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Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions By Decoding CEO Communications Hardcover – January 8, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"On Warren Buffett's Recommended Reading List" --Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Letter, 2012

"...investors ought to pay better attention to the way CEOs, the stewards of their capital, express themselves. That idea is the premise behind a new book from McGraw-Hill that explores the relationship between stock picking and executive candor...worthy of investor attention."  --Barron's

"Investing Between the Lines by LJ Rittenhouse, has a lot to say about communication in general and CEO communication in particular. [This book] stands out for its emphasis on research and data, rather than just opinion. [It] should be dog-eared, filled with flags, passages underlined and highlighted..." --IR Magazine

"Rittenhouse offers page after page of detailed analyses of corporate communications. These analyses are not always intuitively obvious. I for one am grateful for her efforts."  --Seeking Alpha

"Rittenhouse's annual company rankings have consistently shown a convincing link between executive candor and stock returns. Indeed, Rittenhouse raised a red flag on Enron before it failed, noticing a discrepancy between the net income cited in its CEO letter and its audited financial statement, among other things." --Robin Blumental Barron's 20130112

About the Author

L.J. Rittenhouse was an investment banker at Lehman Brothers before founding her executive coaching and investor relations firm, Rittenhouse Rankings Inc.  Her extensive research on the predictive power of CEO candor has been recognized by Warren Buffett and others for creating more trustworthy companies.  A graduate of the Columbia School of Business, Rittenhouse speaks on corporate governance, trustworthy leadership and at investor conferences.  She is also the author of Buffett's Bites (2010)Do Business with People You can Tru$t (2002) and contributed to Trust Inc. (2013) and Leading from Within (2007).
For more information visit RittenhouseRankings.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071714073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071714075
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Was recommended by WEB in the letter so sight unseen I purchased it....

...Maybe you will like it better than me but please review a library copy first. Wish I had. Witness:

*the book uses the phrase "Rittenhouse Rankings" as a club to bludgeon the reader endlessly. It appears on virtually every page, often multiple times on a page, to the point where you just want to scream!

*you know you are in trouble when an author quotes her own conversation with someone else in a book

*I couldn't help but wonder if this author was aware of 'conference calls'. I mean, I'll read shareholder letters if available (vast majority aren't as companies have gone to 10K wraps instead) but don't study them too closely (though I'm simple and stick with simple stuff) and prefer the calls and presentations in part cause if you don't get the culture and presentation from your research you aren't going to get it from a letter - people aren't WEB. This book would have made a lot more sense in 1993 - not so much 2013.

*On a practical basis, none of this stuff is particularly helpful if you don't already have a framework for evaluating companies and picking stocks. None of what she talks about here is closely correlated with actually picking winning stocks or avoiding bad ones. I mean, sure, everyone wants good management but should we really spend time picking apart an Enron letter when the cash flow statement is a mass of delusion? Tell me the option policy, tell me the capital allocation policy, tell me how stores they want to open and whether they pay dividends and what price they buy shares and how much they pay the CEO and where margins are and what's the story and all the things that make an investment analysis possible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to this book. Warren Buffet recommends it and it offers a new way to think about investing. However, I was hoping for something that wasn't delivered. The book lacks analytical rigor in a statistical sense. The analysis of corporate disclosure is deep and numerical, and to be applauded, but each chapter typically compares just three companies so there's not enough data to really prove or disprove anything in a robust way. Stylistically, I also found the canonization of Warren Buffet a little repetitive, I was also a little frustrated by the need to define a word at the start of every chapter and reference the author's firm often. I suspect if you are authoring content for shareholders e.g. you work in investor relations, then this book will be very relevant to you. However, as an investor I didn't receive enough data to really buy into the idea as a way to invest and also the steps to implementation are subjective. I hate writing 'bad' reviews, especially since the author's achievements are impressive, and do like the innovative concept here, plus totally agree with the vision. In my case I didn't feel I was the target audience for this book and wanted more data on whether the ideas actually work, the best books on investing typically have tables and tables of this sort of data, which this book lacks.
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Format: Hardcover
"Investing Between The Lines" is an expert and often entertaining guide for shareholder survival that shows readers how to use the words of senior management as an advance radar system. L.J. Rittenhouse underscores the increasing importance of candor and accountability in CEO communication, shows us how to spot it, and alerts us when to smell a rat, look a little harder and figure out what really lies ahead. The author's ability to link CEO words with corporate results is impressive and well worth the read for all boards of directors, executives and any professionals involved in investor relations and corporate communications.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the toughest jobs and investor has is deciphering what a company says in the many venues it presents itself. This book does an excellent job of heoping you understand what to look for and what it may or may not mean. I now look for somewhat different things in letters to shareholders and in presentations. Most of this can be applied to mutual funds too and may be even more help there.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that is designed to convey investing fundamentals. I work in finance as an investor and have read all of the mainstream investing books, including "The Intelligent Investor." Investing books can be dense, but I found that "Investing Between the Lines" did a great job of conveying the necessary information without over complicating it. The chapters are laid out and organized well making the book easy to reference back to. It is also a quick read; I was able to get through the entire book on a domestic plane ride.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great insights! Rittenhouse has done great research which we can all learn from. My key criticism is that the discussion of her CEO letter scoring techniques are spread throughout the book, and are not summarized in any one place. It would take days or weeks of study for anyone to be able to replicate her technique. The book will not be enough for you to do this at home.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disappointingly there is little to take away from this book that is of practical value to the professional or part time investor. The author failed to link any of the subject matter to delivering more successful investment outcomes. In fact, the book was so poorly connected to enhancing investment outcomes that the author discredits what should otherwise be an important component of investment analysis. Further undermining the credibility of the author were some blatant and basic errors - see the erroneous definition of 'book value' on page 77. Lastly and as others have pointed out, the book reads more like an advertising piece for the author's real business as the reader is bludgeoned on just about every page by the constant reference to his business. Do not waste your time with this book.
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