Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel: Up close with an icon

With the release of an updated edition of his classic book ‘Stocks for the Long Run,’ the emeritus finance professor reflects on his career, the stock market, and the school he’s called home for more than four decades.

Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel retired in July 2021, becoming a professor emeritus after more than four decades on the faculty. While he gave up his teaching duties, he is intent on remaining a very active presence at the school. Rather like the stock market itself, which has been the subject of his life’s work, Siegel is by nature forward-looking, and though he’s no longer sharing his legendary market commentaries with students in Huntsman Hall, he shows no signs of wanting to slow down or retreat from the spotlight that first found him in the mid-1990s, when his seminal book, “Stocks for the Long Run,” was published.

Three portraits in a row of Jeremy Siegel.
Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer professor emeritus of finance. (Image: Philip Vukelich for Wharton Magazine)

The sixth edition of his book is pending release—the best version yet, he thinks. It’s been updated to include, among other things, reflections on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies (“Competition for effective monies is good for society, as competition spurs innovation,” he writes); a chapter on the COVID-19 pandemic (Siegel says the crisis ended up reaffirming the wisdom of holding stocks for the long haul and notes that early warnings he sounded about the inflationary impact of the government’s fiscal response were prescient); and a chapter on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. (His verdict: “Some companies can do well by doing good,” and shareholder value doesn’t necessarily suffer from a company’s adherence to ESG standards.)

Siegel expresses particular fondness for the roughly 10,000 Wharton undergrads he taught. As a group, he says, they were “smart, fresh, and really, really interested in the market.” The quality of Wharton’s student body made it hard to step away from the classroom, he adds: “I don’t think you could find a better set of students anywhere in the world.” But Siegel mostly feels a deep sense of gratitude for the career that Wharton enabled him to forge. “Wharton,” he says, “gave me everything that I wanted.”

This story is by Michael Steinberger. Read more at Wharton Magazine.