Author Interview: Martin Fridson

Martin Fridson is the author of Financial Statement Analysis: A Practitioners Guide, which he co-wrote with Fernando Alvarez. The title is published by John Wiley & Sons and is in its fourth edition. The book also comes with a companion workbook title.

We at Financial Expert have rated Financial Statement Analysis our 2nd best financial statement analysis book in our dedicated ranking of similar titles.

We loved how Martin conveyed the intricacies of reading financial statements without creating an overly technical textbook.

After the 2021 book ranking was announced publicly, we reached out to Martin to ask for an interview. Luckily for us, he was kind enough to accept our interview request and we’re able to share the full questions & answers below!

Martin’s works fall under the following book genres:

Interview with Martin Fridson

Martin Fridson, CFA | CFA Institute Enterprising Investor

Please could you tell us a little about your professional background and why you felt inspired to write the book?

Martin: I began my career as a bond trader and then moved into credit analysis, where I was able to apply the rudimentary accounting knowledge I had acquired in an undergraduate course and later in my MBA studies.  Applying what I had learned to appraising companies’ financial condition motivated me to learn more about the subject, which I did in the course of obtaining the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. 

In my work as an analyst, I developed a passion for exposing ways in which companies created misleading or even false pictures of their profits and their financial strength.  So when an opportunity came about to contribute the financial statement analysis chapter to a multi-author investment book, I leapt at the chance.  The editor was pleased enough with the results to ask me to expand that overview into a book.

In the course of researching and writing your book – did you come across anything that surprised you?

Martin: I was surprised by the frequency with which some companies were able to get losses or hard-to-repeat gains classified as extraordinary events.  There was supposed to be a very high bar for obtaining that accounting treatment, but my co-author Fernando Alvarez identified thirty major companies that had reported at least three extraordinary gains or losses within an eight-year span.

For budding financial writers, what is the one piece of advice would you give to those writing to educate beginners about finance?

Martin: A well-told story can drive home a point much more effectively than erudite exposition.

What else do you have going on that you’d like our readers to know about?

Martin: I’m a partner in a money management business, Lehmann Livian Fridson Advisors LLC, which focuses on investing individuals’ wealth to generate high income, consistent with principal preservation growth.  In addition, I publish the Forbes/Fridson Income Securities Investor newsletter, which has a similar focus.

And finally, I like to ask all authors; when saving and investing your own money, what is your preferred investing style?

Martin: A few common-sense rules have served my family well over many years: Focus on long-term results rather short-run ups and downs in the market.  Avoid excessive concentration in any single security.  Pay close attention to the tax consequences of investment decisions. 

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