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Money Machine by Gary Smith

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BAUBLES AND BUBBLES

When beggars and shoeshine boys, barbers and beauticians can tell youhow to get rich, it is time to remind yourself that there is no moredangerous illusion than the belief that one can get something for nothing.

—BERNARD BARUCH

Early in my teaching career, a student named Jon told me about an exciting investment he was making. All through high school he had been collecting postage-stamp plate blocks. At the time, stamps were printed fifty stamps to a sheet and a plate block was the four stamps in a two-by-two block next to the sheet’s serial number.

Plate blocks were rare because no one had ever thought to save them. Then, ...

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