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

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Part IV

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PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES

IN THIS SECTION, I offer some personal perspectives in the form of five speeches I've given to general audiences, usually in academic forums. While each speech refers at least tangentially to my investment values and my career at Vanguard, taken as a whole their focus is frankly idealistic, speaking of values that go well beyond the mundane world of finance.

“The Hedgehog and the Fox” (Chapter 21) is the lecture I gave at Princeton University in February 1999 in conjunction with receiving the Woodrow Wilson Medal for “exemplifying the spirit of Princeton in the nation's service.” Using Archilochus’ ancient epigram that “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing,” I contrast the pallid investment accomplishments of most of the brilliant foxes who populate the U.S. financial system—who know so very much about, well, everything and trade stocks with a frenzy—with the superior accomplishments of the industry's few hedgehogs, best exemplified by the index fund strategists, who know only the great value of holding a low-cost all-market stock portfolio. I also discuss the power of idealism, and applaud education that is liberal and moral alike. In the speech, I cite a second article from that very Fortune magazine of December 1949 that inspired my thesis: “The Moral History of U.S. Business,” in which one early American businessman ...

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