44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2009
First, some background on why I purchased this book. I am new to using personal financial management software (Excel has always sufficed in the past) and, after a great deal of poking around on the web, I chose Quicken primarily due to the fact that MS Money no longer supports sub-categories for expenses. I downloaded the trial version of Quicken Deluxe and just started playing around.
After a couple of hours of trial and error, I had all of my accounts linked to One Step Update and all of my transactions had been downloaded and categorized. At this point, I was really smitten with Quicken. I decided to take the plunge and purchase it and went out looking for a good reference book on how to use all of Quicken's features. After even more poking around on the web and reading dozens of reviews here on Amazon, it seemed like The Missing Manual was the best reference guide.
Unfortunately, I have been less than impressed with this book. I have found that it has taken me longer to read the book than it did to figure the same things by just playing with the program. And there is an almost total lack of advice on troubleshooting. When the same One Step Update I was so smitten with one weekend starting failing the next weekend, the book was completely mute on where to even begin to try and fix it. Ironically, the marketing for this book claims that it exists because Intuit (the makers of Quicken) doesn't have great support, yet I found the solution to my One Step Update issues through Quicken support (though it still took me a while) and the book didn't help at all!!
In the end, I gave this three stars because I think it is a good basic introduction to how to use Quicken Deluxe. But that is all it is. I do not see this as a resource I will continue to go back to now that I have learned the basics and I am already in the market for a more advanced book on common errors and troublshooting.
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
'Quicken 2009: The Missing Manual' is a must buy for all Quicken 2009 users that want to get the most out of their financial software. With over 550 pages of material (up 30% from the previous version of this book), this is the EASIEST way to not only start doing the basics with Quicken, but EVERYTHING Quicken has to offer!!!
My only complaint is the lack of color in this book, there really is no reason for not having color in all of these books nowadays.
Here's a McKinnon Overview for the readers:
01. Set Up
02. Starting Off
03. Setting Up Accounts
04. Tracking Transactions
05. Banking Transactions
06. Online Banking
07. Transaction Goodies
09. Property & Debt
10. Taxes & Insurance
11. Spending And Saving
13. Quicken Tools
14. Reports And Graphs
15. Backing Up Data
16. Customizing Quicken
17. Exporting & Importing
I've reviewed a dozen+ 'Missing Manual' books and I feel they are some of the best computer books EVER written. Exceptionally designed, laid out, written, they really should have been in the boxes of all the software they were written for. My reviews were all so glowing I finally started to just say BUY THE BOOK and I am not changing my stance here at all. If you use Quicken 2009 or want to become an uber-user, BUY THIS BOOK TO-DAY!!!
***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2009
If you don't consider yourself an experienced Quicken user, the best solution is a good book.
Even veteran Quicken users need help when they update to a new version. In response to these needs, Bonnie Biafore continues her jargon-free, step-by-step instructions in this volume covering Quicken 2009. Just as Quicken seems to balloon as it adds annual bells and whistles, the 2009 Missing Manual is nearly 75 pages longer than last year's edition. However, unlike some of Quicken's additions, these are valuable and highly understandable pages, covering what has become a pretty complex program. And for those upgrading from an earlier version, there's a whole section in the Introduction that describes what's new this year. (Not too much.) To my jaded eyes, the true gift of this book is that the author not only tells you WHAT Quicken does, but WHY and HOW it's done, as well as why you might want to use the feature she's describing.
This Missing Manual is divided into fve parts: Getting Started; Getting Down to Business (follows your money from paycheck, to deposit and spending, to reconciling accounts); Tuning your Financial Engine (budgeting, tracking assets, debt and investments, planning, using Quicken reports and tax planning); Quicken Power Tools (customizing Quicken, protecting your data, exporting and importing data); Appendixes (keyboard shortcuts, guide to Quicken resources, and installation and upgrading instructions).
