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Narrative and Numbers summary

Aswath Damodaran

The Value of Stories in Business

3.7 (27 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Narrative and Numbers by Aswath Damodaran explores the intricate relationship between stories and numbers in investing. It offers practical insights into how to effectively use both narratives and financial metrics to make informed investment decisions.

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    Narrative and Numbers
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    When story and data collide

    In the business world, two distinct players vie for dominance: the storytellers and the number crunchers. While financial figures often take the spotlight, the fact is that true company evaluation involves a mix of numbers and storytelling.

    Let's look at the Storytellers first. They're the ones who give meaning to the numbers, framing them with context. Consider Ferrari as an example: no one views the ‘prancing horse’ as an aggregate of earnings. They view the brand as a story about luxury, speed, and craftsmanship. But watch out: this doesn’t mean that a successful company is all story. A story without numbers can drift into fiction, just as numbers devoid of a narrative can be misleading. We need storytellers and number crunchers.

    As a business evolves, so does the interplay between its narrative and numbers. Early on, a compelling vision can attract investment and talent, but as a company matures, its financial realities take center stage. 

    So, when evaluating a business, we need to consider both the Storytellers and Number Crunchers. Narratives provide context, whereas data provides precision. Together they weave a tapestry of the company's present state and its possible future state that neither can convey on their own. 

    Let’s go a little deeper.

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    What is Narrative and Numbers about?

    Narrative and Numbers (2017) explores the role of storytelling and quantitative analysis in determining corporate valuations. It reveals how narratives may greatly influence financial models and projections, using real-world examples ranging from Uber to Vale, and including Twitter and Facebook's diverging paths.

    Narrative and Numbers Review

    Narrative and Numbers (2017) is a book that explores the intersection of storytelling and quantitative analysis in the world of finance. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a unique perspective on financial analysis, emphasizing the importance of combining narrative and numbers for a comprehensive understanding of investments.
    • With its practical examples and case studies, the book equips readers with the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions in the ever-changing financial landscape.
    • Written by an expert in the field, Aswath Damodaran, the book provides a wealth of insights that are accessible and engaging, ensuring it does not become another dull finance textbook.

    Who should read Narrative and Numbers?

    • Savvy market strategists
    • Story-driven executives
    • Pragmatic finance scholars

    About the Author

    Aswath Damodaran is a professor at NYU Stern School of Business. Known for his engaging teaching style, Damodaran has received multiple awards for teaching excellence, including the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. His prolific output includes respected financial papers and books such as The Little Book of Valuation.

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    Narrative and Numbers FAQs 

    What is the main message of Narrative and Numbers?

    The main message of Narrative and Numbers is the importance of combining storytelling with financial analysis for successful investing.

    How long does it take to read Narrative and Numbers?

    The reading time for Narrative and Numbers varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Narrative and Numbers a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Narrative and Numbers is worth reading as it teaches the value of integrating narratives and numbers in investment decision-making, offering practical insights for investors.

    Who is the author of Narrative and Numbers?

    The author of Narrative and Numbers is Aswath Damodaran.

    What to read after Narrative and Numbers?

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