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Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company

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The most successful business leaders are savvy businesspeople first and experts in their field second An MBA in under 180 pages, Seeing the Big Picture simplifies the complexities of businesses large and small and shows you how a deep understanding of your company can help build the credibility and career you want. And it can make your work more fulfilling and purpose-driv The most successful business leaders are savvy businesspeople first and experts in their field second An MBA in under 180 pages, Seeing the Big Picture simplifies the complexities of businesses large and small and shows you how a deep understanding of your company can help build the credibility and career you want. And it can make your work more fulfilling and purpose-driven by highlighting how you influence the success of your team, department, or organization. All companies are driven to success or failure by the same five simple drivers: cash, profit, assets, growth, and people. Kevin Cope will help you appreciate how your day-to-day decisions can balance these drivers and contribute to the big picture of your organization’s success. You’ll discover the acumen you need to bring real value and passion to your work. Whether you’re on the manufacturing floor or sitting in the corner office, you can learn how to follow the drivers through to measurable results—conquering your fear of numbers. Using Kevin’s simple explanations of the most important metrics presented in the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows, you’ll be able to quickly review financial reports for signs of success or impending doom. Convincingly communicate your ideas to leaders, improve your team’s performance, even launch a successful business of your own. No matter your goal, give yourself the foundational knowledge every businessperson needs, and discover new strategies for proving your value.


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The most successful business leaders are savvy businesspeople first and experts in their field second An MBA in under 180 pages, Seeing the Big Picture simplifies the complexities of businesses large and small and shows you how a deep understanding of your company can help build the credibility and career you want. And it can make your work more fulfilling and purpose-driv The most successful business leaders are savvy businesspeople first and experts in their field second An MBA in under 180 pages, Seeing the Big Picture simplifies the complexities of businesses large and small and shows you how a deep understanding of your company can help build the credibility and career you want. And it can make your work more fulfilling and purpose-driven by highlighting how you influence the success of your team, department, or organization. All companies are driven to success or failure by the same five simple drivers: cash, profit, assets, growth, and people. Kevin Cope will help you appreciate how your day-to-day decisions can balance these drivers and contribute to the big picture of your organization’s success. You’ll discover the acumen you need to bring real value and passion to your work. Whether you’re on the manufacturing floor or sitting in the corner office, you can learn how to follow the drivers through to measurable results—conquering your fear of numbers. Using Kevin’s simple explanations of the most important metrics presented in the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows, you’ll be able to quickly review financial reports for signs of success or impending doom. Convincingly communicate your ideas to leaders, improve your team’s performance, even launch a successful business of your own. No matter your goal, give yourself the foundational knowledge every businessperson needs, and discover new strategies for proving your value.

