William Berkley Had A Hard Act To Follow: Himself

By the time William R. Berkley quit the stock-picking business in the 1970s at the tender age of 29, he already had put in more than a decade of successful investing. He took his first plunge at 12, buying stocks with spare money from a lawn-mowing business. He rode Decca Record Co. from $13 to $42, as the company, whose artists included the best of the late-1960s British music, proved as big a hit with investors as it did with young listeners. Later, at Harvard business school, Berkley and a colleague ran a $2 million mutual fund out of a four-bedroom apartment. That grew into their $20 million Berkley Dean & Co., which turned out to be one of the stars of the go-go 1960s. "I don't really have to do anything for the rest of my life," Berkley told BUSINESS WEEK in 1969.

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