Friday Five: What Are You Worth?

Five pieces of (mostly) financial writing and one reason why I recommend reading them.

How to truly evaluate your wealth

As I wrote in my previous blog, creation, whether it is a work of art or a scientific study, is a form of adding to the conversation. Nick Muggiuli’s blog this week is great example of that. He not only reviews different methods for calculating one’s financial well-being, but takes it a step further. In light of the various limitations of each wealth formula, he creates his own. It shows you how writing can essentially help you find out what you think and then help move the conversation forward.

The future of work and more

Derek Thompson, for me, is in the echelon of must-read writers whenever they publish something. This is a well-thought-out and well researched commentary on what the ramifications of more people working remotely might look like.

Also, humility can go a long way in writing. Aware that “predicting the future is, like dart throwing, easily done and often misdirected,” Thompson provides a rejoinder to each of his predictions. If you ever struggle with filling space for an article, think of counterpoints to your arguments and write about those.

Jason Zweig on Morgan Housel’s new book

These are two of the sharpest writers and minds in finance today. So it is a pleasure to read one exploring the work of the other. Zweig does an excellent job distilling the essence of Housel’s new book, The Psychology of Money, as well as the true meaning of wealth. As Housel writes:

“The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who[m] you want, for as long as you want to, pays the highest dividend that exists in finance.”

The article is also a good example of one effective content idea. Write about someone else’s work, like a book review, with your own thoughts and opinions sprinkled in.

Stoic steps for having the best week ever

Goals are important, but process is key. In finance and life, outcomes are decided by habits. Ryan Holiday was turned an ancient philosophy, Stoicism, into a modern-day self-help movement. His blog is always enlightening and inspiring, helping me to think with more reason and less emotion (though I don’t agree with his extreme monetization of Stoic philosophy). Here he takes seven bits of wisdoms from Stoic philosophers and translates them into a process for living each week as fully as you can. It is a very effective content tool: taking a collection of different ideas and turning them into something different yet cohesive.

“How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements—how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!” —Seneca

A life well lived

You learn how to write by reading the greats.

He was a quintessential New Yorker — savvy about its ways, empathetic with its masses and enthralled with its diversity — and wrote about it in a literature of journalism. Along with Jimmy Breslin, he popularized a spare, blunt style in columns of on-the-scene reporting in the authentic voice of the working classes: blustery, sardonic, often angry. When riots erupted in Brooklyn in 1971, he wrote in The Post:

“If people say nothing can be done about Brownsville, they lie. If this country would stop its irrational nonsense and get to work, every Brownsville would be gone in five years. Get the hell out of Asia. Stop feeding dictators. Forget about airports, SSTs, Albany Malls, highways. This country can do anything. And if Brownsville stays the way it is for another year, someone sleek and fat and comfortable should go to jail.”


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