CHAPTER 6How to Simplify Complex Investment Subjects

This paper seems a great deal harder to read than it was to write.

—An imaginary investor critiquing an abstruse piece of technical literature in discouragement

It's no exaggeration to assume that the slightest difficulty on the part of the investor in trying to understand what you wrote could be met with impatience or irritation, if not abandonment and a broken deal. Let that not intimidate but motivate you to be resourceful, find creative ways to untangle complex subjects, and make them easier to understand.

Are you up to the task? Then you must accept the unequal labor pact with your readers that goes along with it—and work hard so that they won't need to. You may break a mental sweat on occasion as your sort through intricate detail, trying to figure it all out, and synthesize it cohesively into accessible, elegant prose. But you'll reach immense satisfaction once you do.

Here are some common techniques for making dense material more graspable.

THINK BITS—NOT PIECES

Even the most intellectually voracious investors cannot be forced to bite off more than they can chew. So, feed them in bits rather than pieces: When confronted with an elaborate topic you need to explain, break it down to smaller components, and consider the use of labeled bullets to explain each component. For an example of how to do this, refer to the section on investment‐process articulation in Part 1 of Chapter 5. For another, refer to the section ...

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