Berkshire Hathaway
Louis Rukeyser: Dead at 73

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By COJones100
May 3, 2006

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I didn't want the day to pass without mention of Louis Rukeyser. If there is anyone who taught me more about money than Buffett in the 1980s, it was Rukeyser. For quite a few years there, he even looked like George Washington on the Dollar bill.

Someone once said that if you took all of the economists in the world and stretched them end-to-end, they still wouldn't agree. And that's what I loved about Wall $treet Week. He'd have a real bear on, on the 2nd, and follow him with a real bull on the 9th. On one Friday he would have an expert in, say, airlines. You'd go through the whole weekend thinking that when the market opened on Monday, you'd place a limit-order for shares.... And then the next week, it would be energy stocks and you'd wonder how they could go up and take the airlines with them.... It was great.

Anyone can have an opinion. But few can defend their opinion without going nuts when they're getting stepped on. Rukeyser and his guests disagreed on a lot, every week, but rarely raised their voices. And even the worst guests seemed like people you wouldn't mind being trapped in an airport lounge with for a few hours, unlike say our own MadCap. I guess the biggest thing I learned from watching W$W was about how everything is so interconnected. Before Rukeyser, I'd get tips on this hotel chain or that appliance maker and go to the library and look up their pages in the big book. But Rukeyser to taught me to think of the hotels and the ovens as a part of the bigger market.

I miss the puns. I miss the discipline of get-your-financial-news-now-or-starve-for-a-week in an age before daily web updates, RSS-feeds and insta-quotes. I miss the stupid way the gal would place her hand on the back of the guest and then give them a kind of a slow-motion push as they made their way to the chair�as if there may have been a chance that they'd just bolt from the studio.

Johnny Carson was a comfort at the end of the evening. Fires, floods, scandals. Somehow, when you watched Johnny and his imaginary golf swing, you knew it was going to be okay. Louis Rukeyser gave me that feeling about money. I'm going to miss him.

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