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on December 31, 2005
A MUST-READ FOR EVERY DECISION-MAKER WITHOUT EXPERTISE IN FINANCE

This book is MORE than a concise, highly readable, jargon-free introduction to the fundamentals of finance for nonfinancial managers. Beyond the basics, the authors enable readers to gain a solid understanding of financial intelligence which, in essence, consists of four skill sets that help the reader understand:
1) The basics of financial measurement
2) The art and science of finance
3) How to analyze the numbers in greater depth
4) How to view financial results in context

The authors also aim to enable nonfinancial managers to:
1) speak the language
2) ask questions to figure out the what, why and how of the numbers
3) use the information in doing their jobs and see their connection with financial performance

The book's eight major sections are:
1) the art of finance and why it matters
2) the (many) peculiarities of the income statement
3) the balance sheet reveals the most
4) cash is king
5) ratios: learning what the numbers are really telling you
6) how to calculate (and really understand) return on investment
7) applied financial intelligence: working capital management
8) creating a financially intelligent department (and organization).

Excellent illustrative stories are skillfully woven into the text. The writing is superb, making the book a pleasure to read.

This is, fundamentally, a first-rate course in finance. To create a stronger (MUCH stronger) company, CEOs would be well-advised to have every nonfinancial decision-maker read this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 6, 2006
What I particularly liked about this book was how the author revealed that knowing the basics of finance is just a start. What is often NOT covered is how to deal with the areas that can't be so easily quanitifed -and, when push comes to shove, have to be estimated and/or assumed.

In short, there is a certain amount of judgment that goes into many income statements and balance sheets. Author Joe Knight gives valuable tips on recognizing and understanding potential biases in financial information and advises readers how to correct for them...or even challenge them.

Those who know the basics will find a lot they've read before but KNOWING the basics is not the same as having true financial literacy, the kind that makes the difference between knowing what is on paper and being able to "read between the lines."

Nonfinancial managers will gain a new understanding of how to build their company's success, with solid financials.

What I particularly liked were the real stories from actual companies, proving that this book is not mere theory but actual, tested information. It is also written in a very, very accessible style. You won't need a distionary to get through it.
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on January 12, 2006
I am a non-financial SVP in a large credit union. This book helps me understand what the CFO is talking about. I can even add my two-cents to the ALM discussion. My contribution to the organization will never be financial brilliance but in the financial services world I need the back ground this book provides. Its clear, well organized, and right on point. I hope that all of my non-financial managers will read it.
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on December 8, 2005
I've worked within the organizational structure of large corporations for years as a middle manager and reviewed reams of financial reports. Since my educational background leans more towards liberal arts than mathematical, I've always relied upon the expertise of financial professionals to make sense of the various ways the corporation has sliced and diced its financial data. As the conclusions drawn from the financial reports were generally used to evaluate my performance--or the performance of my staff--I was often left arguing with the accountants over assumptions used in the financial methodology. Unfortunately, the playing field was not level and it generally ended in frustration on my part. Now I have leveled the playing field.

After reading this book, I have a deeper understanding of the assumptions underlying the financial reports used in my company. I also have a greater knowledge base to draw from when suggesting revisions to the data analysis or spreadsheet methodology promoted by the accounting department. I have read a few financial books throughout my career and they generally have served as a great nonpharmaceutical sleep aid. This book is different. It is written in a clear, concise style that uses common examples to provide context to the financial statements and principles being explained. It makes sense to someone like me and I found it an easy read. Kudos to the authors and now I'd like to learn more about their concept of a money map.
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on December 12, 2005
As the COO of a medium sized company I have been looking for an effective way to help my non-financial department managers to more fully participate in the budgeting and planning process. I like the way that "Financial Intelligence" explains advanced financial concepts in an easy to understand way using real business examples, without "talking down" to the reader.

