12 October 2012
With a desire to improve my understanding of corporate finance, I picked up a copy of Harvard Business Review’s recommended, “Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean”. First sentence of the book’s preface contains a mistake:
We have worked with thousands of employees, managers, and leaders in America companies, teaching about them about the financial side of business.
No unforgivable, but you’d kinda expect better editing in a professional publication.
But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is that maybe half of the words in the book could be removed. I just want to learn about finance as quickly and efficiently as possible, without having to spend my time consuming filler like this:
If you read the papers regularly, you have learned a good deal in recent years about all the wonderful ways people find to cook their companies' book. [...] As long as there are liars and thieves on this earth, some of them will no doubt find ways to commit fraud and embezzlement.
When I wrote Money for Something, my goal was to be concise. I spent a lot of time looking for words that could be removed, and sentences that could be simplified. I worked hard to increase the signal to noise ratio.
Why did I do that? Our of respect for my reader’s time, and with the objective that they learn as much as possible, as efficiently as possible.
Having gone through that process has affected my own response to books I read. The feeling I have now when reading a book full of fluff is that in a certain way the author and/or publisher doesn’t respect my time.