30 review for Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    Through my work I was able to attend a one day training class on “business acuity” led by Kevin Cope’s company, and was provided a copy of his book “Seeing the Big Picture”. The book covers the same ground as the class (and it was a class I was engaged in because it was taught well), so it was a bit of a recent review for me. And as someone who had gotten their MBA a few decades back, I found this to be a highly simplified look at a company’s financial statements. I’d say that this book summariz Through my work I was able to attend a one day training class on “business acuity” led by Kevin Cope’s company, and was provided a copy of his book “Seeing the Big Picture”. The book covers the same ground as the class (and it was a class I was engaged in because it was taught well), so it was a bit of a recent review for me. And as someone who had gotten their MBA a few decades back, I found this to be a highly simplified look at a company’s financial statements. I’d say that this book summarizes and simplifies (and sometimes oversimplifies) major parts of a first level accounting class. Cope does a good job with what can be dry material by including a number of real world examples. One example threw me, though – while almost all examples were of large companies you have heard of, one was of a farmer that grew too fast. This one example made me wonder if the author just pulled these out of some internet searches instead of having a personal connection to the company being discussed, since the information sounded like a repurposed and summarized magazine article, and I couldn’t figure out why he picked that example when there were thousands of examples of companies you’ve heard of. The author also tells the story of a fictional, growing bicycle retailer throughout the book, using annual financial reports for the company to illustrate the parts of the report that he is writing about. This worked well. Overall, I was not the market for this book, but I thought it was well done and could be useful as an introduction for a non-finance major who needs to understand financial statements and how the money side of their own company works. In general.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    If you've attended the "Building Business Acumen" class that Acumen Learning puts on, you'll notice that this book mirrors the course very closely. We put over 125 sales people through the class this year, and many said that the book was a great primer or refresher (depending if they read it before or after the class) and that they planned to refer to it over their careers. For those who haven't taken the class, this book is a good introduction to finance. (They call the class "an MBA in a day" a If you've attended the "Building Business Acumen" class that Acumen Learning puts on, you'll notice that this book mirrors the course very closely. We put over 125 sales people through the class this year, and many said that the book was a great primer or refresher (depending if they read it before or after the class) and that they planned to refer to it over their careers. For those who haven't taken the class, this book is a good introduction to finance. (They call the class "an MBA in a day" and this book is the class in 150 pages.) If you're already very familiar with financial statements and finance terminology, this book may not be beneficial to you. But hey, everyone can use a refresher from time to time, right?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Read this book for my Strategy and Analytics doctoral program course. It’s an excellent primer for any beginner on business acumen and organizational financials. I found it to be easy to read, practical, and will be a book I keep within reaching distance! There is a running case study throughout the book - about Austin’s Bike Shop - that really helps apply the concepts of the book as it progresses. Finally, there are additional resources and downloadable materials on the author’s website if you Read this book for my Strategy and Analytics doctoral program course. It’s an excellent primer for any beginner on business acumen and organizational financials. I found it to be easy to read, practical, and will be a book I keep within reaching distance! There is a running case study throughout the book - about Austin’s Bike Shop - that really helps apply the concepts of the book as it progresses. Finally, there are additional resources and downloadable materials on the author’s website if you like a takeaway (which I do!).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This book is worthless to a CPA MBA working in a Fortune 50 company. I knew that a few pages in. But I decided to continue to read from the perspective of - what are professionals teaching or offering to the average person in regards to business acumen. So, although I learned absolutely nothing, I do appreciate Kevin's level of detail and his insights as they are presented to the business ignorant. I would recommend this book to someone entrepreneurial who knows nothing whatsoever about business This book is worthless to a CPA MBA working in a Fortune 50 company. I knew that a few pages in. But I decided to continue to read from the perspective of - what are professionals teaching or offering to the average person in regards to business acumen. So, although I learned absolutely nothing, I do appreciate Kevin's level of detail and his insights as they are presented to the business ignorant. I would recommend this book to someone entrepreneurial who knows nothing whatsoever about business, or someone looking to become an informed investor, or someone who just wants to have conversations with the business golf buddies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Martin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I gave this book three stars because while I think the information presented was decent, I feel that it was a little misleading in the description of the book. And I’m not sure I agree 100% with the overall message. The book spends most of the time talking about the basics of financial statements and focuses a lot on that being “the way” to really understand the business and “get ahead” in your job. Having a background in finances, I found myself skimming and not really reading the second half o I gave this book three stars because while I think the information presented was decent, I feel that it was a little misleading in the description of the book. And I’m not sure I agree 100% with the overall message. The book spends most of the time talking about the basics of financial statements and focuses a lot on that being “the way” to really understand the business and “get ahead” in your job. Having a background in finances, I found myself skimming and not really reading the second half of the book. It was all stuff I knew and wasn’t learning anything. I probably wouldn’t have read it had I know. Exactly what the main focus of the book was. Also, from my perspective, there is a lot more to “seeing the big picture” than just financial to understand how the company runs and how to get ahead in your job. But, the information presented is good to know and can be helpful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Phanindra

