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When considering the importance of intellectual capital -- defined as knowledge into profits -- to a family business or, for that matter, any business, it's good to recall an age-old proverb that goes something like this:
* He who knows not and knows not that he knows not; is a fool -- shun him.
* He who knows not and knows he knows not is a student -- teach him.
* He who knows and knows not he knows lacks confidence -- awaken him.
* He who knows and knows he knows is a teacher -- follow him.
Musician David Bowie is a man who knows he knows, and plenty of wise people have followed. When Bowie issued $55 million of 10-year bonds secured by royalties from his first 25 albums, institutional investors snapped them up immediately. Moody's Investor Services gave the 1996 issue, which paid 7.9 percent a year, the same rating as those from General Motors Corp., which backs its issues with billions of dollars worth of plant equipment and inventory instead of vinyl disks.
How can David Bowie be as safe a bet as GM?
As the bond buyers and no doubt Bowie himself realized, …