Huntington Hartford

On May 20, 2008, a man named Huntington Hartford died. His death made page one of that day’s Wall Street Journal:

“Died: Huntington Hartford, 97, A&P supermarket heir who depleted a fortune chasing his dreams, in the Bahamas.”

The New York Times said:

“Huntington Hartford, who inherited a fortune from the A. & P. grocery business and lost most of it chasing his dreams as an entrepreneur, arts patron and man of leisure, died Monday at his home in Lyford Cay in the Bahamas. He was 97.”

“Depleted” a fortune… “lost” most of it… “chasing” his dreams. The Times said, “He inherited an estimated $90 million and lost an estimated $80 milĀ­lion of it.” Doing the math… he wasn’t exactly destitute, with $10 million left.

Certainly Mr. Hartford was lucky to have had enough money to do as he wished. Was he a failure, though, as “depleted,” “lost,” and “chasing” sugĀ­gest? Why didn’t the Journal and the Times congratulate him posthumously for “spending” his fortune “living” his dreams?


Would Huntington Hartford’s life have been better if he had not “lost” so much money? If so, why is it bad to “lose” money? Is it “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”? “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Or is it better to give up and do something else? How would you recommend that your friends and loved ones live their lives? Do you use the same recommendation for your life?

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that lost by not trying.” — Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“To most Americans the worst errors are financial and in that respect I have been Horatio Alger in reverse.” — Huntington Hartford (1911-2008)

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