Financial Fine Print: Uncovering a Company's True Value / Edition 1

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Overview

"Always read the fine print." It’s one of life’s basicmaxims, and for the individual investor, still smarting from recentmarket meltdowns, the saying goes double. Too many claims ofmiraculous earnings have been revealed as accounting mirages, withsmall shareholders among the biggest losers.

Prudent investors want the whole story, not just therose-colored version of events that managers tend to portray. Yethow do you uncover it, given the huge amount of availableinformation? The trick is simply knowing where and how to look.

Financial Fine Print is a great place to start. Written byveteran financial journalist Michelle Leder, this book lays barethe accounting tricks companies use to whitewash their numbers.Using a clear, no-nonsense style and pointing out numerous scandalsand red flags, Leder sheds light on the most obscure yet mostessential aspect of annual reports and SEC filings: thefootnotes.

With the knowledge and techniques detailed in Financial FinePrint, you’ll learn:

  • Why one number buried deep within the pension footnote canspeak volumes about whether the company’s other numbers aretrustworthy
  • What sorts of insider transactions investors need to pay closeattention to
  • Where companies tend to hide their debt and otherobligations
  • How some companies seem to take "special" charges every quarterand how that impacts the bottom line
  • When to avoid a stock because the red flags are simply toonumerous

"Too many companies would prefer that you not read thefootnotes," notes former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. "That shouldbe incentive enough to delve into them." As investor skepticismbuilds and the specters of Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, and GlobalCrossing loom large, companies trying to prove themselvesabove-board have added more footnotes and documentation than everto their reporting. This makes learning the lessons of FinancialFine Print all the more important. Because the simple fact is thatif you want to own individual stocks, you need to do yourhomework.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A must read for any investor serious about knowing what they own."(Herb Greenberg, Columnist, TheStreet.com, Fortune Magazine)

"It's beautifully written, combining both warmth and clarity,and as easy to read as it is to understand." (Better InvestingMagazine, October 2003)

"The Financial Fine Print here is readable, useful andpotentially profitable!" (Barron's Magazine, December 1,2003)

"In my opinion "Financial Fine Print" is a must-read for anyinvestor who wants to pick his or her own stocks." (PittsburghTribune, December 21, 2003)

"With a book as indispensable as this, there's no...excuse toavoid wading into the thicket of footnotes before making financialdecisions." (Better Investing Magazine, December 2003)

"Financial Fine Print: Uncovering a Company's True Value is oneof the most informative books ever written for investors" (From theForeword by Thornton "Ted" Oglove)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471433477
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/8/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelle Leder has been writing about personal finance andinvesting for the past fifteen years, including ten years spent asa business reporter and later editor for daily newspapers in NewYork, Florida, and Connecticut. A freelance journalist for the pastfive years, her articles have appeared frequently in the New YorkTimes, as well as dozens of other publications appealing to a widerange of ages and income levels from AARP: The Magazine to Parents.Previously, she was the personal finance columnist forLifetimeTV.com’s "Money" and "Career" pages. As a dailyjournalist she won numerous awards, including the Society ofBusiness Editors and Writers’ prestigious Best in Businessaward and numerous awards in annual Associated Press contests inNew York, Florida, and Connecticut. She holds a degree in economicsfrom Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and lives inPeekskill, New York, with her husband, Scott, and dog, Kumara. Thisis her first book. Additional information about reading financialfootnotes is available at www.footnoted.org or by contactingMichelle Leder at ml@footnoted.org.

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Table of Contents

Foreword.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

Chapter 1: Don’t Get Fooled Again.

Chapter 2: Reading the Fine Print Like a Pro.

Chapter 3: You Don’t Need to Be a Pro.

Chapter 4: Charge It!.

Chapter 5: Optional Illusions.

Chapter 6: All in the Family.

Chapter 7: Pensions in Wonderland.

Chapter 8: Debt by Many Other Names.

Chapter 9: Five Common Ingredients.

Chapter 10: Changing the World.

A Few Final Words.

Appendix A: A Cheat Sheet for Reading Key SEC Filings.

Appendix B: A Brief Walk through Qwest’s Fine Print.

Notes.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2003

    A much-needed tonic for investors!

    Like many investors, I made some bad mistakes a few years ago. After reading Financial Fine Print, I not only now know why -- I also know how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. For anyone who picks their own stocks, this book is invaluable!

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