Weekend Reading

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Financial issues have a reputation for being dry. Maybe that’s because only the very best writers know how to show investment novices how exciting this topic can be.

But it’s hard to write well about dollars and cents. As someone who writes about investing and the stock market for a living, I have to admit: The quality of the writing on financial issues doesn’t always live up to the vibrant and crucial subject matter.

I’m doubly impressed by people who write well about investing without actually being full-time writers. Bill Gross, for example, the bond king at PIMCO, almost always makes me laugh (and think) with his monthly “Investment Outlook” columns. A new one was released this week, and I recommend it if you have some extra time this weekend. My favorite Gross column was July 2007, when he both predicted the credit crisis and riffed on Paris Hilton’s recent stay in jail.

Another great investor-turned-writer is Warren Buffett, who has a prose style all his own. If you haven’t read his latest annual letter to investors, it’s here. At 21 pages, it’s worth your time if you’re a Buffett admirer.

For the long Memorial Day weekend, let me suggest one more piece of writing on investing. Jim Griffin wrote a piece for ING on the predicting the future:

“Physicist Neils Bohr is credited with coining the much copied saying that prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future,” Griffin writes. “There is a chasm, a great discontinuity, between the present, on one hand, and the unknowable future, on the other.”

It’s very important lesson, not just for stock pickers but political pundits and all the rest of us. We all need to recognize the limits of our knowledge.

Enjoy the weekend!

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