A brisk, practical take on money management.



A concise guide to personal finance and investing.

Investment expert and CEO Pecaut (University of Berkshire Hathaway, 2017, etc.) states at the book’s outset that he’s aiming to present timeless principles about how to think about and handle money. The book’s first section includes basic concepts, such as compound interest and the importance of saving. The second section is aimed at readers looking for a deeper dive into investment. The author writes from the perspective of a Warren Buffett-inspired investor who looks at the fundamentals of a company (such as price-to-earnings ratios) to find moneymaking opportunities. The third section takes a turn away from other, more traditional books on money management to offer insight on giving to charity. This advice is far from abstract and draws, in part, on the author’s own experiences with micro-lending. Taken as a whole, this book is a well-rounded guide to personal finance. Although some elements are familiar from other, similar works (including Albert Einstein’s oft-cited quote about compound interest being the eighth wonder of the world), the book offers nuanced advice that goes beyond simply getting out of debt and saving 10 percent of one’s income. For instance, Pecaut advises would-be investors to look hard at specifics of a company other than the raw numbers. For example, who’s in charge of the company? Is it just a hired hand or someone fully concerned with the company’s success? The book’s surprisingly personal section on giving is another highlight. Regardless of the topic, it unfolds in simple, straightforward language throughout.

A brisk, practical take on money management.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5192-1545-1

Page Count: 196

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

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Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

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One of history’s most prolific inventors receives his due from one of the world’s greatest biographers.

Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Morris (This Living Hand and Other Essays, 2012, etc.), who died this year, agrees that Thomas Edison (1847-1931) almost certainly said, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” and few readers of this outstanding biography will doubt that he was the quintessential workaholic. Raised in a middle-class Michigan family, Edison displayed an obsessive entrepreneurial spirit from childhood. As an adolescent, he ran a thriving business selling food and newspapers on a local railroad. Learning Morse code, he spent the Civil War as a telegrapher, impressing colleagues with his speed and superiors with his ability to improve the equipment. In 1870, he opened his own shop to produce inventions to order. By 1876, he had money to build a large laboratory in New Jersey, possibly the world’s first industrial research facility. Never a loner, Edison hired talented people to assist him. The dazzling results included the first commercially successful light bulb for which, Morris reminds readers, he invented the entire system: dynamo, wires, transformers, connections, and switches. Critics proclaim that Edison’s innovations (motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, mimeograph, etc.) were merely improvements on others’ work, but this is mostly a matter of sour grapes. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was a clunky, short-range device until it added Edison’s carbon microphone. And his phonograph flabbergasted everyone. Humans had been making images long before Daguerre, but no one had ever reproduced sound. Morris rivetingly describes the personalities, business details, and practical uses of Edison’s inventions as well as the massive technical details of years of research and trial and error for both his triumphs and his failures. For no obvious reason, the author writes in reverse chronological order, beginning in 1920, with each of the seven following chapters backtracking a decade. It may not satisfy all readers, but it works.

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9311-0

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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For Gorman, creating customers is an act of cultivating delight–-a motto that most businesses would do well to follow.



Gorman, who runs a boutique creative-brand agency, offers a refreshing return to business basics, when competition was a novel concept and businesses actually put the customer first.

Not that Gorman is trotting out old business saws in a fuddy-duddy way; his style is energetic, and his delivery is keen and clean. He is not about to forsake branding, but he will tell you to forget the fancy dancing, the retro music and the airy cleverness. His emphasis is on delivering satisfaction to the customers—consistently–-with the ultimate goal of making them friends for the long term. Granted, it's not a revolutionary concept, but in the Age of Hype, it's certainly salubrious. Profits cannot be a guiding principle; business owners must understand the values, tastes and preferences of their audience, and then create a brand that becomes "the story that people will tell when asked to recommend your product or service to someone else"–-and one that exceeds expectations. In other words, create an identity and be all you say you are. Tag lines, logos, websites–-these are all brand articulations, and though Gorman acknowledges their importance, they are not value articulations and they can't carry the product if the consumer's experience isn't pleasurable and enthusiastic. Gorman even goes a step further: The product must be a delight. (He includes many amusing anecdotes, but the best involves him tipping a saxophone-playing spaceman in the subway.) Gorman also offers intelligent advice about making oneself attractive to prospects, about clarity of message, about elegance and about the importance of word-of-mouth for verifying quality (with a nod to George Silverman)–-though it would have been helpful to get a few examples of controlling and sequencing word-of-mouth marketing.

For Gorman, creating customers is an act of cultivating delight–-a motto that most businesses would do well to follow.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-9749169-0-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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