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Financial Fine Print: Uncovering a Company's True Value

Financial Fine Print: Uncovering a Company's True Value

Michelle Leder

ISBN: 978-0-471-64937-3 September 2003 208 Pages




Thirty-five million individual investors jumped into the stock market for the first time during the late 1990s without asking questions about the stocks they were buying. When the bubble burst and the large number of accounting scandals began to grow, most investors didn’t know where to turn or whom to trust. Now it has become more important than ever for investors to take matters into their own hands.

Financial Fine Print: Uncovering a Company’s True Value lets individual investors in on the secrets that seasoned professional investors use when they evaluate a potential investment. Buried deep in a company’s quarterly (10-Q) and annual (10-K) reports are the real clues to a company’s financial health: the footnotes. At many large companies, these footnotes can run for more than 30 pages and for some corporations have doubled in the past five years, making them simply too important for investors to ignore.

Financial Fine Print spells out exactly what investors need to look for within the footnotes of a company’s reports in order to make better, more informed decisions. By using numerous examples of actual footnotes that have appeared in SEC documents, the book teaches investors in easy-to-understand language ways to spot – and avoid – future Enrons and Worldcoms (and Tycos and Adelphias and HealthSouths). For any investor who has spent the past three years watching their investments shrink and has begun to think about getting back into the market, this book provides the critical tools that investors need to know to avoid getting burned once again.




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.



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

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

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

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

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

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