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Book Reviews:

Numbers Guide: The Essentials of Business Numeracy

by Richard Stutely
(Economist Books / Bloomberg Press)

Numbers Guide
Canada Residents:
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If you deal in figures as well as words, then you cannot afford to be without this book. The Numbers Guide, now in its fifth edition, is aimed at managers who have budgetary, planning or forecasting responsibilities and is invaluable for everyone who wants to be competent, and able to communicate effectively, with numbers. It is also designed to be a companion to The Economist Style Guide.

There are chapters on Key Concepts, Finance and Investment, Measures for Interpretation and Analysis, Forecasting Techniques, Sampling and Hypothesis Testing, Incorporating Judgments Into Decisions, Decision-Making, Linear Programming and Networking.

In addition to general advise on basic numeracy, the guide points out common errors and explains the recognised techniques for solving financial problems, analysing information of any kind and effective decision making. The guide also points out common pitfalls, such as:

  • On rounding: Two times two makes four? Right? Wrong. The answer could be anywhere between two and six when dealing with rounded numbers.
  • On percentages: If the inflation rate rises from 10% to 12% it has risen by two percentage points, but the actual percentage increase is 20%.
This great little book is for anyone who wants to be competent, and to be able to communicate effectively, with numbers. Over 100 charts, graphs, tables and feature boxes highlight key points. The A - Z section provides a clear explanation of most numerical terms.

-Lucas Everidge

Edition: Hardcover, 256 pages (April, 2003)

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