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North Star Podcast

Sep 7, 2020

Morgan Housel is a partner at The Collaborative Fund and a former columnist at The Motley Fool and The Wall Street Journal. He's the author of The Psychology of Money, where he shares 19 stories about the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to manage it.

I revere Morgan's writing, and this episode was my chance to finally ask him about how he writes so well. We talk about why listening to loud music helps Morgan think, lessons from his favorite non-fiction writer, and why you should start stories at the moment when you're being eaten by a bear. We also talk about the rise of intangible assets in the economy, why the American economy shifted in the 1970s, and how investment strategies have changed over time.


Show Notes

2:00 - How the economy is changing, and why the edge in technology is going up while the edge in finance is going down.

6:38 - How the rise of intangible assets is distorting our view of the economy.

9:58 - The benefit of being slightly underemployed and why perceived "leisure" is so important in Morgan's career.

14:12 - What differed between what Morgan thought he would do as a parent and what he actually does.

15:35 - How the 1970s and 1980s fundamentally shifted the economy and culture of America.

20:22 - The three most important factors in really understanding the economy and whether truth or coherence is more important for social stability.

24:35 - How Morgan gets away with almost no collection or organization in creating his work.

29:58 - Why writing for yourself as a way to better understand your gut feelings will always pay off.

31:46 - How and why Morgan searches for the obvious things nobody pays attention to.

34:00 - Why some colleges are here to stay and others are not going to last according to Morgan.

40:11 - The most important things about writing that Morgan has learned from former and current workplaces.

42:24 - The two articles that Morgan is most proud of writing.

45:46 - What it means that people spend more money on the lottery than movies, music, video games, sporting events, and books combined.

49:06 - Why there aren't enough good books about how to write well.

52:15 - A writer that Morgan wishes more people would read their work.

54:32 - How the Ben Affleck speech in Boiler Room inspired Morgan to work in finance.

56:10 - The most difficult part about writing his most recent book.