The last post on Blog 6/2 in August was a quote from Richard Russell of La Jolla, California and little did I know that he would die a few months later. Like most obituaries, you probably haven't heard of him and like most subjects of obits had either done great work, accomplished much of value, or was just such a remarkable being to warrant a squeeze through Celebrity Ozone Layer to be lauded.
Richard had a deep and penetrating influence on my professional life from the moment I discovered him in the library of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange when I was a novice reporter who knew squat-diddly about economics or financial 'stuff'. This was back in the day when 24/7 business cable-TV news stations were practically non-existent and news organizations could take gambles with enthusiastic liberal arts majors and train them into money-honeys. Richard was a secret part of my training regimen. I'd sneak off during deadline lulls to read his "Dow Theory Letters" in awe, like I was decoding some ancient gold-embossed text of the universe.
Richard not only made financial news and markets less intimidating, but made them compelling reading; absolutely mandatory in order to understand how our governments function, how society works, how leaders thought and about the human psyche. He explained the flow of money sloshing around our international capital markets and what kind of news affected this, and went into depth about banking and fiat money -- how absolutely crucial it was to our life on the material plane, how little it was understood, and how fragile the whole system was.
Whereas many investment writers analyzed mass psychology, they stopped there. Not Richard. He probed further, examining the great sea-changes in history and then zooming farther out to the universe, to the great cycles within cycles, the lessons it was trying to teach Mankind. In between technical charts of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, bonds, the dollar, he'd wax poetic about how these lessons affected his investment decisions or him personally. From the mouths of strangers and babes, beggars and the blind, it's those we least suspect who can sometimes point us on our path if only we're open enough to hear their frequency. Richard, indirectly, led me here. Thank you, Richard, and RIP.