Dan Goldie remembers the June 8 phone call in which he learned that his best friend had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and told he had about six months to live.
"I was speaking at a conference and he was supposed to speak the next day," Goldie says of that day in Monterey. While still talking on the phone with Gordon Murray, he said, "Let's do that book you've always been talking about wanting to write. Let's get it done."
In 2002, Murray had hired Goldie, an independent financial adviser in Menlo Park, to help manage family accounts. Murray had been a Wall Street executive for more than 25 years, and he and Goldie had bonded over financial philosophy. Murray, who'd long thought about writing a book, wanted to make investors aware of the obstacles they face. His cancer diagnosis crystallized the two men's plans, and the result is The Investment Answer: Learn to Manage Your Money & Protect Your Financial Future.
Murray had vowed to dedicate the remainder of his life to sharing his knowledge with amateur investors, but his resolve was tested as his condition worsened. "He told me, 'I don't have the energy, I'm not going to be able to do it,'" Goldie recalls.
Using notes that Murray had jotted down years before, Goldie took up the task, making outlines that he would send to Murray. "Suddenly I would just get faxes of these things every day," Murray said. "At that point, I was thinking 'Damn you, Dan!'
The pair raced the clock for three months of writing. Goldie, still working full time by day, worked nights and weekends on the book and frequently drove to Burlingame to collaborate on the project when Murray's deteriorating condition prevented him from leaving his home. Goldie, a former Stanford tennis NCAA champion, says he didn't feel the time constraints as pressure, but as "increased motivation to get it done..
"One of my best friends is sick and one of his lifelong goals is to create something that would give knowledge to others," Goldie says. "I wanted to do that, really badly."
The 93-page book provides an inside look at Wall Street strategies that can lead investors astray. The biggest takeaway is that there are "no silver bullets to investing," Goldie says. The book shows everyday investors that the highest gains come when you "spread your money across a wide variety of categories and invest in those categories in a way that you're trying to capture as much of the return as that market segment makes available to you," not playing catch-up with predictions about the market.
By mid-November, when this story was being completed, Goldie and Murray had sold 10,000 copies and embarked on a second printing. "We were really reluctant—I was—to talk about the story of the book," Murray said in an interview at his home, "because you shouldn't read this because it's my 'last lecture.' That's wrong; it should stand on its own, and we really feel that it does. But, having said that, it has been the most beautifully collaborative process . . . the journey has been just the best. That's the story of the book—it's a story about friendship, love and collaboration."
Read a March 2011 update on this story.