The Daily Bell Interviews Bill Bonner

Daily Bell: Thank you for sitting down with us. You’ve built a tremendous company.

Bill Bonner: Thank you.

Daily Bell: So tell us how you began in this area and did you dream of running a hard money empire as a child?

Bill Bonner: I would have been a pretty mixed up child if I dreamed of such a thing. But I have to admit even as a child, I was fundamentally, genetically, naturally, programmed to be an entrepreneur. Never liked anybody telling me what to do, I never felt that I fit into any organization, never had any desire to join Goldman Sachs and work my way up or anything and so I had lots of ideas of what I was going to do. I had studied English Literature and thought I wanted to be a journalist. One of my first assignments was as a foreign correspondent for a rock-and-roll magazine which went broke right after I joined it and then I realized I was going to have to figure something else out. So after that it was just a long combination of errors, mistakes and accidents that lead me to where I am today.

Daily Bell: So what got you moving in this direction?

Bill Bonner: Well that’s a good question. It was a combination of things. I actually started with a publication called International Living because I was drawn to the idea of globalizing one’s self for a long, long time. In fact I started when I was in college, I went to the Sorbonne in France as a student. I liked France quite a bit at the time, I liked Paris, liked the life, the cultural life, the intellectual life and so on. International Living was a success but I couldn’t figure out how to go beyond International Living without going into financial areas, so I was forced into finance because the financial area is a much bigger area for publishing and it suited my talent in a way because you tend to do well in investing if you kind of have a contrarian attitude. And I do.

If you buy what everybody else is buying, then you are buying something that is fully priced, and if you buy what nobody else is buying, in fact you have to buy something that nobody else wants and that tends to go up. So that suited my basic contrarian nature and we started with Hulbert’s Financial Digest. Nobody will probably remember that but Hulbert is still in business and writes for Forbes. I believe that Hulbert’s Financial Digest is still around and we started that back in 1979.

One thing led to another, and we found financial publishing on the margin, fringe publishing, this quirky newsletter business, is often lucrative. That’s our business, our business is in that niche, that niche of developing informational tools and digging deep.

You know, the idea of the mainstream press is to keep it very superficial because they know the audience really doesn’t want to dig into these things. But in the marginal newsletter business, people do want to dig in and we want to dig in and find out what things mean. What’s going to happen in the economy for example is the big, big question. So that’s how I got into economics.

To read the rest of Bill’s interview, click here.