The Man and His Life
The story of how a precocious young man from Winchester, Tennessee, grew up to become one of the most respected and wealthy professional investors of all time has been told many times, so much so that, as with many rich and successful men, discovering where the legend and the truth diverge is not always straightforward. John Templeton was a man of the highest personal integrity, but some of the stories about his rise to fame and fortune have, one suspects, lost something in the telling over the years. To judge by some of the conflicting details in different accounts of his life, certain facts have, with the passage of time, been either gilded for the benefit of effect, forgotten, or mixed up with one another.
It is generally true that hindsight tends to make an individual’s path to success appear smoother and more certain than, in reality, it was at the time. There is no doubt that John Templeton himself was fully aware of the importance of storytelling in building and sustaining an aura around his life and business success. Although shy by nature, he was an accomplished user of the media to advance his business career; a tireless publisher of books about his investment ideas and religious and philanthropic interests; and as a man, for all his genuine humility, not wholly immune to a certain amount of vanity. He had a sense of humor, but was not the kind of man to tell jokes. Yet there is no gain saying the extent of his achievements, or his remarkable ...