual fund industry. I guess it's fair to say that the rest is history.

After reading and re-reading the article, I quickly decided that, for a whole variety of reasons, the fund industry would be the perfect topic for my thesis. First, because I had long since decided I would write my thesis on a subject no previous thesis had ever tackled; there, by the process of elimination, went Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and a score of other noted economists. Second, because it was a subject on which little had been written, and thus represented a wonderful opportunity for original research. Indeed when I'd finished my research, the Fortune article turned out to be the only substantive mutual fund article in a major magazine that I ever found. And third, because the article described ...

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