Saturday, January 4, 2014

George Goodman, aka Adam Smith, Has Died

NYT reports that he died from complications of leukemia at the age of 83.

His first book written under the pseudonym Adam Smith was “The Money Game,” published in the spring of 1968, became an immediate best seller. The book told tales about Wall Street's "Go-Go" years.

According to NYT:
Mr. Goodman did not choose the pseudonym Adam Smith, after the 18th-century philosopher who shaped the discipline of economics with his concept of an “invisible hand” that governed markets. Rather, it was given to him as a young journalist for New York magazine in the 1960s, to hide his identity from sensitive Wall Street sources.

He hated the name at first and tried to change it, but he could not find out who had bestowed it, although many sources said it was Clay Felker, New York magazine’s founding editor.

“Of course, after my books became successful, three people owned up,” Mr. Goodman said in an interview with The New York Times in 1981.

Goodman followed up "The Money Game," with "Supermoney," in 1972. In that book, among other stories,Goodman introduced Warren Buffett to the general public.

He wrote in that book that Benjamin Graham wanted Goodman to help him come out with a new edition of "The Intelligent Investor":
"There are really only two people I would want to work on this," Graham said. ""You're one, ad the other is Warren Buffett.

"Who's Warren Buffett?" I asked.

 In “Paper Money,” he is the one who made the joke that hinted at the problems with bad modeling in mainstream economics: Stuck without tools on a desert island, an economist theorizes, “Assume a can opener.”

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