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Perhaps I’m particularly enthusiastic about a fresh approach to finance because I’m so tired of the old way. The old way is simplistic and separated from real life. The new way is nuanced, complex, and comfortable with uncertainty. The old way came through loud and clear in a recent interview with hedge fund manager William Ackman in the New York Times Magazine.

I selected some quotes from the Ackman interview and decided to respond to them from the point of view of the many women (and men) who see money differently and who are increasingly willing to assert an alternative way of investing.

What he said:
“I’m not emotional about investments. Investing is something where you have to be purely rational, and not let emotion affect your decision making—just the facts.”

What we say:
“The more we can engage our whole selves in the investing process, the better decisions we’ll make. Intuition, feelings, emotional responses—all are to be trusted and encouraged. We need both brains—our heads and our guts.”

What he said:
“It is a certainty that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. We believe it’s harming a population of low-income, principally Hispanic people in the U.S. to benefit a handful of superwealthy people at the top of the pyramid.”

What we say:
“So, you have shorted the stock of Herbalife so you can profit when or if the company goes out of business. Have you ever thought about funding values-driven enterprises that can provide better jobs to low-income people, foster innovation and creativity, and build strong local economies?”

What he said:
“The bottom line is my obligation to the shareholders.”

What we say:
“Claiming sole allegiance to shareholders is a copout. We think you really mean that your obligation is to make as much money as you can as fast as possible using any (legal) means.”

What he said:
“We’re looking for very large profits… We’re looking to double our money over a several-year period of time.”

What we say:
“In and of itself, making a lot of money is an insufficient and empty goal. It’s not enough. How is the money made? Who was helped? Who was hurt?”

What he said:
“I’m going to give away the substantial majority of everything I’m able to create over my lifetime.”

What we say:
“It’s superficial to think that all you have created can be measured and given away. Accounts and shares and units can be transferred, but the entirety of your work in the world—what you have created—is much more than numbers.”

What he said:
“I love what I do. I don’t do it for the money. I work on behalf of investors that I like and want to do well for. I’m a competitive person. In order to catch up to Buffett, I’ve got 35 years to go.”

What we say:
“Sir, you are no Warren Buffett.”

Mr. Ackman, you have bought and sold companies, which means you have bought and sold control over people’s lives and livelihoods. Perhaps you have created jobs, although that’s not really the M.O. of hedge funds. In your drive to amass enormous financial wealth, can you say how much of our human and natural resources you have extracted and exploited? We all do this, and it’s inconceivable that you don’t wrestle with these contradictions. A true gift to the world would be to wrestle with them in public.

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