Feb 5, 2021 • 47M

Episode 249: Turning Data into #Narrative with Ron Lieber

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

In this episode, we go seriously pro, talking to Ron Lieber, the Your Money columnist for the New York Times and the author of The Price You Pay for College and The Opposite of Spoiled. Ron shares his system for writing information and data-packed chapters—or columns—while making them relatable and digestible. Pro tip: it starts with “strip-mining” the brains of the top five experts you can find—and, as Ron says, being in the business of asking uncomfortable questions. Other great moments—waterproof shower crayons and how to highlight a tweet without interrupting the reading of your audio-book.

Find all things Ron here.


Ron: Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz

Who Gets in and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions by Jeffrey Selingo

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel

Jess: Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene

KJ: The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers 

So, did you know Jennie Nash grossed over $400K as a book coach in 2020? If that makes your ears perk up—and I bet it did—and you’re intrigued by the idea of working with writers, helping people realize their dreams and making money doing it, head to bookcoaches.com/amwriting to learn more.

Jess is at it again, learning all the things. This week, the former Latin teacher revisited the story of Julia, the daughter of Caesar Augustus and the Celtic warrior queen, Boudicca in the course, “Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals: 36 Great Women before 1400,” taught by Joyce E. Salisbury, Ph.D. She’s learning things and taking names. If you are interested in giving The Great Courses Plus a try, you can get a month free at thegreatcoursesplus.com/amwriting! Go forth, dear #AmWriters, and learn something new!