October 09


Three things I’ve learned as an investment writer

Between the 15 or so regular writers that steer the good ship Copylab, we’ve gathered over 200 years’ experience in writing, investing and investment writing. That’s more than 800 quarter ends. Along with the deep mental scars that entails, we’ve all learned a few things along the way. So we thought we’d share some of our own experiences, observations, tips and warnings for budding investment writers. Be safe out there, people.

  1. It’s not like the movies. Real investment managers aren’t like Gordon Gekko (Wall Street), Edward Lewis (Pretty Woman) or John Tuld (Jeremy Irons in Margin Call – by the way, check out our review of the best finance movie ever). And investment writers aren’t like Bob Woodward (All the President’s Men), Truman Capote (Capote) or Paul Sheldon (Misery). In other words, real-life investing isn’t as cut-throat or sleazy. And real-life writing isn’t as exciting or sexy – or dangerous!

Investment writing: neither sexy nor dangerous

  1. Good with words? That’s nice. But you’d better be hot stuff with numbers too. You’re not a proper investment writer until you have a double widescreen with, on one screen, a multi-tab attribution spreadsheet and transaction-note system and, on the other, a word doc and an internet browser displaying your favoured financial news site.
  1. You won’t get famous. We’re ghosts (well, ghost writers). We’re happily un-self-promotional. And we’re little more than cave dwellers that shudder at the thought of talking to real people – like Gollum caught in a shaft of light. Silence. Darkness. Solitude. What a wonderful job!