We caught up this past month with Nick and Joan Murray, who are launching their jointly written new book, Talking It Over Just the Two of Us: A Guide for the Financial Advisor's Life Partner. (It was published just after Labor Day, and is available only on Nick's Web site.) One of the many intriguing aspects of the book-in addition to its novel subject matter-is the fact that it's written in their alternating voices. And two very different voices they are. The first thing we wanted to know was how the book came about.
Nick: I had a conversation with Joe Jordan and some of his senior colleagues late in 2011, and they picked me up on something I'd said in my prospecting book The Game 0f Numbers to the effect that I might have flunked out of the business in the very difficult early years of my career had it not been for Joan's faith and courage. When I expanded on this, they asked if we could turn it into a talk for their advisors' significant others.
Joan: I could never see how that was going to work, but we started to make some notes, and pretty soon we had a whole lot of notes. At some point we realized: This isn't a talk. It's a book of the most fundamental lessons nobody taught me, when Nick was starting out.
FA: How did you hit on the idea of writing it in your two voices?
Joan: It was the only way. I had a very different menu of things I wanted to say, and I don't talk at all the way he does. One voice wouldn't have sounded like either of us, and it would have felt very inauthentic.
FA: How about the "why" of it? Why did you write this book?
Nick: I think we realized right away that the advisor's life partner is the most underutilized resource in the industry, and that there was no book or other training method that addresses how they might become as helpful to their advisor partner as they would wish to be, if only they knew how.
Joan: Plus, we had worked out a pretty effective way of working together in those early years-if only out of desperation-and we'd continued to refine that method over the years. So we thought we had a useful system to communicate. But really, in the end, I just thought that if I could help other life partners not get as completely blindsided by the realities of the business as I had been, it would be worth doing.
FA: What was your writing method?
Joan: We sat down together at 6:00 every morning, and read aloud what we'd done the previous day, editing as we went. Then we asked each other what the next major points were, and which of us would make them. We'd outline that day's points, and then Nick would wordsmith them, because that's his thing, not mine. And I knew I'd get to change what I needed to the next morning.
FA: How long did it take?