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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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They gave me a column to write. Here I was just out of Columbia. The column was called “Advice to Investors.” I was about 21 years old. There'd be a lot of letters sent in by little old ladies and what-not. All I had to do was to print the ones I thought had the greatest general appeal. And my advice unerringly was, under strict instructions, “Buy Liberty Bonds,” which were the popular government bonds in those days. “Don't you try being fancy,” they warned me. “What do you know about the market? You just tell people to invest in Liberty Bonds and print the letters that will lend themselves to that kind of answer. If it's a specific stock they're asking about, turn the letter over to somebody who knows what he's talking about.”


Was the government behind this at all, do you think?


No, it was considered patriotic in those days to buy Liberty Bonds.


I know it was patriotic, but--


The war was over, but somebody had to pay for it. You remember most foreign war debts from World War One haven't been paid to this very day. Later on they got out Victory Bonds in World War II.

Well, I started doing this column and doing just what I was told to. After a couple of weeks that became rather boring. And I suddenly discovered that nobody on the paper

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