|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Friday, December 1, 2023
|John Rothchild, 74, dies; Wrote about personal finance with wit|
Rothchild began his journalism career in the 1970s as a political editor at Washington Monthly before becoming a freelance writer for outlets like Time, GQ and Outside.
by Brian X. Chen
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- John Rothchild, a prolific journalist who used humor to turn books about personal finance into engaging reads, including several in collaboration with successful investor Peter Lynch and one titled A Fool and His Money, died on Dec. 27 at a care facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was 74.
His daughter Sascha Rothchild said the cause was complications of Alzheimers disease.
Rothchild began his journalism career in the 1970s as a political editor at Washington Monthly before becoming a freelance writer for outlets like Time, GQ and Outside. He wrote about Florida, where he was raised, as well as mountain climbing and cycling, hobbies he adopted later in life, and personal finance.
He picked up the personal finance bug in the 1980s. One of his best-known books, A Fool and His Money (1988), subtitled The Odyssey of an Average Investor, was recognized for its comically absurd guarantee: Readers would not earn a penny from the information it contained.
No work on the subject of personal finance has even tried to make this claim before, satirist P.J. ORourke wrote in a foreword to the book. That is because works on the subject of personal finance are all lying.
Critics appreciated the novelty of Rothchilds approach.
We are accustomed to the investment advice book in which the author tries to prove himself more expert than his audience, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote in a review in The New York Times. Not so common is the investment advice book in which the author tries to prove himself dumber than the rest of us.
As such, he added, it is highly amusing and also strangely informative.
The book sold well, and according to Rothchilds daughter it caught the eye of Peter Lynch, the former manager of the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments. Rothchild and Lynch collaborated on several popular books on stock trading. Their One Up on Wall Street (1989) Beating the Street (1993) and Learn to Earn (1995) were all Times bestsellers.
In One Up on Wall Street, the authors emphasized the importance of doing real-world research when choosing companies to invest in.
One case study involved the Hanes clothing brand. In the early 1970s, Hanes sold pantyhose called Leggs, packaged in colorful plastic eggs, for a low price in grocery outlets and drugstores, where people shop weekly. In contrast, competitors focused on selling more expensive pantyhose at department stores.
Hanes went on to become one of the biggest stocks of the decade, thanks in part to the success of Leggs. The lesson? Lynch had heard about Leggs not from a stockbroker but from his wife, and later did the research on the companys balance sheet.
Rothchilds clever prose made the books accessible to average people, Lynch said in an interview.
I was the fire hose throwing stuff at John all the time and hed compress it, he said. I couldnt have imagined if Id spent years interviewing a thousand people Id get anyone as talented as John.
Friends and family members described Rothchild as intensely focused. For some time he was obsessed with the card game duplicate bridge, until he dropped it in favor of bicycling and mountain climbing.
He would find something, not let it go, and then at some point hed say, Ive done enough of that, said writer Daniel Okrent, a close friend.
John Harmon Rothchild was born on May 13, 1945, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Tom and Barbara (Calloway) Rothchild. He grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, where his father was a high school principal and his mother ran a dress shop.
After graduating from high school in 1963 he studied Latin American affairs at Yale, where he was the managing editor of The Yale Daily News and became a Fulbright scholar. He earned his bachelors degree in 1967. He then joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Ecuador before he started working for Washington Monthly.
Rothchild met his future wife, Susan Berns, while covering the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami. His daughter said that he met Berns, a Manhattan socialite-turned-bohemian and daughter of the owner of the 21 Club, at a Miami mansion. She invited him to accompany her to the Bahamas, and they collaborated on Children of the Counterculture (1976), a book about children raised on communes, before they married on New Years Eve in 1976.
In addition to his daughter Sascha and his wife, with whom he lived in Miami Beach and Edenton, North Carolina, Rothchild is survived by another daughter, Berns Rothchild; a son, Chauncey; a sister, Melanie Rothchild; and a grandson.
In addition to writing about finance, Rothchild wrote about Florida. Most notably, he co-wrote the autobiography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a conservationist known for her defense of the Florida Everglades.
Sascha Rothchild, a writer, recalled that in high school, her class was assigned an article that Rothchild had written about Douglas. The students homework was to take a quiz on the reading material. One question asked what the authors intent was in repeating a word in a sentence.
My father said: That was bad writing. Someone didnt edit that, and that was lazy writing, she said. That was such a great moment.
© 2020 The New York Times Company
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.