    My company used to partner with Kevin Cope's Acumen Learning and I remember his insightful analysis of our quarterly and annual performance results. Later he offered a Business Acumen video course based on this book. So I got this book many years back but never read it or saw his videos. Recently, I took some time to read this book and I am glad that I did it. It gives a simplified picture of the financial fundamentals of a company and teaches us the basics of reading financial statements - P&L My company used to partner with Kevin Cope's Acumen Learning and I remember his insightful analysis of our quarterly and annual performance results. Later he offered a Business Acumen video course based on this book. So I got this book many years back but never read it or saw his videos. Recently, I took some time to read this book and I am glad that I did it. It gives a simplified picture of the financial fundamentals of a company and teaches us the basics of reading financial statements - P&L statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. As Stephen Covey says in the preface, Kevin has a gift of simplifying complex ideas and teaches dry financial jargon in an interesting way. For a financial ignorant person like me, this book is a great starting point. I highly recommend it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    4.5 stars, rounding up. My company picked this for our quarterly book club, and to me it's the best book they've picked yet! Kevin Cope breaks down the "5 key drivers" important to making businesses succeed. It's simplified enough to be accessible, but meaty enough to wrestle with the concepts. I learned a ton from this book and was really engaged throughout because of Cope's excellent examples. It takes skill to make financial statements interesting - Cope does it. Overall just extremely well d 4.5 stars, rounding up. My company picked this for our quarterly book club, and to me it's the best book they've picked yet! Kevin Cope breaks down the "5 key drivers" important to making businesses succeed. It's simplified enough to be accessible, but meaty enough to wrestle with the concepts. I learned a ton from this book and was really engaged throughout because of Cope's excellent examples. It takes skill to make financial statements interesting - Cope does it. Overall just extremely well done.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad Karuniyado

    The Good This is a wonderful book for people who are new to financial statements and business in general. The ideas are clearly written well-thought-out and digestible--even for a professional, this book is great as a some-sort of refreshment. This is really a good "Understand the basics of business" book and for those who want to improve their business acumen! The Bad It's just that the book only elaborates on a small number of external factors a company face. The Good This is a wonderful book for people who are new to financial statements and business in general. The ideas are clearly written well-thought-out and digestible--even for a professional, this book is great as a some-sort of refreshment. This is really a good "Understand the basics of business" book and for those who want to improve their business acumen! The Bad It's just that the book only elaborates on a small number of external factors a company face.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Purva Saxena

    Absolutely refreshing book, with crisp and interesting information for the Entrepreneurs, CEOs, middle or higher management. The parameters such as Cash, People, Profit, Assets etc. are the first instinct that we have when we think of making a business successful but what I like about this book is that instead of using big words to define the success factor, this book brings our attention back to basics! Love it, recommend it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    kkp6264

    Elegant, concise overview of how to run a successful business This book explains concepts that can be confusing for some, in a clear and concise manner. If you are a leader trying to help your employees to understand these concepts, it’s a great tool. If you are an employee seeking to be more valuable in your position, it’s a great tool. A valuable reference book for all who are working in or running a business.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    It’s rare that I think so highly of a business book, but I found this to be the perfect balance of clear and concise writing with layers of more in-depth analysis. I can see myself picking this up for specific chapters when I am focusing on one of the 5 key drivers of business or a company’s financial report(s).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Antonio

    Business simplified I've read a few "finance for non finance" books, and this one beats them all! Rather than teaching non-finance folks statements like the P&L or the Balance sheet, it focuses on helping people understand the different key elements of business and how they're tied to one another and how they influence (and get influenced by) daily decisions. A must read Business simplified I've read a few "finance for non finance" books, and this one beats them all! Rather than teaching non-finance folks statements like the P&L or the Balance sheet, it focuses on helping people understand the different key elements of business and how they're tied to one another and how they influence (and get influenced by) daily decisions. A must read

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brodie

    I really didn't know anything before starting this book, so I learned a lot. As far as the writing, it was pretty dry. Not a lot of inspiring or thoughtful quotes, all pretty surface level slag. It was short though and easy to finish. I really didn't know anything before starting this book, so I learned a lot. As far as the writing, it was pretty dry. Not a lot of inspiring or thoughtful quotes, all pretty surface level slag. It was short though and easy to finish.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A summary of my three years in business school. The only reason I don’t give 5 stars is because I didn’t learn anything new. However it was refreshing. Highly recommend this for people wanting to do an MBA

