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March 1, 2016

The Life of Harry Browne

Harry Browne (1933-2006) was a successful investment advisor for 30 years. He wrote 13 books that sold more than 2 million copies. In both 1996 and 2000 he was the nominee of the Libertarian Party for President of the United States. He made hundreds of media appearances and traveled to 92 cities in 30 states in 2000 alone. He appeared on all state ballots in both elections, except for one in 2000.

He was the originator of the Permanent Portfolio concept, a consultant to the Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds, and author of Harry Browne’s Special Report — a financial newsletter published from 1974-1997.

Harry Browne was unknown to the investment world when his first book, How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation, was published in 1970. The book warned that the dollar would be devalued; inflation would become severe; and gold, silver, and foreign currencies would skyrocket in value. The book’s message clashed with the prevailing wisdom, but it was in tune with the concerns of hundreds of thousands of Americans — and the book made the New York Times best-seller list.

His 1974 book, You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis, was an even greater success — staying on the Times best-seller list for 39 weeks and reaching #1. Its message amplified the themes of his 1970 book and allowed thousands of investors to profit from the turmoil of the late 1970s. He followed this with five more big selling investment books — including one Times best-seller.

Meanwhile, in 1973 he had published How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, a non-investment book that was republished, in a 25th anniversary edition, in 1998. The last book published during his lifetime was Liberty A to Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now!

In his final years, he was the Director of Public Policy for Downsize DC, an organization he co-founded, along with Jim Babka, Steve Dasbach, and Perry Willis. He was also the host of two syndicated radio shows, one a three-hour political talk show and the other a one-hour investment advice program.

He was also a prolific columnist, published on sites like WorldNetDaily and His September 12, 2001 column about the 9/11 attacks, When Will We Learn?, was the most widely republished editorial of a career that spanned five decades. That column was translated into multiple languages. Harry Browne’s approach, once again, ran counter to prevailing wisdom. That article drew so much response that it became a series, which was then followed by another series.

At the time he became ill, he was writing a book tentatively-titled, The War Racket. That book, hundreds of his editorials, plus other materials and collections not published during his lifetime, have been made available at

Harry Browne was married to the former Pamela Lanier Wolfe. He left a daughter, Autumn. He loved classical music, opera, good wine, sports, television, and fiction. He is greatly missed by all who knew him.

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