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Wednesday AM April 8th, 2009

The new American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms defines over 6,000 words from the world of finance, real estate, accounting, insurance and international business. Ed Mayberry reports.


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image of American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms book cover

The new business dictionary is targeted to business professionals and investors, but also people planning their retirement.  It’s also to help business law, accounting and consulting firms keep abreast of business terminology, and it’s a reference for business students, according to its author, retired finance professor David Scott. 

“What we hoped to do was put together a book for the average person, so that when you’re listening to the business news on the radio or you’re watching a television program on the business news, or you’re reading a newspaper — it’s not that people are trying to mislead you, but it’s simply that they don’t have enough time to define all the terms that they’re likely to use in a story that they’re presenting.  So what we try to do is to provide a research tool for people, where they could go if they didn’t understand a particular term and look it up and have a better understanding of the business news.”

Scott says a reference book like this requires constant updating.

“One of the terms that I certainly missed — I didn’t miss it because I hadn’t heard it at the time I turned the manuscript in — was the ‘troubled asset recorvery program,’ the TARP fund, which is not in the book.  ‘Credit default swaps,’ that term is included.  But there are new terms all the time.  But I typically read a lot, and whenever I read something that, a new term that I’m not familiar with, I’ll tear the sheet out (and) put it in a folder, and so I kinda keep a list of those, and that was very helpful.” 

Scott has written more than two dozen books on business and personal finance and investing. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.