This book covers all of the basics of financial management but it breaks new ground by putting real financial analysis tools into the hands of every manager. We will be using this book as part of our yearly budgeting and strategy process with our entire management team.
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on October 26, 2007
I enjoyed this book very much. It was an easy read probably because it was so well written. But maybe because I have an accounting background and this book was so simple. There definitely is a need for a book like this for non-technical business types to read and digest so they can play the game of business.

When I was in college majoring in accounting my classmates and I used to joke that we were being trained to write financial statements and reports, and the finance majors were being trained to read what we wrote. We had a chip on our shoulder because everybody knows it is easier to read something than to write it. Thus, we considered finance majors as kids seeking a "baby accounting degree." I mention this because there are a lot of people trying to play the game of business who don't have either an accounting degree or a baby accounting degree. This book is for them.

If you work in a company where you started out in sales or administrative work and now find yourself responsible for managing a Profit and Loss function, then this book is for you. Chances are you don't have an accounting or finance degree under your belt and accounting terminology, balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow reports are beyond you. You may not have even gone to college? No degrees are required for sales or administration. But to play the game of business you need to have financial intelligence. And this book will deliver for you.

If you are a wanta-be entrepreneur and you have to do market research in order to prepare a sound 25-35 page written business plan for your new company, then you have to be able to put together a financial section in your plan. To do so you must be able to read and understand your competitions' financial reports (or your estimates of what those reports would include). And you have to be able to analyze those reports so you can create similar reports for the new company that you plan to start. This book will help you be able to do that. It covers financial intelligence.

This book will also help the entrepreneur who didn't prepare a sound business plan, but should have. It's never too late to learn about accounting and the reports accountants write. Those reports help a manager manage by the numbers. So whether you have a bookkeeper keeping your books. Or Quickbooks Pro running on your PC. To learn the basics about managing by the numbers you should get a copy of this book. I highly recommend that many of my SCORE clients read a copy. 5 stars!
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on February 24, 2006
Are you in management or do you want to be in management? If the answer is yes, then this book is a must for your career. The information here is extremely powerful and the authors did an outstanding job of making it simple to understand. If you have ever wondered why senior management would not fund a project when the company is having a record profit month, Berman will explain why this maybe the best choice. Throughout the very palatable training there are fascinating examples from the newspaper headlines (Enron/Worldcom/...) of what these headliners did with their finances that was wrong but was overlooked for some time. This is not just what the definitions are but that they mean.

Okay if you have a Business Degree you should know this but you need your coworkers to know this to really help your company win. You can try to educate each of your coworkers for years or just give them a copy of this book. Your company/team will be more unified and focused.

I presented this book to my senior management requesting that the company buy a copy for every one in leadership. I am looking forward to rereading this book and I strongly recommend you buy this book. Financial Intelligence will help our careers.
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on December 6, 2005
As an entrepreneur, I've found that it's just as important to understand the numbers as it is to understand my business' products and services. Yet, as a person with limited financial training, grasping the intricacies of money management has often seemed daunting.

"Financial Intelligence" is a first of its kind. It provides real clarity to the mysteries of finance in a practical, readable format. Thanks to this book, I not only "get it," but I now have the tools I need to translate knowledge into positive financial results.

For any business person committed to making his or her operations successful, this book is a must have and a must read.
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on June 10, 2007
If you have some understanding of finance - even basic - don't expect to learn anything out of this book. I was expecting much more than that given the target audience - "managers" - and the publisher. I doubt that in today's world, a manager wouldn't have some sort of understanding of finance. Nonetheless, the book is well written, explained and organized. I had my analyst read it as an introduction and he liked it a lot.
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on January 31, 2006
Don't let that train wreck of a cover dissuade you from this book. Joe's a smart cookie--I've heard him speak. He has a way of breaking the numbers down into decipherable pieces of information. Wonderfully helpful. Get the book, then fashion your own cover from a grocery bag; you'll benefit from what's inside and from the creative exercise of designing a new outside.
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