Why bankers should read poetry

In December of 2011, Monash University unaccountably gave me an honorary degree.  Having failed to get into law school in my twenties, in my sixties I became a doctor of laws.  In exchange, I was asked to give a graduation address — in this case to approximately 350 Asian recipients of finance and economics degrees.[…]

Lessons from a career in banking

When I got an appointment as an executive-in-residence and fellow at the University of Melbourne, I consulted an old friend who’s had an academic career. I wanted to know what to expect? “They’ll probably ask you to give a little talk about your work,” he told me. He meant my research focus. I interpreted “my[…]

On Being Surprised

I recently talked about my process for creating characters and getting words down on the page in the right style and order at the Sydney Writers Festival. While it’s important for any form of fiction, if you want to write erotic fiction, and I recommend it if you wake in the night worrying about stuff, the trick is[…]

Thinking about banking

Some years ago, I was introduced to a well-known writer at a party in Melbourne. “Harrison’s a banker,” my host said helpfully. “Gee,” responded the writer without missing a beat, “I’ve never met anyone in organized crime before.” I spent half a second searching for a clever response. But the Global Financial Crisis was raging,[…]

Why bankers should write novels

Writing novels will teach you that there has to be a story. We humans are programmed to want one. It is how we organise reality. If you make your living lending money or trading bonds or writing insurance you care about remote but plausible contingencies. To a novelist, remote but plausible contingencies are plots. This[…]