Winans began his career in 1968 in Bucks County, PA as a reporter for the local daily newspaper, living in the shadows of such legends as Pearl S. Buck, James A. Michener, and Dorothy Parker, neighbors who helped the area earn its nickname as the "genius belt." In the early 1980s, he covered the stock market for The Wall Street Journal, writing its popular “Heard on the Street” column. In 1986, his best-selling memoir, “Trading Secrets: Seduction and Scandal at The Wall Street Journal,” was a critical success ("Winans writes like a dream."), a Book-of-the-Month Club Selection, and was excerpted in Esquire magazine.
He has more recently been a commentator on ethics in business, appearing on national radio and television news programs such as NBC's "The Nightly News" with Brian Williams, and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. His articles on ethics and the law have appeared on the editorial pages of the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and Christian Science Monitor.