Bottom Line Basics: Understand and Control Business Finances (Oasis Press, 800-228-2275, 1995, $19.95), by Robert J. Low.

Low, who has been chief financial officer at several growing companies, makes no attempt to transform his business-owning readers into financial whizzes. Instead, his 280-page paperback aims to teach nonaccountants why financial "controllership" -- by which Low means management through understanding and application of the right numbers -- helps companies grow.

You'll appreciate this financial-management guidebook, which weaves quotes from Winston Churchill and others into its discussion of balance-sheet pitfalls. Probably the most useful section is Low's 10-step plan to take control of a company's financial destiny. He recommends developing projections -- including profit-and-loss and cash-flow statements -- for at least a one-year period; accelerating the monthly closing cycle if you haven't been producing financial statements by the 10th day of each month; and looking for ways to squeeze more cash out of your balance sheet. Need I say more? This book is worth its price.