Our story thus far ...In math, two plus two is always four. In accounting, according to both an old joke and many recent indictments, two plus two is whatever a company wants it to be. How this came to be is the subject of More Than a Numbers Game: A Brief History of Accounting, a fascinating chronicle of the occasionally tortured evolution of modern-day U.S. accounting.

Author Thomas King investigates the origins of a number of current practices and standards to show how politics, economics, business demands and more have turned accounting from a tool for presenting clear and accurate information into a tool for presenting whatever managers want. And while one can't expect financial information to be as entertaining as this exploration of accounting's sometimes-shady past, one can at least ask that it be as brief, informative and useful.

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