Quote, July 17 2012 — A lost standard

“I learned to write reports that made a clear argument for whether a deal should be approved or not. Don’t hedge, don’t waste anyone’s time. Clarify your argument and substantiate it.

. . .

The logic needed to be perfect, too, laid out as concisely as possible so as not to waste the time of anybody reading it and also to uphold legal scrutiny in the unlikely but still possible scenario that the Fed was sued over one of these decisions.”

-Mike Mayo, Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst’s Fight to Save the Big Banks from Themselves, Chapter 1: “God’s Work” at the Fed

This is my 2nd post (and last for the time being) which quotes Exile on Wall Street. Not only was it an account and critique of Wall Street, large banks and the United States financial sector in the 1990s through the early 2010s, it was also a memoir of the standards Mayo had been taught to hold himself to.

I wish more writers — financial, managerial, journalists, or otherwise — were willing to put as much effort into what they write as what Mayo describes. And he was putting that effort into reports that likely would be filed and never looked at again, and he knew that, but he still pushed himself to do that good of a job.

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