Summary of Narrative and Numbers

The Value of Stories in Business

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Narrative and Numbers book summary
To make sense of business and investing, learn to combine statistics with stories.


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Numbers are nothing without a story, and a story needs numbers to back it up. So says New York University finance professor Aswath Damodaran in this illuminating guide to valuing companies. He offers step-by-step instructions on figuring out how much you should pay for shares in Amazon, Uber or any other enterprise. Damodaran provides an intriguing, insightful look into combining number crunching with storytelling. While never giving investment advice, getAbstract recommends his manual to investors and managers seeking to master the use of storytelling in investing.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to use the power of storytelling and numbers,
  • Why valuation models are valuable but imperfect, and
  • Why you should listen to those who disagree with your story.


“Two Tribes”

From a young age, people divide into two distinct groups: One tribe focuses on numbers, the other on storytelling. Children who are adept with figures tend to study engineering, math or accounting. Pupils who struggle with math but thrive on words belong to the tribe of storytellers. They study history, literature or philosophy. As both groups enter the workforce, they belong to separate clans who can scarcely communicate with one another, let alone build mutual trust.

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About the Author

Aswath Damodaran is a professor of finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His books include Applied Corporate Finance and The Little Book of Valuation.

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