Perhaps a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, but what about its first sentence?

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a writer in pursuit of a great lead should not steal others’. Ironically, and on purpose, I just did, using one of English literature’s most famous openings — from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

How you open your story, article, letter, or application greatly matters for its success. So much, actually, that it might make or break your piece: If you pique your readers’ curiosity in the first sentence, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and…


Timeless advice for writers is to not use long and difficult words when short and easy ones suffice.

I see lots of otherwise brilliant people writing due to when they mean “because”, complex when they mean “complicated”, in order to or towards when they mean “to”, in the midst when they mean “in the middle”, or just overusing indirect language. Academics are especially good at this — as are undergraduates trying to copy them — thinking that the more complicated and high-flying their sentences, the better the text must be.

Wrong.

You’re not impressing anyone when you’re cluttering your texts…


A guide for effective writing habits.

Lots of people say they want to write, but they struggle to find the time, the will, or the effort. After all, life is filled with many other commitments — to your work, your family and friends, your health — and there always seems to be so many other things to do. How, then, do you make room in an otherwise busy life to practice the writing trade?

Make no mistake, writing isn’t a gift that some people have, and others don’t. Writing well is a trade, a constant struggle, a gradual improvement in…


Two opposite kinds of articles come off my fingers: those where I know where I’m going but don’t yet have the words, and those where I have the words but don’t yet know where I’m going.

In the opening chapter of his classic On Writing Well, William Zinsser tells of a writers’ clash. Two entirely different sorts of writers, whose experience of writing could not have been more different, both tell of their craft. Dr. Brock, a full-time surgeon who recently took up writing in his spare time, explain how it’s effortless and fun and fuelled by inspiration:

“Coming home…


Remember who the enemy is — and it is not the friends, neighbours, or family members you’re lashing out at.

“And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. ‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. ‘May it be…


Another one of those backward-looking summaries of what happened in 2020.

Thankfully, I focus not on the corona-world outside but the financial and professional world of myself. Much more tangible, and perhaps a tad more sane than the average shite outside.

As I meticulously note all my expenses and make regular balance sheets at the end of every month, it is my great pleasure to report that my net wealth in December 2020 is exactly 12.3% higher than December 2019. …


Frankly: Nobody ever told them how to. If you’re struggling with writing, here are some rules that can help.

I write a lot: about 22,000 words in the last month, and probably double or triple that in notes, early drafts, and passages I don’t use.

I edit my words even more. In my editing business I sometimes turn down clients — not because they’re unworthy of my help, but because their problem is much deeper than anything I can assist with. I can correct the sentences, fix the typos, or make the text read more pleasantly — but if there’s…


I saw a guy in a Tesla today. That’s not so uncommon in Reykjavík, Iceland, a land with clean energy, cheap electricity and a decent about of wealth (though only a single dollar-billionaire, Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson —or Bjöggi, as they call him). Parked next to the futuristic Harpa concert house, he was scrolling through his top-of-the-line iPhone while occasionally admiring the setting sun.

I don’t see Mr. Tesla’s bank accounts; I don’t have access to information about his employer or how much he earns, where his investments are, how many flashy apartments he has, and how large his balance sheet…


Nicholas Christakis has written a long-read for the Wall Street Journal, ‘The Long Shadow of the Pandemic: 2024 and Beyond.’ If you’re not familiar with his work, I heartily recommend Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society from last year — guaranteed to rock your world, your priors and ruffle some feathers.

Christakis is slowly approaching the status of a public intellectual — those rockstar-like characters whose books everyone reads (or knows of) and whose opinions about society are the center of constant debates. …


Nobody likes taxes. Ok, fair enough — a few wackos here and there do, but whoever say they like taxes generally mean that they like it when others pay taxes. Either because that directly benefits them in the form of free goodies on the other side of that magic Government coffer, or because they get a warm fuzzy feeling from seeing rich, successful people getting stripped of their belongings.

I don’t have any impact over how taxes are levied or that they are in the first place. Childishly, I can advocate for zero all I want, but that’s not going…

Joakim Book

Writer, editor, and student of money past and present. Here: mostly finance-musings worldly observations, writing guides and life reflections.

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