An Author Wednesday Interview with Guy Fraser-Sampson, author of “No Fear Finance”
For years people have asked Guy Fraser-Sampson to recommends a book which explains finance in an unthreatening, non-mathematical way. Since he was unable to find one, he decided to write it himself. Already an established author, his trademark gift of being able to explain complex concepts in everyday terms that anyone can grasp shines through this revolutionary approach to finance and investment.
Financial knowledge and wellbeing are a requirement and will remain integral to one’s growth as a fiscal human authority in tradelines. As do all other regions of life, financial health develops and evolves as do its own best practices.
Ideal for those embarking upon a business or financial degree, but equally for the many people out there who just want to understand finance, but are repelled by numbers and formulae.
Read more for the rest of this great author interview and to learn how you can grab a free copy of Guy’s book!
Q. Thanks for the interview. Can we begin by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been working in and writing about this topic?
A. I have formerly worked as a lawyer, in investment banking and private equity, in that order. I now spend much of my time teaching and writing about various financial and investment topics, as well as performing consultancy assignments for investors around the world.
Q. What’s your new book about? Why did you write it? What main message will readers take away from it?
A. “No Fear Finance” is a completely new idea, and nothing like it seems to exist. Put simply, it explains finance and investment theory in a very non-threatening way for people with no quantitative background. The panic factor is completely removed, allowing people to learn about finance in a conceptual way, rather than being baffled by numbers and formulas.
Q. What inspired you to write this book?
A. Year after year, students on various courses ask me to recommend a book explaining finance in layman’s terms. Not just students, but also people like pension trustees, and others who need to understand finance for their jobs, perhaps after a promotion. Frustratingly, I always had to say no such book existed. That’s why I wrote it.
Q. What were some of the greatest discoveries, lessons, or findings you came across while doing research and writing this book?
A. I discovered, if I did not know already, that the most difficult thing in the world is to reduce complex subject matter to simple language that anyone can understand, using everyday images where possible. From going through draft chapters with various readers during the process, I realized that this was a particular problem with finance, since many people instinctively freak out as soon as numbers are introduced.
Q. What do you feel sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
A. As I say, the way in which complex subject matter is presented in simple language and non-threatening format. So far as our research has been able to establish, there isn’t any direct competitor out there anywhere in the world. Now there is no longer any barrier to anyone learning about finance, no matter how nervous they may be about numbers.
Q. What are 5 things everyone should know in your area of expertise?
1. As a communicator, whether lecturing or writing, you must reach out and grab your audience.
2. If you lose them at any point, you have just failed your exam.
3. It is your job to explain something, not their job to understand it. If they don’t understand, it’s your fault.
4. A communicator’s job is to reduce very complex matters to very straightforward language. See number 3 above.
5. If you can show someone what they are doing and why, they will be motivated to learn the how. If you start with the how, then even if they can successfully learn and apply it, they will never actually understand the subject.
Q. What does your typical day look like?
A. I don’t really have such a thing as a typical day. If I’m teaching then I’ll be at the Business School from about 8 am checking my materials. If not, then I may be travelling around the world doing consultancy, usually on investment strategy. Or I may be having meetings with students on research or career ideas, or interviewing prospective MBA students for admission. Whatever I am doing, I will usually be both reading and writing at least two books, as well as promoting ones which have already been published, so I don’t get much spare time.
Q. If someone were a complete newbie when it comes to the topic of your book, what are some steps they could take to dive in and get more educated in this area. (Besides reading your book of course!)
A. Read the financial pages of the Internet and the newspapers. Every time you don’t understand a word or a phrase look it up (that’s why I usually put a glossary at the back of my books). Play around with a spreadsheet until you are confident you can construct at least a simple model. You don’t need lessons for this, just logic and common sense.
Q. If you could write 1 Golden Rule to take away from your book, what would it be and why?
A. Never, ever, be afraid to question something. People are afraid to ask questions for fear of appearing stupid. Ironically, the opposite is true. The more stupid or simplistic you may think your question is, the more intelligent it is actually likely to be. If you get an answer you don’t understand, ask again, and keep asking until you get a plain answer in plain language.
Q. What other resources in addition to your book would you recommend to people to learn more about this area?
A. There are lots of great investment blogs out there. I’d recommend in particular “The Price of Everything” by my good friend Tim Price. It’s also difficult to understand finance without understanding something of other subjects like psychology, philosophy, history and economics. In fact in my view you’d be better off reading around in these areas than trying to struggle with a finance book full of Greek letters and mathematical symbols.
Q. What are some of your current projects you’ve been working on in this field?
A. I’m working on a follow-up volume with the working title “No Fear Economics”, and also on an idea for a book questioning traditional finance theory and arguing for a totally new intellectual approach.
Q. Thank you for the interview Guy. Would you like to share where we can find you on the web and how we can buy your book?
A. The book will be available in all major bookstores, including airports. If you have any problems finding it, try the Kogan Page website at http://www.koganpage.com.
About the Author: Guy Fraser-Sampson is a finance practitioner turned academic, having previously run a fund of funds for several years and also worked as Investment Controller with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. He now teaches and supervises research projects at Cass Business School in the City of London, and conducts consultancy on investment strategy for some of the world’s leading investors and investment managers.
For more information about the author: www.guyfs.com
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