Flying back to Boston from Los Angeles on the red-eye recently, I made the mistake of bringing along Going Public, a day-by-day -- sometimes minute-by-minute -- account of an initial public offering. I say 'mistake' because I didn't get a wink of sleep that night. Instead, I spent the flight in the company of the management team of MIPS Computer Systems and its underwriter, Morgan Stanley, as they raced to take MIPS public before the start of the new decade. For anyone hooked on the dream of a Wall Street debut, this book is one of the best primers available on the fine art of a public offering. But don't let its practical value obscure the pleasure it offers as a terrific, old-fashioned summer read. In the hands of author Michael Malone, the journey from private to public company contains all the suspense and intrigue of a Robert Ludlum thriller.

Going Public, by Michael S. Malone (Edward

Burlingame/HarperCollins, 1991)