Based on a popular class taught by a Harvard Business School professor.
If you’re not a numbers person, then finance can be intimidating and easy to ignore. But if you want to advance in your career, you’ll need to make smart financial decisions and develop the confidence to clearly communicate those decisions to others.
In How Finance Works, Mihir Desai–a professor at Harvard Business School and author of The Wisdom of Finance–guides you into the complex but endlessly fascinating world of finance, demystifying it in the process.
Through entertaining case studies, interactive exercises, full-color visuals, and a conversational style that belies the topic, Professor Desai tackles a broad range of topics that will give you the knowledge and skills you need to finally understand how finance works. These include:
How different financial levers can affect a company’s performance
The different ways in which companies fund their operations and investments
Why finance is more concerned with cash flow than profits
How value is created, measured, and maximized
The importance of capital markets in helping companies grow
Whether you’re a student or a manager, an aspiring CFO or an entrepreneur, How Finance Works is the colorful and interactive guide you need to help you start thinking more deeply about the numbers.
“If you’re intimidated by all things finance and accounting, How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers will give you the confidence you’ve been lacking.” — Small Business Trends (smallbiztrends.com)
Advance Praise for How Finance Works:
Helen Riley, Chief Financial Officer, Google X–
“Mihir’s book provides the perfect combination of intuitive explanations, contemporary examples, and rigor so that both finance pros and novices can truly enhance their capabilities.”
Marne Levine, Chief Operating Officer, Instagram–
“Informative and engaging, this book . . . is a must-read for business students and aspiring business leaders–or anyone looking to deepen their understanding of finance.”
Sarah Kauss, founder and CEO, S’well–
“Professor Mihir Desai’s advice–both practical and witty–was an inspiration when I was a student at Harvard Business School. . . I’m thrilled that he’s written this book so that even more people can benefit from his wisdom!”
Aswath Damodaran, Professor of Finance, NYU Stern School of Business; author, The Little Book of Valuation–
“Mihir Desai’s book on how finance works is masterful at laying bare the simple truths and the commonsense principles that underlie much of finance. . . readers, no matter what their background or interests, will come out more informed and enlightened by the journey.”
David Wolfson, Executive Director, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy–
“For anyone who wants to be able to utilize financial information. . . How Finance Works provides clarity and guidance to what can be, for many, an intimidating arena.”
Michael Jaff, MD, President, Newton-Wellesley Hospital–
“Finally, someone has provided a mechanism for gaining intuition about finance for those of us who deliberately avoided any financial studies in school.”
Cyrus Taraporevala, President and CEO, State Street Global Advisors–
“Professor Desai has accomplished a rare feat: transforming the typically complex and often dry subject of finance into a lively and accessible tour de force, without trivializing its importance.”
Jennifer Morgan, President, Americas and Asia Pacific Japan, SAP–
“Mihir manages to make finance fun and accessible–and, by the end of it, you’ll have the confidence, intuition, and understanding you need to succeed as a leader or executive in any organization.”
About The Author
Mihir Desai is the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. An award-winning teacher and a leading scholar of corporate finance and tax policy, Professor Desai has been educating varied student populations for nearly twenty years, including senior executives from around the world, MBA students, undergraduates, and lawyers. Professor Desai has published more than 25 case studies and a casebook, and he has testified before the US Congress on policy issues. He is the author of Wisdom of Finance (2017), which was long-listed for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.