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The Number

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3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  145 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
With a new Afterword by the author and a new Foreword by Mark Cuban

In this commanding big-picture analysis of what went wrong in corporate America, Alex Berenson, a top financial investigative reporter for The New York Times, examines the common thread connecting Enron, Worldcom, Halliburton, Computer Associates, Tyco, and other recent corporate scandals: the cult of the n
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Paperback, 328 pages
Published April 13th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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John Canfield
Feb 13, 2014 John Canfield rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finance
Does an amazing job detailing the history of the stock market. Highlights some of the major flaws in stock options and the reporting of corporate earnings. Perhaps more importantly, though, it also touches upon the human condition, how stock market crashes persist, and why history is doomed to repeat itself.
Stephen Easley
Sep 07, 2015 Stephen Easley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome read

I read this book for my graduate business financial accounting class but I would read it all over again just for fun. It's extremely informative on the stock market. I learned so much after reading it. I would recommend to anyone interested in stocks.
Jake
Dec 04, 2015 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Financial writing is not normally my cup of tea, but somehow accounting became pretty interesting in this book. Not many books have mild-mannered accountants as villains, after all (see Arthur Anderson and friends). It's pretty amazing how you can turn a loss into a profit simply by calling something by a different word and POOF! Instant millionaires. Although this was written shortly after a stock market plunge in 2002, it is still relevant as it helped me to understand how the even bigger cras ...more
James
Aug 06, 2008 James rated it really liked it
If you own stocks you should at least read chapter 7: Options.
I always knew that stock options were just a way for management to steal from stockholders, but the author does an execellent job of explaining this process and gives outragous examples.

Most exec's sell the stock as soon as they exercise an option so it's a lie that they are alining their interests with stockholders.

And to make it worse, the cost of these options aren't deducted from company earnings so it looks like there is no c
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Bryan
Feb 10, 2013 Bryan rated it really liked it
This is a terrifying look into how big profits and large bonuses have corrupted some of the leaders of major corporations in America. Everyone who does some investing should read chapter seven on stock options. It is really a fascinating look into the world of quarterly earnings and profit reports. That does not really sound possible.
Gary
Jul 05, 2012 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting review of how corporations use and misuse accounting to compete for your investment dollars. Wish I could have rated the book higher, however, the conclusions seemed to just live with the facts some companies will misrepresent their true business profitability and that you as an investor, caveat emptor.
Olean Public Library
-Interesting history of the interaction of corporate America’s executives “independent auditor oversight and politics.” Tries to explain cycles of boom and bust in the S & P 500, also discusses corporate financial corruption.
Wellington
Jun 18, 2012 Wellington rated it liked it

This is a sad book as it tells the story of Wall Street corruption. I learned most from the stories of how the Big 8 Account firms became the Big 6, the Big 5, and embarrassingly the Big 4.

Laura
Aug 16, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
An introductory history of Wall Street and the screwups that led to corporate scandals. I found it enlightening even as I felt out of my depth on various accounting issues. A worthwhile read.
Steven Foote
May 01, 2010 Steven Foote rated it it was ok
This is a pretty well written book, but Berenson is arrogant and cynical about everything. Everyone was ignorant and did everything wrong, except Berenson, who saw it all coming.
Gia Chevis
Jul 31, 2013 Gia Chevis rated it really liked it
A little too flippant about some legitimate debates in accounting. But overall a great read, asking good questions and illuminating some tricky issues.
Haider Hussain
Jun 19, 2013 Haider Hussain rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! This investigative effort tells us how the investors' unparraleled love for quarterly EPS corrupted the largest listed companies.
Michael
Sep 29, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
What is "The Number?" You'll have to read to find out.
David
Feb 05, 2013 David rated it really liked it
If Mark Cuban recommends it, it can't be bad.
Lily
2 stars
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