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Finance books reviewed

“Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story” by Greg Smith – A Book Review

A search on Google for Goldman Sachs returns 328 million results. Created in 1869, Goldman Sachs rose quickly to be a favorite banks in the US for IPO’s and later for investment banking. Its history was always tied to acquisitions of trading funds and various financial instruments. And of course, during the sub-prime crisis in 2007, Goldman Sachs became even more famous for short-selling mortgage backed securities right before the market for those instruments collapsed. A close competitor of Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs allegedly partly maneuvered its sibling into bankruptcy, thus securing an even better position in the investment banking industry. With $29 billion in assets and a surprising repurchase of the government injection of cash into its share, Goldman Sachs remains one of the most mysterious investment banks on Earth.

No wonder that Greg Smith’s financial book (“Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story”) was expected with so much interest. As an ex-employee of the bank’s New York HQ, Smith was always critical of Goldman Sachs failing its own standards and the bank’s reference of customers such as “muppets” – after he left the bank in 2006. Thus, it comes as no surprise that this account of an investment banker’s life in Sachs is … well… critical of it. It is also not surprising that the book made the no.1 spot for most book retailers, including Amazon.Read More »“Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story” by Greg Smith – A Book Review

Business Book Review – “Handbook of Corporate Performance Management” – by Mike and Pippa Bourne

Measuring corporate performance has become a hot topics for the boardrooms lately. There is a strange opinion stream that underlines that the correct management tools can actually add value – as opposed to the strategy purists which think that only the 5 P’s of marketing can add value to a company. I myself am often confused, even in practice, since the proofs for each side of the argument are plenty. After all, what is the purpose of a complex management structure beyond controlling and optimizing the business? Is it also to create value by designing, implementing and monitoring a chosen strategy?Read More »Business Book Review – “Handbook of Corporate Performance Management” – by Mike and Pippa Bourne

Investing Book Review – “International Financial Statements Analysis”

Investing Book Review – “International Financial Statements Analysis” by
Thomas R. Robinson, CFA, Hennie van Greuning, CFA, Elaine Henry, CFA, Michael A. Broihahn, CFA

This week I managed to finish reading another monster book in finance – “International Financial Statements Analysis” which is specifically targeted for the CFA (Chartered Financial Analysts) students and professionals. To be honest, I was impressed when I first looked at this book – it looked very dense, and packed with various topics which had a vague resemblance with some of my studies I had in the past. At least on the surface… So at first I was very curious – what did it contain?Read More »Investing Book Review – “International Financial Statements Analysis”

Book Review – “Multinational Financial Management” (International Student Version) by Alan Shapiro

If you are a financial manager aspiring to an international career – or only if you want to understand the implications of the cross-border expansion of the companies, “Multinational Financial Management” must have a place in your book shelf. I’ve met in my life quite a few finance managers with international responsibilities – and not all of them understood exactly what were they doing. A key theme of this book is that most of the successful companies operate in an international environment and ignoring this can be at your (company’s) peril. In this complex and dynamic environment, financial management plays an essential role. The difference between one company or another lies no longer in the quality of the products or in the customer image. Strong competitive advantages come nowadays from having a differently configured supply chain (e.g. manufacturing in China) or from taking advantage of exchange rates or complex financial derivatives. There are nowadays production companies that can make more profits from exchange rate differences than from the production itself – see the case of some Swiss companies who saw a huge swing in their profits on the increase of the CHF versus other currencies.
“Multinational Financial Management” is written with a practical perspective in mind. You can find inside its covers basically all the topics related to a company’s corporate finance function – with an international twist. So don’t be surprised that most of the topics are well know from your BA in Finance – because they actually are. In here it is the practicalities that count. The focus goes to the more important topics, where the value is added for the companies – taxation differentials, appraising foreign investment projects or repatriating your profits with minimal costs. Even the presentation of the book mentions that it is a natural extension of the first course in the financial management. It is therefore too general sometimes – or maybe destined for a bachelor’s degree in finance rather than for an MBA.Read More »Book Review – “Multinational Financial Management” (International Student Version) by Alan Shapiro

A Book Review – “Transnational Management” – by Christopher Bartlett and Paul Beamish

I was always fascinated by the multinational enterprises (MNE’s as they call them in the majority of the textbooks). This not only because their reach tends to be global , but also because they seem to dominate so dramatically the 21st century business arena. If you think how big are these behemoths (the ones with the largest market capitalizations are several times higher than the mid-tier nations in terms of GDP), then the reason becomes also more obvious. At last but not at least, the global presence of the multinational companies means that they are an indispensable part of any investment manager’s portfolio.Read More »A Book Review – “Transnational Management” – by Christopher Bartlett and Paul Beamish