In Jim Cook's Archive

HOWARD RUFF (1930-2016) By James Cook

My friend Mark Skousen sent me an email on Monday that Howard Ruff had died. You will recall that Howard Ruff was the author of the all-time financial best seller, How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years. Howard was also the editor of the Ruff Times, the most successful financial newsletter in history. Over the years, he attracted 600,000 subscribers. Howard’s advice was made to order for the inflationary boom of the late 1970’s. He was a big fan of gold and silver which soared to record levels in 1980. In his heyday, he put on three-day conferences around the nation that attracted thousands of his followers. He was a compelling speaker and his personal seminars were always crowded with listeners. Howard Ruff was a phenomenon unlike anything before or since. His early advice was accurate and his timing impeccable. He was a deeply religious follower of his Mormon faith and a kind and decent man. Howard Ruff was a force to reckon with.

Back in 1975, I began to get subscription offers in the mail for a newsletter called Ruff Times. I got so many of them, I finally called the editor Howard Ruff and introduced myself and my company. I was hoping to get a recommendation from Howard for my company. At first he balked, but eventually he decided to endorse us. A few months later he had a huge subscription offer ready to mail, but didn’t have money for the postage. When I heard about it, I dug up $10,000 and sent it to him. That was all the money I had at the time, but it earned me Howard’s undying gratitude.

He began to mention us in every newsletter and when his book came out, we were the recommended dealer. We went from three employees to over a hundred. Our sales increased a thousand percent. We went from a small corner office in our building to two floors. It was quite a ride. It put us in the big leagues of precious metals retailing. The news of Howard’s passing brought back memories of these halcyon days. I will always be grateful to Howard Ruff for his helpful recommendation. How could you ask for more than this paragraph he wrote about us in 1980? “I endorse Jim Cook because his customer protections are without peer, and he has taken fabulous care of my subscribers.”

Thank you Howard, and rest in peace.

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