Category: Financial Management


An entertaining explanation of key numbers used by economists and governments

The unemployment figures do not actually tell us about the state of unemployment in a country, GDP figures do not actually give us an accurate measurement of the health of a country’s economy, and the trade deficit between the United States and China may actually be a trade surplus, according to Zachary Karabell in his book The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World.

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How to get a better bargain

What you really want when negotiating for services is for the good top-notch guy to give you his best price first, without any overcharging, according to Lynnette Hartwig in her book Negotiating When Money Matters: Getting Good Deals. The book provides an extensive array of tips and techniques for obtaining quotes, negotiating arrangements, supervising works, and getting follow-up and warranty service in order to obtain the most favourable outcomes.

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The fastest way to improve profitability

The quickest and most effective way to improve the profitability of your business is to raise your prices, according to Peter Hill in his book Pricing for Profit: How to Develop a Powerful Pricing Strategy for Your Business. You should also be aiming to increase the number of customers, the frequency of transactions, the average value of each transaction, and the efficiency of the business, but price rises have the fastest and most direct effect on your profits.

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Outstanding explanation of what is wrong with corporations and how to fix them

The corporation is a rent extraction vehicle for the shortest-term shareholders; by threatening interventions such as takeovers and hedge fund activism, they can hold all other stakeholders, including longer-term shareholders, to ransom, according to Colin Mayer in his book Firm Commitment: Why the Corporation is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust in It. The book describes why our erroneous ideas concerning corporations caused the global financial crisis, and why government interventions are making the problems worse and not better.

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An entertaining introduction to statistics

Statistics can be really interesting, and most of it isn’t that difficult, according to Charles Wheelan in his book Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data. Statistics can be used to explain everything from DNA testing to the idiocy of playing the lottery; statistics can help us identify the factors associated with diseases like cancer and heart disease; it can even help us spot cheating on standardised tests.

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How non-conformists influence capitalism

Piracy could very well be one of the drivers of capitalism’s growth and evolution, according to Rodolphe Durand and Jean-Philippe Vergne in their book The Pirate Organization: Lessons from the Fringes of Capitalism. Pirates have appeared at major turning points in the history of capitalism: when capitalism began to spread along the trading routes towards the West Indies, when radio opened an era of mass communication, when the Internet became part of the global economy, and when the biotech revolution began.

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