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The Best Finance, Accounting, and Economics Books of 2012 for Holiday Gifts

Holiday Business Book Gift Ideas for Someone Special on your List

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Here is a list of some of the best finance, accounting, and economics books of 2012. Given that everyone is interested in the financial markets, small business finance, and the economy, you can find any number of people on your holiday gift list who would enjoy one or more of these great books. I never recommend anything I haven't read myself and all of these are a great read if you enjoy learning about the economy and finance.

This list is different this year. It is a mix of books on how to recover from the Great Recession, small business finance, the super rich, Wall Street vs Main Street, accounting issues, and more. Take a look!

1. Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else

book - small business finance - Plutocrats
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Forget about the 99% and the 1%. The biggest income disparity in the U.S. is within the top 0.1% of the population. Put quite simply, the entire wealth of the world is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Only read this book if you want the absolute truth about this issue! A respected business journalist wrote the book and it is well-researched. She found that a few politicians in China have more money than all branches of the American government combined.

The author also looks at all the billionaires in the world, showing how they control so much of their countries. She also looks at the gender divide in the world and the vast, female-managed middle class. Freeland, indeed, shows how money makes the world, and all the nations in it, go round.

I give this book 5 starts out of 5.

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2. Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story

book - small business finance - why I left Goldmann Sachs
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If you are a business owner interested in the crash of Wall Street during 2008, you have to read this book. We have all speculated about the role of the large investment banks in the 2008 crash. Here is a first hand account of the role of Goldmann Sachs in the crash. Greg Smith goes from talking about Goldman Sachs paying off the government to settle SEC charges to writing about the excesses of Wall Street, their disdain for their clients, and their profit at all cost mentality.

Greg finally decided that the only way to effect any change was to quit his job and speak out publicly.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

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3. The E-Myth Revisted

Book - E-Myth Revisited
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The E-Myth Revisited is a different, but fascinating, read. It is well-known that many small businesses fail and most fail because of financial reasons. Owners concentrate on their product or service rather than the business as a whole, often to the detriment of the business. This book suggests that the business owner should look at the business itself as their product or prototype if the business owner wants to ultimately be successful.

The premise of this book takes on a problem that most small businesses have. All potential entrepreneurs should at least read it. There are large, successful businesses that have followed the advice given in this book.

I give this book 3.5 starts out of 5.

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4. Reckless Endangerment

book - Reckless Endangerment
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Reckless Endangerment is an eye-opening book on the 2008 financial crisis that brought down our economy in 2008. Most of us do not realize how government corruption really affects our lives. This book opens our eyes to how government corruption that affects Wall Street also affects the businesses on Main Street and individuals as well.

Unlike most books about the 2008 financial crisis, this book is written based on original research. The authors expose how the watchdogs who are supposed to protect the public from financial harm were actually involved in causing financial harm in 2008 and before. They found that greed actually caused players on Wall Street, in Congress, in the Federal Reserve and Fannie Mae, at Goldman Sachs, and at other major financial institutions almost brought down the U.S. economy and, indeed, set it back for years.

I give Reckless Endangerment 4 stars out of 5. The original research really supports the premise of the book.

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5. How to Pay Zero Taxes 2013: Your Guide to IRS Tax Breaks

How to Pay Zero Taxes 2013
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A great book for small businesses! This is an almost 900 page guide to using every possible tax deduction for individuals and small businesses and making them work for you. It is written by a lawyer and accountant who has written this guide year after year. It teaches you how to convert personal expenses into business deductions. Very simple to use. Give it a try. I give this book a definite 5 out of 5 stars for the small business person who is trying to get their taxes ready for their accountant!

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6. Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Fraud in Reports

Financial Shenanigans, small business finance, accounting fraud
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If only the advice given in this book were foolproof! This is the third edition of "Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks and Fraud in Financial Reports." Most reviewers, including myself, give it 5 out of 5 starts. It ought to be required reading for all financial professionals and small business owners. It is easy to read, easy to follow, and along with the subject matter, teaches you the basics of accounting principles. Quite simply, it teaches you what to look for to be sure your financial statements are not being manipulated by your accountant or your accounting staff. It does this very well indeed.

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7. Who Stole the American Dream?

who stole the american dream, small business finance, book
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All I can say is that this is a truly awesome book! The author, Hedrick Smith, is a Pulitzer Prize winner, who tells you how, over the last 3 decades, the American Dream has been systematically dismantled. After reading this book, you will know more about it than you want to know! Smith even discusses the beginnings of the 401(k) plan and how it has been disastrous for so many Americans. Smith looks at how federal changes in economic policy favoring the wealth have destroyed the middle class and how it is stunting economic growth, though politicians won't admit it. A must read for any small businessperson.

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8. How to Measure Anything: Find the Value of Intangibles in Business

book - how to measure anything - small business finance
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From an accounting perspective, finding the value of intangibles (like goodwill) is one of the hardest tasks, though intangibles are very valuable. This book contends, correctly, that anything can be measured including ROI, technology, and other business variables that we often think cannot be measured. You will turn to this book repeatedly to help you measure variables that you think cannot be measured. 5 out of 5 starts!

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9. Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance

Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance
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A fascinating history of finance and accounting seen through the eyes of how double-entry bookkeeping was developed in the ancient past. This is a very interesting book that brings a dry subject alive! The key question is whether or not double-entry accounting is still what we should be using? Reading the book will help you answer that question and think about what the future holds. 4 out of 5 starts!

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10. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

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This is an interesting read for business people that required an extraordinary amount of work on the part of the author. This author went through data for all 1,400 companies that have made the Fortune 500 and found only 11 that met their criteria that defined the transition from "good to great." Every business owner would benefit from reading this book! 4 out of 5 stars!

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