Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV, a teacher and former financial consultant, provides an excellent introduction to finance in The Necessity of Finance: An Overview of the Science of Management of Wealth for an Individual, a Group, or an Organization.
The Necessity of Finance is not a personal finance book, although it does cover the essentials of that category, such as assets and liabilities, stocks and bonds, and net worth. As the book’s subtitle indicates, Criniti offers a wider, bird’s eye view of finance as a science, with histories of its use in everyday life, and of the field as an academic subject. He also presents a kind of taxonomy of the various areas of financial study and coins the term “financialist” to more aptly describe a financial scientist.
Although there are examples of simple calculations, Criniti strives to answer not “How?” but “Why?”— and succeeds. He demonstrates that finance is essential to almost any endeavor, even non-profit organizations and philanthropy, and he sums up its importance with a bold but true statement: “[..] to struggle financially means to struggle in every aspect of life.”
The book is immensely readable, with important definitions and distinctions highlighted in bold print, and concise chapters that make concepts clear without becoming overwhelming. The text excels in clarifying common points of confusion among financial newcomers: the different meanings of the similar-sounding “capital,” “capital gain,” and “capitalism,” for example.
Current topics such as finance’s importance in achieving environmental goals, and money’s role in personal health are also discussed, further emphasizing the relevance of the subject matter.
Casual readers might stall at the book’s more academic sections, such as the author’s thorough examination of the differences between economics and finance. But overall, The Necessity of Finance is an appealing substitute for a university-level Finance 101 class—clear and understandable, and written by a passionate, knowledgeable expert.
Also available as an ebook.