Business: Prophet in Bed

In Nashville, Tenn., 50 years ago, lived a family named Rhea. Father Rhea ran a line of river boats on the Mississippi, loved the stockmarket, had been several times rich, several times poor. The family totem pole was the Wall Street Journal. Before his son Robert was out of high school, Father Rhea gave him the Journal's difficult William Peter Hamilton editorials on the Dow Theory of stock prices, told him to master them or get spanked.

After a smattering of college, Son Robert started a river line that nearly ran his father's out of business. Later Son Robert caught tuberculosis...

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