Book Review - Bloomberg Visual Guide to Municipal Bonds

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Bloomberg Visual Guide to Municipal Bonds, by Robert Doty.  Bloomberg Press, 2012, 192 pages inclusive of appendices and index.  Softcover, $60, ISBN 9781118152553.

Bloomberg Press’s Bloomberg Visual Series thus far includes the Guide to Municipal Bonds and the Guide to Candlestick Charting.  Covering the relevant topics of finance and trading, the Bloomberg Visual Series truly lives up to its name.  Throughout the Guides are large, colored charts, color coded key points, step-by-step instructions, do it yourself features, definitions, and smart investor tips.  This easy-to-follow style is visually pleasing and draws the reader into discovering more on the topic.

Having these visual features throughout the text of the Guide to Municipal Bonds helped me as a reader better understand the topic of municipal bonds.  Had the book simply been a textbook without any added features, I, as a novice to the topic of municipal bonds, would have easily become lost and mired down with all of the new words and terms being presented to me.  I would dare to say that the topic of municipal bonds is not one that many of us learned while pursuing either our law degree or masters in library science.  Thus, a text with these added visual features is highly beneficial not only to a seasoned practitioner by also to us librarians.

The book covers twelve chapters with each ranging from as many as twenty-six pages to as few as eight pages.  Easily readable, each chapter typically begins with key points and definitions to get the reader acclimated to the topic being presented.  Throughout each chapter the reader will be guided by each type of visual feature the book offers reinforcing the words written by the author.  Additional information is given at the conclusion of most chapters whereby the reader may find other sources to reinforce what he or she had just read.

The author concludes with two appendices.  The first appendix provides additional resources for the practitioner dealing with municipal securities.  These resources include additional Bloomberg materials such as Bloomberg Municipal News and Bond Data, resources of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), resources of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and a host of others.  The second appendix provides a Bloomberg Functionality Cheat Sheet which lists several mnemonics that are used in Bloomberg terminals to access the Bloomberg Professional service and monitor real-time market data.

As the president of a private consulting company in Sacramento, California, Doty lends a wealth of knowledge to this text.  He has written numerous publications in the field and has participated in principal drafting roles for several national and regional municipal disclosure and securities law guidance publications.  His knowledge and expertise in the field combined with the visual aspects of the Bloomberg Visual Series has produced a well-organized, easy-to-follow book on the topic of municipal bonds.  It is a good item to add to any law library collection especially those that may be lacking items in this area.  

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