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zach Page

    Great foundation reading.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nick Rauer

    3 stars if you’re a CPA, a lot will seem remedial. 4 stars if you are not an accountant.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elijah Ampo

    Broke down fundamentals of business very well

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Posklensky

    Only read this because I received a copy at work - not impressed. Maybe if you have never seen these concepts it is noteworthy, otherwise pretty basic and nothing new of note from the author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Overall a great introduction to business financials, especially for someone not in finance. It has given me a baseline of terms and concepts for me to understand the basics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Some great business insights

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Miller

    I wish I had read this book before getting an MBA. The summary of financial statement analysis is good for those who are interested. I also think Mr. Cope gives good recommendations on things to do to improve career advancement opportunities for those of us battling it out in corporate America. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking at becoming an entrepreneur, business manager, or an MBA student. As an engineer, I found some of the basic business classes a challenge when I started I wish I had read this book before getting an MBA. The summary of financial statement analysis is good for those who are interested. I also think Mr. Cope gives good recommendations on things to do to improve career advancement opportunities for those of us battling it out in corporate America. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking at becoming an entrepreneur, business manager, or an MBA student. As an engineer, I found some of the basic business classes a challenge when I started my MBA. Many students were already familiar with the terms and financial statements in many of the classes. I was not, and this book would have helped.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I am an IT professional looking to understand the business from a big perspective and I have to say this book delivers its goal and intention. I like the fact that it could explains in a simplicity way with an example for one to follow the journey. In addition, it explains why a number being positive or negative is good or bad from business aspect. This is by far the best one that could explain the big picture. The beauty of it is, one could easy finish the book in a few days if you are a fast r I am an IT professional looking to understand the business from a big perspective and I have to say this book delivers its goal and intention. I like the fact that it could explains in a simplicity way with an example for one to follow the journey. In addition, it explains why a number being positive or negative is good or bad from business aspect. This is by far the best one that could explain the big picture. The beauty of it is, one could easy finish the book in a few days if you are a fast ready because it's quite easy to read! Not recommended if you are already quite savvy in Finance although the People and Growth components interests you.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bob Collins

    A fairly quick read, but packed with essential information for building your business acumen. Cope focuses on the five main business drivers: cash, profit, assets, growth, and people. He explains the importance of each and how companies balance them. He gives a useful explanation of the basic financial statements (Income, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow) and how they relate the business drivers. Easy to read and understand with many examples taken from business and events we all know and can relate A fairly quick read, but packed with essential information for building your business acumen. Cope focuses on the five main business drivers: cash, profit, assets, growth, and people. He explains the importance of each and how companies balance them. He gives a useful explanation of the basic financial statements (Income, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow) and how they relate the business drivers. Easy to read and understand with many examples taken from business and events we all know and can relate to. Recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This is a great book for anyone working in a company or who owns their own company and they want to know more about what drives business. This book explains basics of business, like the difference between cash and profit, in a simple framework. I found the topics heady so it was not a quick read bit the knowledge in it is very useful. I bought one for everyone on our leadership team at work and we are reading it together.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Palmer

    Breaks down the main drivers of a business and provides some basic insight on interpreting financial statements. Great read, but definitely a book that needs to be read a couple of times through to fully absorb the concepts.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A great common sense, easy to read book that makes sense and offers some great advice and terms

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    A good primer on basic financial vocabulary and how it relates to the financial aspects of business.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juliet

    Picked this up at the library on Saturday & it is the first book listed in the references in the book from a training I'm attending today & tomorrow. Picked this up at the library on Saturday & it is the first book listed in the references in the book from a training I'm attending today & tomorrow.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Dodds

    Great introduction to Business fundamentals. Read it to understand performance of an organization and to increase your business acumen.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    tough read but inspirational

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