Jack Pugsley, RIP

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Bob Bauman sends me the very sad news that Jack Pugsley died this morning at the age of 77. Jack was well-known as a libertarian and hard-money speaker and writer, but I want to tell another story. Years ago, Jack and a partner I will not name went into business, and the company went bust, costing Jack every dime he had and far more. His libertarian partner wanted to declare bankruptcy, but Jack rejected that as a form of theft. The man flaked out and walked away, so Jack spent years paying back every cent that they had been borrowed for the venture, with interest. I heard this story, btw, not from Jack, but from a friend of both of ours, Bob Kephart, who swore me to secrecy. Now that they are both gone, I can tell at least some of the story; it illustrates what kind of a man he was.

Wrote Bob Bauman shortly before Jack’s death:

Jack is a graduate of UCLA. After years in business as the president of a number of manufacturing, service, and marketing companies, he entered the investment field. His experiences led him to write his first book, Common Sense Economics (1974), which sold over 150,000 hardcover copies. His second book, The Alpha Strategy, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks in 1981.

For 10 years starting the mid-1970s he wrote and published Common Sense Viewpoint, an investment newsletter which became a widely respected and successful publication, reaching 30,000 subscribers. For an additional 10 years he wrote John Pugsley’s Journal.

In addition to writing, Jack’s outspoken libertarian views and his unique ability to clarify complicated economic and investment concepts has won him wide acclaim as a speaker, as well as appearing on numerous radio and TV talk shows, and at many conferences and seminars throughout the world.

Wrote Jack, during his final illness:

Thoughts on life… from my early morning sleeplessness;

The river of human minds stretching from the dawn of homo sapiens to ourselves, and flowing into the future.

Each consciousness appears, lives, dies, and a few leave a trifle of artifacts (a bone, a button, a chair, a fading photo). A tiny fraction leaves written or verbal stories (Odysseus, Hypatia, Hemingway), as Omar says, the moving hand writes and having written moves on. A tiny fraction leaves ideas and inventions (the wheel, the calculus, the Porta-Shop [his father's invention], a book on economics or birding or history). Most lives can be likened to all this contained in a small box, like the time capsules in catacombs and mortuaries, and the river flows on into the future.

How seriously we take each moment, each decision, each event.

11:55 am on April 8, 2011
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