Cookin' the Books

Book Review: Cookin’ the Book$ by Don Silver

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

One of the areas of business on which I spend a great deal of time is that of Ethics. It is my belief that ethics is a process and that businesses do well when they treat that process the same as any other business process; that is, they consciously build into the policies, procedures and culture, the process whereby their organization will choose between competing moral and/or economic values. Part of that process is ensuring that all employees understand not only the reasons behind the process and the moral values held by the company, but also the details of the process.

This is where Mr. Silver’s book comes in. Cleverly written and executed, this easy to read book provides a clear understanding of the reasons for having a clear set of financial reports and how to read those reports. The metaphor is that of a Corporate Chef and his cooking exploits. The lessons are how to read a financial statement with an eye to understanding if the Chef is hiding harmful ingredients or omitting important ones. Silver makes what is for most folks a dry and eye-glazing topic interesting, understandable, and most importantly, useful. Every employee of a publicly held company (perhaps especially the accounting team) should read this book and be willing to question the finance and operations team about their own company’s reporting procedures. Every person who is not well trained in corporate finance and who owns corporate stocks should also read this book. It will make each of us more aware of how the dinner might be prepared and give us a chance to fathom how our companies are actually cooking the meals (or books, to continue the metaphor).

In short, this clever, clearly written book provides insight to the lay person on how, if we had all been watching, we might have avoided the recent lapses in financial reporting which have brought down large public corporations. And perhaps we might even have avoided some of our own disappointing investments. Get it, if for no other reason than to provide it to your employees, family, and friends. This book will pull your financial bacon out of the fire!

Click to see it at Amazon.