Friday, August 26, 2011

Emulate Henry Singleton

(February 24, 2003) Something went haywire with American capitalism in the 1990s, and we think we know what it was. There weren't enough Henry E. Singletons to go around. In truth, there was only one Singleton, and he died in 1999. He could read a book a day and play chess blindfolded. He made pioneering contributions to the development of inertial navigation systems. He habitually bought low and sold high. The study of such a protean thinker and doer is always worthwhile. Especially is it valuable today, a time when the phrase "great capitalist" has almost become an oxymoron

Singleton, longtime chief executive of Teledyne Inc., was one of the greatest of modern American capitalists. Warren Buffett, quoted in John Train's "The Money Masters," published in 1980, virtually crowned him king. "Buffett," Train reported, "considers that Henry Singleton of Teledyne has the best operating and capital deployment record in American business." 

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