Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Take the Fear Out of Business Finances

So you finally got that promotion and today is your first day attending the management meeting. As you sit down among your new peers a thick report is passed out filled with numbers. These are the monthly financial reports and as you look through them you’re completely lost. What does it all mean and am I going to be asked to comment on these numbers?

Don’t panic. There are simple ways to get up to speed with the basics of business finances. You could enroll in a business finance course but that would take too long. Or you could read the book No Fear Finance by Guy Fraser-Sampson.

Fraser-Sampson takes the fear out of understanding business financially concepts and reports. In a very clear and methodical way he goes through all the basic information needed to understand and use and understand financial reports and tools.

Early in his book Fraser-Sampson distinguishes between Financial Accounts and Management Accounts. Financial accounts are used to report about a company to outsiders like shareholders, while management accounts are used by management to make business decisions.

Other topics covered include:

  • Basic financial concepts such as the time value of money, and financial instruments including stocks, bonds and derivatives.
  • The main investment concepts like liquidity, volatility, active versus passive investing and different return measurements.
  • Key accounting matters like balance sheet and income statement analysis, working capital and solvency.
  • Company life cycle events including M&A, capital raising, insolvency.

If you would like to get a head start on understanding business finances, please join us for our next Soundview Live webinar, No Fear Finance. Guy Fraser-Sampson will explain basic financial concepts for business use, and will take questions from the audience. Now is a great time to get your burning questions answered in a low-pressure environment.


A FREE Resource You HAVE to Use!

There’s a reason I tend to conclude my posts by telling everyone to visit Soundview’s Web site, The site is regularly updated with information about newly released executive book summaries, book reviews (1,000 FREE reviews and growing!), upcoming Soundview Live Webinars and other great business learning resources.

I’ve got great news about another new resource available at How much do you think it would cost to attend an event where you hear vital business lectures from speakers such as Bill George, Patrick Lencioni, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Paul Krugman and David M. Rubenstein, among others? The event is the World Business Forum, and a ticket can cost as much as $2,500.

Fortunately, Soundview has partnered with HSM Global, producers of the World Business Forum, to bring you exclusive audio summaries of the event’s major speakers. These audio summaries are available for you to listen to for FREE!

Each audio summary is a 10-minute MP3 that features a narrated overview of the speech. The summary includes actual clips from the live speech given by the presenter at World Business Forum. If these tough economic times meant that you weren’t able to spend $2,500 on a ticket to the World Business Forum, these FREE audio summaries allow you to hear what you missed.

I need to stress here that you do NOT have to be a Soundview subscriber to listen to the World Business Forum audio summaries. These exclusive content pieces are FREE for everyone to learn from and enjoy. In fact, I’d recommend starting with Patrick Lencioni, whose latest book Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty is now available as a Soundview summary!

To listen to the audio summaries from the World Business Forum, CLICK THIS LINK!

A Sweet Acquisition in the Works?

You’ve got to give credit to Warren Buffett for a good turn of phrase. While sourcing this quote is a bit tough, America’s most famous investor is credited with saying, “When people are greedy, be nervous. When people are nervous, be greedy.” Companies that apply this logic often look at unstable economic times as an opportunity to make bold moves.

Today’s headlines indicate that Kraft Foods is one such company looking to make a move. In an acquisition attempt that’s on par with a lunar eclipse in terms of size, the food giant is bidding to take over British confectioner Cadbury. According to a company profile, Kraft is the second largest food company in the world and the largest in the United States. If you didn’t bother to click on the link in the previous sentence, go back and take a look at the brands Kraft controls. Stunning isn’t it? How much of your grocery cart is devoted to Kraft products? If you’re a parent, your purchases of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid are probably a large factor in why Kraft is able to make such a bold move. I know I’ve done my part with my love of Ritz crackers and Philadelphia cream cheese.

Now Kraft is looking to become parent to yet another organization. However, as press reports indicate, Cadbury is attempting to resist the acquisition. While I’m not certain that the move will affect the taste of the Dairy Milk bar (a Cadbury staple), investors and business analysts are keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

If this deal touches off a resurgence in mergers and acquisitions (also known as M&A, which tend to occur during periods of economic recovery), executives may want to brush up on the basics of M&A. For that, I’d recommend a book we summarized a short time ago whose advice remains timeless. Scott Moeller and Chris Brady authored Intelligent M&A, a title that gives executives a strong survival guide to the intense, high-stakes world of mergers and acquisitions. It’s one of the most clear-cut books on the subject and would serve any executive well prior to being given a role in a company’s M&A efforts.

What Can Your Kids Do?
November 6, 2008, 12:56 PM
Filed under: Investing, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

According to John Wiley & Sons’ Winter 2009 business catalog, we can finally have something else than the Jeff Foxworthy-hosted Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? to makes us feel a little dim between the ears. Due out in April, author and founder of Wealth Logic LLC, Allan Roth brings us the story of his eight-year old son Kevin in How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street: Golden Rules Any Investor Can Learn.


In second grade my children were in Little League and Girl Scouts … not learning how to invest and diversify their stock portfolios!


Roth shares the story of how he was able to teach his son simple, common sense techniques and strategies for investing. Wiley’s catalog copy mentions that Roth and his son share “fresh, new approaches to investing, along with some of the tried-and-true existing but rare approaches.” Though this book might not be groundbreaking, it seems to be an enjoyable read, and if the investing techniques are so simple that a child can understand and follow them, then I’m sure many of us could benefit from them as well. Considering the fact that Roth’s company advises clients with portfolios ranging from $10,000 to $50 million, I feel it’s safe to say he has the credentials.

Don’t Worry, Go Fishin’
October 9, 2008, 12:29 PM
Filed under: Books in General, Financial/Accounting, Investing | Tags: , ,

Panic is too mild a word for what many investors are experiencing right now, with banks closing or being bought at an alarming rate, the stock market dropping drastically, and the success of the government bailout questionable at best. So the question of the day is “Where do I put my money?”

One possible answer is found in the new release The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio , published by Wiley and written by Alexander Green. Green is the chairman of Investment U and the investment director for The Oxford Club. He brings his 23 years of investment experience to this book, which details his proven investment strategy, based on the mathematical formulas of Dr. Harold Markowitz, who won the 1990 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work.

Green’s contention is that if you follow his investment advice, made up of a simple mix of mutual funds, you can let it run and go fishing. Although this may sound too good to be true, by following this formula Green was able to retire from the securities industry at age 43 having gone from a net worth of zero to financial independence. The key to his success is Asset Allocation, developing the most effective, optimal mix of investments. By optimal, he means “that there is not another combination of asset classes that is expected to generate a higher ratio of return to risk.”

Of course, investment strategies are everywhere, so we recommend you do your homework before buying into Green’s advice. Here are a couple of opinions on Green’s investment strategy out in the market place: Daily Wealth, and Stock Gumshoe. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well.