Thursday, January 19, 2012

Money Wisdom #23

"Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon with them, but they are the money of fools".
Thomas Hobbes quoted in Bynum et al (1981) p.300
from Rupert Sheldrake The Presence of the Past (2011)  l.1863 (Kindle)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Post about Posts

I've been bombarded by tweets & emails begging me to publish my latest essay. Not really.

I do feel some perverse sense of duty to get it out there though, mainly due to the fact that I've said several times that its on its way. However, its my work, and its my decision. And I really don't want to put anything out there about money that I'm not totally happy with. There are a couple of problems with the essay. Firstly, it seems to be turning into a much longer piece. It does appear to have a natural flow - which is a very good thing - and to curtail it just to satisfy my desire to get a bit of feedback seems wrong. Secondly, I'm switching a little between audiences. One minute I'm writing for an academic audience, the next I'm writing for the general reader. I don't think its a fatal error, but its one I want to get fixed in the first 10K words.

The essay is an exposition of my peculiar view of money - which pretty much sums up most of what I write about money - but for the first time, I've set it in an historical/evolutionary context and it seems to work for me. Seems like an obvious thing to do, and its surprising that I've not done it before. I have managed to find the hard copies of the work I did on this about ten years ago - about 60-70K words in all - which I'll re-read. In fact, I may publish some of this in the meantime. Or I may just put out bit-size chunks of my new piece. I certainly intend to put more out there this year than I have in previous years. It would be nice to get some momentum going.

I also intend to write a few of my poetic pieces. I use the term very loosely, of course. I get a sense of satisfaction from doing these. Its nice to let go of the fear of how people might interpret what I say. 'Price is to Money, as Weight is to Gravity' for example gets across so much of what I think about Money, but its not a phrase that would sit too well in an essay without several chapters of explanation. Sometimes its nice to just let them slip into people's consciousness and see what happens. My shorter pieces give me the chance to do this.

So the general idea is more posts about money - more book reviews, more short pieces, some extended pieces - and less posts like this. The blogger's curse. Posts about posts. Yuck.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Review of 'Priceless' by William Poundstone

As a twitter buddy of mine pointed out, with a name like Bill Poundstone you'd be destined to write this book. It's an easy read with plenty of interesting anecdotes which serve to highlight Poundstone's exposition of behavioural economics as it relates to pricing. Brief histories of the personalities involved in the subject helped to sustain my interest; experimental design is important, but it can be a little dull reading about it.

I'm a money freak - history, philosophy, sociology of money - so I approached the book from this perspective. However, I think it would be of interest to the business reader, the academic or indeed the general reader. It gives the reader an insight into the techniques that can be used to set - and achieve - a price. Poundstone shows that what we think about price very much depends on context. On its own, the understanding of the power of anchoring - a bid/offer that sets context for and influences how you'll feel about a price- will repay you the cost of the book.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year to You

I just want open up the new year with a brief miscellaneous post.

I've been feeling a little frustrated with my job. Apologies for the odd moan on twitter. I shouldn't feel sorry for myself. I've been a lot more productive with my money stuff in 2011 than I was in 2010, and that's what I'm really concerned about. When I take into account holidays etc, my current job pays pretty much the same as the tour managing. There's not the same kudos, of course. But when I'm at home I can completely forget about my job, that was never the case with the music industry stuff.

I feel like I've taken a good leap forward in 2011 with my Owning & Owing essay - even though its not finished. I look forward to putting it out there. I feel like it might have given me a new structure to explore my ideas about money. I'll admit that at times in 2011 I have thought I should really attempt to go into academia via a PHD or something. I faced a choice in 2000 about whether to continue into post-graduate studies at the LSE, or do something more interesting ;) I'm sure some may say that my current occupation would indicate that I made the wrong choice. But I don't have any regrets about that. In some ways I wish that I'd just done the van driving 5 years ago rather than getting involved with the music industry.

The other problem with academia for me is that my ideas about money are really odd. I had one Professor tell me that my ideas were 'plainly crazy'. Fair enough. But then neo-classical economics is 'clearly wrong', so who knows, 'crazy' might be closer to the truth ! At the end of the day, what I want to do is explore my ideas about money, academia (or any other job) has to be a means to that, not an end in itself. Sounds a bit arrogant and self indulgent when I put it like that, but that's how it is, I'm afraid.

So all that is a long winded way of saying what most people say at the start of a New Year - I want to be more productive this year. With both my kids moving out off to Uni, who knows I might just do it.