Barry Ritholtz is one of the most widely followed investment commentators in America. He’s also the chairman and chief investment officer of one of the country’s fastest growing wealth advisers.

Over the past twenty years Ritholtz has forged a reputation for his no-nonsense views on finance and markets. He’s an advocate for low-cost, rules-based investing - and he’s also not afraid to call out bad industry behaviour when he sees it.

Apart from being a prolific writer on his Big Picture blog, Ritholtz hosts Bloomberg Radio’s Masters in Business show, where he’s interviewed some of the most influential names in finance and beyond.

Five years ago, he switched from a career in trading and research and set up Ritholtz Wealth Management. Together with Josh Brown (The Reformed Broker), Kris Venne (The Certifiable Planner) and Michael Batnick (The Irrelevant Investor), they tore up the existing rules for how wealth managers communicate with the outside world.

To build their business, they took their expertise in blogging and social media and used it to get their message out. This personable, authentic approach has worked well and their growing advisory team now doubles as some of the most widely followed investment writers around. Among them are people like Ben Carlson (A Wealth of Common Sense), Blair DuQuesnay (The Belle Curve), Tadas Viskanta (Abnormal Returns) and Nick Maggiulli (Of Dollars and Data).

I met Barry Ritholtz at his office on Bryant Park in Midtown New York City. I’d been in the city for less than 24 hours and just arrived from interviewing Joel Greenblatt (whom Ritholtz had interviewed for Masters in Business a couple of weeks earlier). This set the scene for a what turned into part-therapy, part-interview training, and part trying to get an interview out of Ritholtz, who, he said himself, is pretty hard to interview...

Barry, tell me about your writing. You were a commentator who rose up the ranks and now your interviews and opinions are some of the most followed in finance. How did that happen?

I started writing publicly back in the late 1990s. I should say I was writing quasi-publicly because nobody was actually paying attention. At the time, I was writing sporadically on Yahoo! GeoCities, which is hilarious to mention. I wanted to become a better writer, so…

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