The story behind a B-school textbook fortune

How one retired professor made a fortune by co-authoring a textbook that would shape how generations of MBA students learned finance

When Eugene Brigham was asked by his boss to help co-author a revision of a finance textbook, he jumped at the chance. It was 1966 and Brigham was all of 35 and an assistant professor of finance at UCLA's business school. Soon enough, his byline would follow legendary financial whiz J. Fred Weston on the second edition of Essentials of Managerial Finance, which then sold for all of $7.95.

Some 45 years later, Brigham is still the best-selling author of the most durable finance textbook for MBAs ever written: Financial Management: Theory & Practice, the successor to Weston and Brigham's revision. It is often required reading in the core MBA curriculum at many business schools -- and it has made Brigham, now a sprightly, golf-playing retiree of 80 years, one of the wealthiest B-school teachers ever. His 10 textbooks on finance have been translated into a dozen languages and used at more than 1,000 universities. They've sold more than 5 million copies.

This past year, Brigham's last two editions of Financial Management are the first and third best selling textbooks for MBAs, according to Bowker, which tracks book sales. In some years, Financial Management can garner as high as a 40% share of the estimated 100,000 students who annually use an introductory textbook on finance.

For Brigham, the books have been a constant part of his life for more than 40 years. Sometimes, he concedes, the endless revisions have been an albatross. But his income from textbook writing has far exceeded all the paychecks he ever received as a teacher at Berkeley, UCLA, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida. Last year alone, the new and used editions of the textbook racked up revenues of some $5 million.
Financial Management has certainly stood the test of time, surviving Wall Street collapses, corporate corruption, financial calamities, and an assortment of newfangled concepts and theories, some of which helped to cause a near total implosion of the world's financial system.

The 13th, and latest, edition of the book weighs in at 4.6 pounds and 1,184 pages. It lists at a price that would easily provoke condemnations of price gouging: $242.95, though a Kindle version sells for $145.56.

MBA students who have thumbed through its pages have variously described Financial Management as everything from "not just the best financial textbook, but the best textbook I have ever read" to "the most boring book ever."...

Read full story:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *