Writing & Journalism

• Ghost Writing & Corporate Writing


Online Work

I specialize in helping leading companies, nonprofits, and individuals say what they want to say through writing. Sometimes it's called ghostwriting; sometimes it also involves developmental editing or substantive editing. Everyone uses these terms differently, so it's best to be clear about what kind of help you want. Follow the previous links for more information about each kind of editing; there's also a helpful guide at the Bay Area Editors' Forum that talks more about the different kinds of editing.

My ghostwriting and corporate clients hire me for the following reasons:

As a journalist, I have a unique and powerful background:

• I specialize in business, and I have an MBA from Columbia Business School. I was a recipient of the prestigious Knight-Bagehot Fellowship and the even more competitive Wiegers Fellowship.

• I was a founder and executive editor of the award-winning business-and-technology magazine The Industry Standard. While there, I edited hundreds of articles covering technology, business, books, ideas, careers, and statistics.

Besides understanding the big picture of business, I am expert at writing about a number of topics, including data, economics, globalization, management, books, ideas, technology, leadership, education, nonprofits, and careers:

• My own writing and reporting has appeared in such publications as Salon, The Nation, The Industry Standard, Portfolio.com, Wired, The Financial Times, The Economist, Business 2.0, Food & Wine, Parenting, Sunset, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Some sample articles I wrote and edited are in the writing & journalism and editing sections.

• I've ghostwritten the BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal bestselling book The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers. The New York Times called it: "valuable ... counterintuitive ... solid advice and genuine inspiration." Jim Citrin and Rick Smith of Spencer Stuart thanked me for my contribution to their book, saying, "Mickey Butts is an incredible writer. ... His contribution to distilling and organizing our thinking was crucial to getting our arms around the hundreds of potentially disparate ideas and hypotheses we were originally considering."

I also enjoy helping first-time and nonprofessional writers turn their ideas into the written word:

• Other books I've ghostwritten include Strategic Alliances by Steve Steinhilber (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2008) and Love Leadership by John Hope Bryant (Jossey-Bass, August 2009). Bryant wrote: "Mickey was my writing editor throughout the entire book development, drafting, and finalizing process, and I cannot give him enough credit for his superior eye, his command of research, his ability to take all of my energy and passion and organize it into a coherent thought process, and most of all for helping me get my 'voice' on paper. I could not have asked for a better collaborator than Mickey Butts."

• I've ghostwritten more than a hundred articles, reports, case studies, and white papers for clients. These articles have appeared in such well-respected publications as Harvard Business Review, BCG Perspectives, The McKinsey Quarterly, MIT Sloan Management ReviewStrategy + Business, Fortune.com, and The Financial Times. Clients have include Boston Consulting Group; McKinsey Global Institute, the independent economics think tank of McKinsey; Accenture, a leading IT services firm; The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consultancy incubated by Bain & Co.; leading scenario-planning consultants Global Business Network; Deloitte and the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation; FSG Social Impact Advisors; Wikimedia Foundation; the Jack Welch Management Institute; and executive recruiters Spencer Stuart and Heidrick & Struggles. Diana Farrell, former director of McKinsey Global Institute, says, "Mickey is a fine writer and a first-rate business editor. [He] has broad knowledge of management and business issues, as well as international economics and economic policy."

• I collaborated on Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, which The Economist named one of the Best Business Books of 2007. The authors wrote: "As first-time authors of a book, we were aided enormously by Mickey Butts. Mickey helped us structure our initial outline, sharpen our thinking, and refine our prose. He held our hand at every stage of the writing process, and took our manuscript to a higher level. He was a delight to work with: professional, timely, and willing to work within our deadlines and budget. We'd highly recommend him as a writer, editor, and thought-partner."

• I collaborated on The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work by Cathy Benko and Molly Anderson (Harvard Business Press, 2010). The authors wrote: "[Mickey Butts'] eye for the flow of logic and skill for refining the written word are evident on every page."

• I substantively edited Radically Human: How New Technology Is Transforming Business and Shaping Our Future by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson (Harvard Business Press, 2022). The authors wrote: "Mickey Butts broughts his discerning eye to key sections of the book and helped us sharpen our graphics."

• Through my work with the Bridgespan Group, I've written and edited white papers, case studies, and business/strategic plans for such organizations as the Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, and the Clark Foundation, in addition to work covering dozens of nonprofits in the education-reform and youth-serving fields.

To see for yourself what I can do, you can see my work on the ghostwriting & corporate writing page of my portfolio.