- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Harper Business; Reprint edition (May 9 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780060536350
- ISBN-13: 978-0060536350
- ASIN: 0060536357
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,218,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Barbarians At The Gate: The Fall Of Rjr Nabisco Paperback – Jun 1 2003
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“It’s hard to imagine a better story...and it’s hard to imagine a better account” (Chicago Tribune)
“A superlative book...steadily builds suspense until the very end.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
“The fascinating inside story of the largest corporate takeover in American history… It reads like a novel.” (Today Show)
“The most piercing and compelling narrative of a deal to date.” (Boston Globe)
“Impressive qualities... delicious scenes... a cinematic yet extraordinarily careful book.” (Ken Auletta, New York Daily News)
From the Back Cover
Barbarians at the Gate has been called one of the most influential business books of all time -- the definitive account of the largest takeover in Wall Street history. Bryan Burrough and John Helyar's gripping account of the frenzy that overtook Wall Street in October and November of 1988 is the story of deal makers and publicity flaks, of strategy meetings and society dinners, of boardrooms and bedrooms -- giving us not only a detailed look at how financial operations at the highest levels are conducted but also a richly textured social history of wealth at the twilight of the Reagan era.
Barbarians at the Gate -- a business narrative classic -- is must reading for everyone interested in the way today's world really works.See all Product description
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Johnson could be a fictional invention. His rise in corporate power was built on political manoeuvring, extensive expense accounts, fleets of corporate jets (RJR Nabsico had 36 pilots and 10 planes), hobnobbing, and other excesses that make for entertaining (and these days incomprehensible) reading. His desire to eschew corporate tradition and civility is at odds with a traditional, depression upbringing. But Ross was his own man and showed early signs of being an entrepreneur and dealmaker. He was also big on the social scene being president of his fraternity, varsity basketball player, and a Cadet in Canadian military officer training at the University of Manitoba. The book is replete with examples of Ross' love of partying and the good life. At one time he was a member of over twenty country clubs and always seemed able to hit the links no matter what was going on.
The book reintroduces us to the firms and players that would personify a time when financial black magic took precedent over business basics like valuable products and solid customer service (not much has changed). In it are: Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis; Salomon Brothers; Jim and Linda Robinson; Lazard Freres & Co.; Jeffrey "Mad Dog" Beck; Morgan Stanley; Drexel Burnham Lambert; Forstmann Little; Goldman Sachs; Shearson Lehman; and more. The majority of the book covers the feeding frenzy that ensued once the company was in play. Greed, petty jealousies, tantrums, egos, arrogance and ignorance are all in great supply. I enjoyed the side stories covering Ted Forstmann who hated Kohlberg Kravis and John Greeniaus who was one executive capable of actual management.
Burrough and Helyar place the reader in the boardroom, limo, and bar. The book is so well researched, the narrative so engaging, and the pace so lively that it reads like a novel. It continues to influence financial and business reporting by placing emphasis on the very real human foibles that impact those worlds. It made me a bit of a junkie for similar works as I went on to read others of this genre and era including: Den of Thieves, Predator's Ball, Rainmaker, amongst others.
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