What You Need To Know:
CONTRARIAN is one of the most interesting documentaries produced. It’s well edited. It’s also very respectful of Sir John, his family, and the audience. The key to Sir John’s success involved keeping the cardinal virtues, especially thrift and honesty. His word was his bond. There are some things, such as some gambling references, that parents might want to discuss with their children. Even so, CONTRARIAN is something people should watch to understand not only the entrepreneurial spirit but also the cardinal virtues that made Sir John successful.
(BBB, CapCapCap, CC, FR, A, M) Very strong moral, free market worldview with positive Christian statements and discussion of God and Christian virtues, mixed with statements showing that the some of those interviewed didn’t understand the freedom and liberation that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as well as references to some religious attitudes; no foul language; no violence; no sex; no nudity; a reference to making wine from raisins; no smoking or drugs; and, gambling and poker playing.
CONTRARIAN is a fascinating documentary produced with a delicate sense of grace about Sir John Templeton and narrated by Fred Thompson. It’s divided into three chapters.
The first chapter gives the history of Sir John, growing up in a middle class home in Winchester, Tennessee with a father who was a serial entrepreneur who taught John to buy cheap and sell high. His mother was a religious person who pursued various aspects of faith. However, they went to a local Presbyterian church.
Young John wanted to be the first person in Winchester to go to college. A neighbor told him Yale was the best college. To qualify, he had to take an advanced math course not offered in his school. So John offered to teach the class to other students and then take the exam with them. Of course, he passed with flying colors.
However, after a year at Yale, the Great Depression and his father couldn’t support his tuition anymore. So, Sir John worked two jobs and played poker to support himself through college. He was so brilliant at math that he could calculate the probability of winning and win more often than not. After Yale, John was the first in his family to travel the world, which influenced his investing career.
Chapter Two focuses on Sir John’s business acumen. Not only was he good at finding bargains, but he looked for investments where no one else would look, penny stocks and overseas. Thus, he invested in Thailand, Japan, and Korea at a time when nobody else thought you should make those investments or could even collect in those countries.
The key to Sir John’s success involved keeping the cardinal virtues, especially thrift. He lived a humble life. He always traveled economy class, and he always had disposable income to use for investing. As he used to say, he was right two-thirds of the time. Sir John was also scrupulously honest. When his firm went public, the company taking it public said they had never seen an investment company with no lawsuits. His word was his bond.
The third chapter explains Sir John’s interest in science and religion, and the creation of the Templeton Prize. Science and religion complemented each other until the 19th Century. Sir John wanted science and religion to explore the great issues, such as why are we here, does God exist, and so forth. He believed that Nobel had left religion out of the Nobel Prizes. So, he created the Templeton Prize to be bigger. People told him this was foolish, but, on the contrary, the Templeton prize has spurred some very creative research between science and religion.
CONTRARIAN is one of the most interesting documentaries produced. It is well edited. It is very respectful of Sir John, his family, and the audience. There are one or two things, such as the gambling, which parents might want to talk to their children about. Even so, the movie is something people should watch to understand not only the entrepreneurial spirit but also the cardinal virtues that made Sir John successful.
The DVD of CONTRARIAN is available starting Jan. 1, 2014 at www.tennessseecontrarian.com
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