Booth and Fama: a 50-year friendship that changed investing

Posted by TEBI on October 13, 2019

Booth and Fama: a 50-year friendship that changed investing


By DAVE BUTLER, Co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors


When David Booth first stepped into Gene Fama’s class at the University of Chicago, he expected to one day join him as an academic. That was David’s plan. On the first day of class, Professor Fama promised the students it would be the most practical course they ever took. Indeed, Gene’s course started David along the path to launching a firm that would pioneer the application of modern finance. It was also the start of a lifelong friendship and collaboration.

David and Gene would go on to achieve remarkable success. Gene would be recognised as a Nobel laureate in economic sciences. David would emerge as a leading businessman and philanthropist. Along the way, they have helped show the world what’s possible when people adopt a different way of thinking about capital markets and investing.

When I joined Dimensional 25 years ago, I made a commitment to learn through observation. Of the many colleagues and clients I have had the privilege of working with, David and Gene stand out in a number of ways. They have had a profound impact on how I go about my work and live my life.

From working alongside them, I’ve observed three keys to building positive, enduring relationships that can help people, teams, and organisations achieve more:



1. Be willing to disrupt

From day one, David and Gene have focused on the pursuit of truth, always looking to better understand capital markets and offer candid perspective on what is known and unknown. Their sole focus has been improving outcomes for investors—even when that has meant disrupting the status quo.


2. Be modest

As an athlete, I was always impressed by the coaches, teammates, and opponents who led by example. No matter how much they had achieved, you never heard them talk about it. Their goal, each and every day, was to get better than the day before.

Dimensional’s culture starts with the example David and Gene have set. They’re not driven by ego. They’re driven by making a difference. Their competitiveness, grit, and focus have been beneficial to the industry, to our clients, and to our employees.


3. Love what you do

David and Gene have never been content to rest on their laurels. In the 25 years I’ve worked with them, I don’t recall them ever having a bad day. They love their work. They love the people they work with. And they love the daily discipline of improving their craft.

Fifty years into it, their friendship is helping people around the world have a better investment experience. And this friendship continues to be a source of inspiration. We all want to be part of something bigger. We all want to be part of a worthy cause. And we all want to have great friendships that inspire us to be better.


This article first appeared on the Dimensional Fund Advisors blog, Dimensional Perspectives.
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