Why do you write like you’re running out of time?Write day and night like you’re running out of time?
Why do you write like it’s going out of style?Write day and night like it’s going out of style?
– Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
I re-watched the musical Hamilton on Disney+, and I couldn’t help but be a little jealous of the title character scribbling away day and night with his quill. I picked up my copy of Hamilton: The Revolution (a gift from Barry Ritholtz) to confirm the lyrics above. These lyrics remind me of Barry, who wakes up daily before the sun to type his thoughts onto the screen. I have no doubt he will continue to write every day of his life. Like Hamilton, it’s one of his greatest talents and a massive part of raison d’etre.
Back to Hamilton, I was jealous watching the character furiously bang out the Federalist papers and countless pamphlets, essays, and letters that shaped the formation of America. Jealous because I have less time for writing these days. Writing is an exercise that I deeply enjoy. It allows me to synthesize my thoughts and opinions on complicated topics. It helps me communicate better with clients, friends, family members, and the public. And writing fills me with a satisfying sense of accomplishment when I hit publish. Sometimes that sense of accomplishment is followed by several hours of anxiety before I receive the first feedback. Was that a complete and total disaster? Were there too many adverbs? Did I sound too phrasey? Will someone send me hate mail after reading that?
As I strategize on how to write more, I have decided to let loose a little on this blog. Even if an idea is short, unrelated to investing, or not well put together, I’m going to put more out there in 2023. I hope you will come along for the ride and allow me brownie points when the quality of my writing slumps.
Speaking of quality writing, I am currently listening to this episode of the EconTalk podcast with Ian Leslie on Being Human in the Age of AI. They start with a fascinating discussion about Open AI’s new chatbot, and its ability to write research papers that fool college professors. Ian makes the point that rather than machines becoming more like humans, humans are actually becoming more like machines. Case in point, bloggers who write for internet search algorithms or college applicants who follow cookie-cutter templates for their application essays. In fact, the way we teach writing in school is formulaic. Essays should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Paragraphs should include 3-5 sentences that state, explain, then restate the thesis. I shudder to think that it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an AI bot can mimic this robotic style of writing.
I hope that your new year is off to a good start and that you are sticking to all of your resolutions. I don’t make resolutions, but I find myself more eager to check things off my ToDo list.
Things I’ve Enjoyed Lately:
I am super late to reading Mary Childs’ biopic of Bill Gross, The Bond King. Speaking of quality writing! It is so good.
Jim O’Shaugnessy’s launch of O’Shaugnessy Ventures is fascinating. Listen to his son, Patrick, interview him about it in this podcast.