Andrew Mellon

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

In the late 1970s, I was hired to write a membership mailing for Comp-U-Card, a Stamford, Conn. organization that claimed to have built “a data base of price and product information on approximately 60,000 brand name products.” Consumers could tap into this wealth of information and presumably save many times the $25 membership fee. Goods were shipped directly from wholesalers to the customer. I met briefly with the president, Walter A. Forbes, who was good-looking, articulate and very intense. At one point in our meeting, he took a phone call and asked me to step outside, which I did. When I returned, Forbes told me that

From 1920 to 1933, Henry L. Stimson was secretary of state in the Hoover administration. In 1929, he closed down the State’s cryptanalytic office and his quote about gentlemen not reading each other’s mail became famous. Fortunately he changed his mind when he headed the War Department under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Had the United States not broken the Japanese code in the early years of World War II, tens of thousands of American lives would have been lost. The same is true for the Brits intercepting German radio traffic with the now-famous Enigma machines at Bletchley Park. Down deep inside, I agree with Stimson; snooping

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