Mastering Collections: Business to Business (K&F Seminars, 800-633-6069) won't be anyone's idea of a fun read. But this 130-page paperback written by Donald Kramer, a collections lawyer at Kramer & Frank, in St. Louis, is valuable all the same for its exhaustive advice on everything from setting up effective record-keeping and tickler systems, to carrying out a five-step collection "action plan."

Kramer's suggestions are useful for companies of all sizes, particularly small and growing businesses that don't have full-scale accounts-receivable departments.

In one especially useful section, Kramer advises companies to negotiate for personal guarantees from customers that will cover past as well as future obligations and will include protection in case the guarantor dies. (Samples of personal guarantees, collection letters, and other documents are included.) Kramer also helps readers evaluate the costs and benefits of credit insurance.

Motivated readers can test their newfound skills with the pop quizzes that follow each chapter. But even without the quizzes, the book is well worth its $39 price tag.

-- Jill Andresky Fraser

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