The book is written to accommodate readers at all levels of Quicken knowledge. The main text discussions are aimed at beginner or intermediate users. But special boxes titled "Up To Speed" add basic information in more detail to clarify an issue. "Power Users Clinic" boxes offer technical tips, tricks and shortcuts for the more experienced user. There also are "Frequently Asked Question" boxes, covering such things as where on earth your data fIles are kept by Quicken, and
"Troubleshooting Moment" boxes, covering panic-causing incidents like the sudden loss of a window. Actually, there are more box titles than this, but all of them are useful, and the tips they offer are very valuable. In addition, black and white illustrations abound, providing screen shots that help you visualize instructions. As a fairly experienced Quicken veteran, I found it fun to just leaf through the book and read the special boxes fIrst...I picked up some tips I'd never heard before and found other information that I never saw documented before. As O'Reilly says of its "Missing Manual" books," this is the book that SHOULD have come with the program". But even back in the days when most computer programs came in a box with a bound User Manual included, rarely were they as comprehensive, clear, and amusing as this one. (Not to mention the fact that some of those old manuals lost something in the translation from an original unknown language!) Biafore presents us with a must for your bookshelf and sanity when using Quicken.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2008
As an experienced user, I skipped a lot of the book. I bought it because I have not read "the manual" in 4 years. About 20% of the book of was useful to me, but that was enough.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2009
I bought this book to determine whether I should upgrade to Quicken 2009 or wait another year. Although the book is very helpful, it also helped me see that the 2009 "upgrades" weren't worth the price of the software. My two main problems are that images are not always backed and the associated files can easily become "detached" from the backup files. Also, I have had some problems with file corruption.
Still, the book is very useful, especially since Intuit will never tell you the limitations and shortcomings of their products.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2009
The book covered the Quicken 2009 program effectively - good explanations on how to use pretty much every function available in the program. While most of the information was readily available elsewhere, the book had some very useful info that can't be found anywhere else (at least very easily)-- particulary related to file functions such as the capabilities of the "File Copy" feature. Excellent return for the money.
I borrowed several Quicken books from the library, and purchased 2 here. This is the book I value most.
When explaining features of the software, she takes into consideration that different users will have different perspectives, as well as different needs. For example, the definition of the word "account", as used in Quicken is different than you may expect.
I have been using it with the 2010 version of Quicken, not the 2009 version mentioned in the title of this book. There is very little difference between the 2009 and 2010 software. I hear the 2011 version is also very similar.
The sections on importing files, exporting, and conversions, are to me worth the price of the entire book. The Quicken software functionality is very bad in the area of file imports, exports, and data consolidations; the software imposes annoying limitations. The author addresses these problems in an honest manner, and suggests some work-arounds, along with the pros-and-cons of each work-around. It is obvious that she is not beholden to Intuit Corp.
Some will like this book more than others. If you are a beginning Quicken user, and do not have a background in accounting and in-depth computer use, and are intimidated by those subjects, you may want to start with one of the simpler books.
This book is packed with useful information, lots of text, and lots of example pictures. This is not a book padded with excessive white space.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2009
I ordered this book to help me with the new version of Quicken. The book is long,tedious and hard to understand. In fact, I gave up and went back trying to use the Quicken help features instead.
on December 27, 2011
This is a great book for anyone using Quicken. I currently use Quicken 2011 - Rental Property Manager version. The Missing Manual is a great reference for reviewing all of Quicken's features and then tightening up categories and tags for accurate reports and tax planning.
For me, the section on setting up a HELOC as a credit card account was worth the book's price alone. All the other great explanations were a really thick layer of icing on the proverbial cake.
My gratitude and appreciation goes out to all the fine people at "The Missing Manual" series and especially to Bonnie Biafore for her time and energy in writing this book. Well done!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2009
The maker of Quicken 2009 definately left me with many unanswer questions of just how to begin. It didn't help that they offered to answer my questions (at an additional expense)because I wasn't even elightened enough to ask good questions. The book was very helpful and was well done. It was indeed The Missing Manual.