Want to know more about valuations, particularly from the viewpoint of buying orselling a business? There is one (and only one) book to buy: The 1999 BusinessReference Guide (Business Brokerage Press, 978-369-5254, $78), edited by Thomas L.West. This 600-page book doesn't bog you down with unnecessary appraisal jargonand yet is full of fascinating tidbits. You'll find rules of thumb, useful listings ofbusiness brokers, mergers-and-acquisitions resources and valuable sample contractsand checklists.

For other useful tips on how to prepare for the sale or acquisition of a business, a good place to look is The Secrets to Buying and Selling a Business (Oasis Press, 800-228-2275, 1999, $24.95). The newly updated 300-page paperback by Ira N. Nottonson, a lawyer and business owner himself, offers a good mix of legal advice, financial checklists and practical business strategies (including tips on controlling your body language!).