Friday, July 20, 2007

Jack Bogle: Still scolding after all these years

When Jack Bogle, founder of the Vanguard group of mutual funds, says that he has just reached his 11th birthday, he is only partly kidding.

In 1996, ravaged by at least seven heart attacks and a failed pacemaker, Bogle received a heart transplant; without it he would have died.

Today Bogle has the energy of someone half his 77 years. He has just finished his sixth book, "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing," serves as chairman of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, still plays a slashing game of squash and continues to blast mutual funds and corporations for their greed and conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, the company he founded in 1974 has become a giant; Vanguard manages more than $1.1 trillion for over 22 million people. Money Magazine's Jason Zweig recently chatted with Bogle about what makes him tick - and what he thinks really matters.

Question How did you cope with decades of living on borrowed time?

Answer I didn't think about it. I just got on with what needed to be done. Even as a little boy, I had determination and focus. If there was a job to be done, then that is what I would think about, going through life with blinders on. You can look ahead, but you have no peripheral vision.

That focus is an unbelievable asset when you're confronted with a life-threatening disease, and it was also terrific for a kid who was determined to succeed in business.

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