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Reading Financial Reports For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)) Paperback – December 24, 2004

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From the Back Cover

Simple strategies for measuring a company's financial health

Decipher the jargon and read financial reports like a pro

Whether you're a serious investor or hold a few shares in the company you work for, reading financial reports is a vital way to keep tabs on a company's performance. This clear and friendly guide will help you wade through the numbers to see what's really going on — so you can make smarter and more profitable investment choices.

Discover how to:

  • Make sense of balance sheets
  • Find the figures that tell the tale
  • Test the numbers with simple formulas
  • Recognize red flags in the footnotes
  • Understand deceptive accounting practices

About the Author

Lita Epstein is a writer and a designer and teacher of online financial courses, as well as the coauthor of Trading For Dummies.

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Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies (December 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764577336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764577338
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I enjoy translating complex financial and political topics critical to people's everyday life in language that can be easily understood. I do this through my non fiction "how to" books for the Dummies series and the Idiot's Guides. I have more than 25 finance and political books on the market. Prior to writing books, I've worked as a daily newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, a press secretary for a U.S. Congressman and a fund raiser for former President Jimmy Carter, so he can continue his international work through The Carter Center. I earned my MBA at Emory University's Goizueta Business School and my BA at Rutgers University.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 108 people found the following review helpful By J. Sims on March 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
I recently had to take a week long seminar about financial statements and didn't want to go in cold turkey and possibly embarass myself ... so I bought three books thru Amazon to help me learn about financial statements, this one being the most comprehensive.

I'll make this short and sweet ... this was an excellent book by any standard ... the other two books were brief and excellent overviews, but I'd have to judge Lita's (author) book as superb.

It was as if I learned detail from a text book (factual substance), but then had her sitting beside me saying ... ok, you know such and such, now this is how it really works, or this is how you apply it, or this is what it means, or this is what you need to do next, or these are the tricks of the trade only insiders know, etc. Plus her 10 real world discussions of what went wrong with certain corporations ... Enron, WorldCom/MCI, Tyco, etc., are very interesting reads.

For instance, she tells you how to go about listening to a call between analysts and corporate executives, which honestly I did not know you could do. It's this added perspective of an experienced insider's knowledge of the business that puts her above the rest ... and this being a 362 page book, which I read cover to cover, there are plenty of these types of examples.

For anyone who is not well versed in this subject matter, but WANTS to learn about it, quit pondering the purchase and just buy the book. It is money well spent ... I guarantee it.

Oh, and by the way, Lita dedicates the book to her father, who was an auditor and savings and loan examiner ... so you know she was taught plenty by ole Dad ... this stuff was in her blood from the get go, and she communicates her extensive knowledge very well.

I sincerely congratulate her on such a fine work. I enjoyed it immensely! Thank you Lita ... Jim
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By D. Portney on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I've never taken the time to leave feedback about any books I buy, but this book I really got a lot out of, and highly recommend.

Although the description of the book seems to mostly focus on reading financial reports in order to evaluate companies you might want to invest in by buying stock, I bought the book because I wanted to be much more comfortable with reading - moreover analyzing and understanding - financial statements for business management purposes.

Boy, I was NOT disappointed! By reading the book and constantly referring to the financial statements of 2 companies (Mattel and Hasbro), and interpreting, analyzing and comparing the numbers, I have really learned quite a lot about how to manage by the numbers. Now, when I look at financial statements, I know what every line means, I know what I'm looking for, how to interpret the numbers and changes in the numbers and/or ratios over time - I'm truly just as pleased as punch! This book is worth every penny you pay for it.

And, because the author also tosses in a lot of revealing and useful information about analyzing financial statements to evaluate a company and the worth of its stock, I received quite an education there as well. Very eye opening.

Whether you're a business owner, manager, accountant or stock investor, if you're even considering getting this book to enhance your knowledge, get it. It's a very, very good book. I kept a highlighter and some post it notes at my side, you may want to do the same. In any event, after reading this book (which, by the way is NOT a 'dry' read) you will have deep knowledge of financial statements - balance sheet, profit and loss (income statement) and cash flow statement.

I highly recommend this book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Houman Tamaddon on April 17, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the single best book for beginner and intermediate-skilled investors. I believe most non-professional investors will find this an absolute gem. The writing is clear and actually fun to read. You will learn the basics of how to evaluate companies, but Epstein includes nuances that even more advanced investors will find useful.

The book is valuable because of its appropriate coverage of 4 separate areas:
1) Teaches the reader basic accounting. For example, what do different items on a cash flow statement really mean and how are they related to the balance sheet or the income statement?
2) Once you understand basic accounting, it teaches you how to manipulate some of these numbers to get a better understanding of how well the company is doing. For example, what is the significance of inventory turnover?
3) Points you to other sources for more information and greater understanding ie: different websites and how to get bond ratings on particular companies.
4) Discusses pitfalls of analyzing financial reports. She discusses how companies manipulate numbers and how you can improve your chances of catching the culprits. She discusses 10 guilty companies.

There are many great books investors should read, but if you were only allowed one then this should be the one. Bravo Lita!
P.S. I am not a generous Amazon reviewer as you can see for yourself by reading my other reviews.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Cordero on February 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
reading financial report for me before is just like reading numbers but reading this book is it s not just only reading but also analyzing and decoding the numbers found in the financial reports..The authors use laymans term in order that the reader can understand the different accounting is just __knowing yourself and knowing your investments... this book is a must for a serious investor and this book is intended for a defenceless investor who have no knowledge in checking the financial health of the company.
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