WRITING MAY PROVIDE ME with a livelihood—but it also provides me with an escape. Whenever there’s a ruckus in some other part of my life, it can be comforting to power up the computer and spend a few hours wrestling with my latest article or book. Each piece is a world entirely of my making, where I’m fully in charge. Like a puzzle, I can move the sentences and paragraphs around, until I’m happy with the flow of the words, the tone seems right and the argument hangs together.
As readers peruse the result, I wonder whether they realize what a one-sided discussion we’re having. If there’s an inconvenient fact, I can ignore it. If there’s something I’m unsure of, I can dance around it. When I write, I don’t aim to be unfair, and yet that is the inevitable result.
All this has been on my mind as I finish up my latest book, How to Think About Money, which will be out in September. The book describes how I’ve come to view money, including the connection to happiness, the implications of increasing life expectancy, the central role of our human capital, and more. I hope to change the way readers tackle their financial life. It’s an effort at persuasion, where I present the world as I see it. Readers may disagree. They could leave the rest of the book unread or send me a blistering email. But they can’t quibble with me mid-book, because I always get the next word—and the one after that and the one after that.