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The Interpretation of Financial Statements Hardcover – May 6, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition Thus edition (May 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887309135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887309137
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Graham ranks as this century's (and perhaps history's) most important thinker on applied portfolio investment." -- John Train, author of The Money Masters

"[Graham]...formed the framework of thinking about the stock market that has inspired the investment community for nearly a century." -- Smart Money

About the Author

Benjamin Graham (1894-1976), the father of value investing, has been an inspiration for many of today's most successful businesspeople. He is also the author of Securities Analysis and The Interpretation of Financial Statements.

Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, was perhaps the most influential investment figure of all time. His work laid the foundation of modern security analysis, and two of his books,The Intelligent Investor (1949) and Security Analysis(1934), are investment classics that remain bestsellers to this day. His Life and work have been inspiration for many of today's most successful investors, including Warren Buffett, Michael F. Price, and John Neff.

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Customer Reviews

I like it, the most important very good explained.
istvanl
Below are a couple of other good financial statement analysis books to read before investing or reading Graham's other books.
hardcore
Warren Buffett learned a lot from Benjamin Graham and so can you.
Mariusz Skonieczny

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

211 of 220 people found the following review helpful By S. Schneider on June 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Why they republished this edition when they might have republished the Second or Third Revised Edition (by Graham and Charles McGolrick, published in 1964 and 1975, respectively) beats me. The latter two editions are unquestionably better,as both are more current, and contain more useful tips regarding contextual interpretation.
It's true that the primary value of Graham's text is its framework, which provides concision in summarizing a potentially confusing topic. This framework persists through all four editions. Also, it's true that all four editions are pretty dated (there is no discussion of cash flow statement interpretation in any edition obviously, for example, although Graham alludes to the significance of cashflow interpretation somewhat disparagingly in the latter editions).
But all of Graham's guidelines for balance sheet analysis are still current in the latter two editions, as are his brief guidelines for bond analysis and earnings power. The first edition seems less useful in these respects.
One might assume that there is value in going back to the first edition of this small volume as one might go back to the first edition of Security Analysis. There are indeed nuggets in the first edition of Security Analysis which have been mysteriously removed from later editions. But that isn't true with The Interpretation of Financial Statements. If you can get your hands on a copy of the 1964 or 1975 edition of this book, you will likely find either more useful than this original edition.
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137 of 143 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Why they republished this edition when they might have republished the Second Revised Edition (by Graham and Charles McGolrick, originally published in 1964) beats me. The latter is unquestionably better,as it is more current, and contains more tips. Yet even the 1964 edition is pretty dated (there is no discussion of cash flow statement interpretation, for example, although Graham alludes to cashflow somewhat disparagingly in this later edition). One might argue that there is value in going back to the 1st edition of this small volume as one might go back to the 1st edition of Security Analysis. There are indeed nuggets in the 1st edition of Security Analysis which have been mysteriously removed from later editions. But that isn't true with The Interpretation of Financial Statements. If you can find a copy of the 1964 edition of this book, you will likely find it more useful than the original.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Houman Tamaddon on January 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Value investing is timeless and Ben Graham is the master of it, but that does not make his books necessarily worthy of reading. Understanding companies' financial statements is imperative for any serious investor but I do not recommend this book as your main source. This was written in 1937. The examples (mainly railroads and utilities) are out dated. Cash flow statements were not even used at that time. GAAP did not exist. If you are interested in better understanding of financial statements, I recommend the following three books instead:

Reading Financial Reports For Dummies by Lita Epstein

How to Read a Financial Report by John Tracy

Financial Statements by Thomas Ittelson
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Review Monster VINE VOICE on March 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Although corporate 10Q's have become more complex due to a lot of the offbalance sheet investments they do, e.g. Enron. If a company is honest and has value this book will help you find it. So the way I approach my investing I have to assume all companies are honest unless proven otherwise.
So much time is taken to explain diversification by many other books, but none gives you the practical expertise to make an informed decision. This book does. It is a handy reference that sits on my desk. I use it to review annual reports and to interpret online SEC filings just to make sure the companies I have invested in are actually healthy.
This book is small, but what I have found over the years is that smaller books are better. They leave out the fluff and all you get are the meat and potatoes of what you need to know.
If you take your time to understand the information presented and use it, you'll be teaching your broker a thing or two at the end of the day.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hawkinson VINE VOICE on December 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the most part I found Graham's book to be very useful. It is a quick and informative read with some insights on how to make heads or tails of what you are looking at with an annual or quarterly report. Although there was some disappointment with the Income Statement explanation (which, honestly isn't terribly hard to understand), as well as his focus on railroad and utility companies (with some focus on bonds and preferred stocks, which I have no interest in), I found this to be very helpful.

On a whole, this book is excellent for the beginning investor. It is a little out of date, but the core information, as well as reading the words of Graham himself, is worth the read. Graham also applies everything he wrote about to a financial statement, showing exactly what to do, which is an invaluable piece of instruction. Definitely recommend, even if it is for the sample balance sheet analysis alone.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By neurotome on November 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What this book is:

The 1936 edition of "The Interpretation of Financial Statements" by Benjamin Graham, the father of the modern academic discipline of financial analysis. In brief chapters with examples, Graham explains different entries you might find on a corporation's public balance sheet, how those assets and liabilities (debits and credits) add up, and what the meaning is with regard to that corporation's financial health. There are occasional glimpses of average figures by industry, but given that they were compiled in 1935, they are more interesting as a glimpse into the past - some things have changed, much more has remained the same.

What this book is not:

1. It's not a primer on double-entry accounting. If you really don't know anything about double-entry bookkeeping, you'll find the book rough going, as basic familiarity is assumed.

2. It's not an editorial. There's remarkably little opinion given about how to value companies based on their balance sheet entries. That task is performed in the author's mammoth magnum opus, Security Analysis (I prefer the 1940 edition). This book does function admirably as a tableside glossary to that work.

3. It won't tell you how to get rich by investing. Readers looking for get-rich-quick guides should look elsewhere.

4. GAAP- or SOAP-compliant. Both Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Sarbanes-Oxley postdated the publication of this book by many years.

I enjoyed this book and found it a pleasant, intelligent and necessary introduction to Graham's Security Analysis. If you have interest in learning about the history of financial analysis, you will probably find this book of interest as well.
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