Emma’s Note: Our offices will be closed until the New Year. So this week, we’re taking a look back at some more classic essays from Bill.

Today, a timeless message longtime readers will be familiar with. But if you’re just joining us at the Diary, it will help you understand us better…

Every day in the Diary, we try to understand how things work, fearlessly following our motto: “Sometimes right. Sometimes wrong. Always in doubt.”

Longtime readers know that, as part of your Diary subscription, we send you promotional offers on behalf of our friends, our partners, and ourselves.

We hear from subscribers every day who feel annoyed by, and suspicious of, these efforts. We even feel that way ourselves from time to time.

Subscribers don’t like to feel like we are preying on them – like a hawk looking for field mice.

We don’t like having to work so hard coming up with snappy new sales pitches, either. We also don’t like it when customers think we are a bunch of shysters.

But the thing is… our model, which relies on sharing offers from our advertising partners, is the most honest way of doing business we can find.

By that, I mean it aligns your interests with our interests. Unlike the mainstream press, we don’t make our money from corporate advertisers. Unlike Wall Street, we don’t take commissions or fees from the companies we cover in our newsletters. And we never sell email addresses.

Instead, we sell ideas, information, opinions, and recommendations. What you see is what you get. There’s no more to it. All we have to offer are words… sometimes sober, sometimes wild.

(As economist John Maynard Keynes put it, “Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking.”)

After four decades in the business, we have built a loyal readership – with more paying customers in our combined group than The New York Times or The Washington Post.

Our marketing – offering strongly worded opinions and ideas – has helped make that possible. And it is the only thing that makes it possible for us to send out a free daily commentary, for example.

Our daily Diary takes about six hours a day to research and write. And there are a half-dozen other people who edit it and make sure that it gets sent out.

You get all of that at no cost to you. All we ask is that you keep an open mind about the other products and services that are offered. That’s the deal.

But if you’d prefer not to hear about opportunities from us, you can simply unsubscribe from the Diary. You’ll find instructions on how to do that in the footer of every issue. No hard feelings.

But we’d be sorry to see you go…




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