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Publisher's Summary

“One of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980s.” (New York Times Book Review)

A number-one New York Times best seller and arguably the best business narrative ever written, Barbarians at the Gate is the classic account of the fall of RJR Nabisco. An enduring masterpiece of investigative journalism by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, it includes a new afterword by the authors that brings this remarkable story of greed and double-dealings up to date 20 years after the famed deal. The Los Angeles Times calls Barbarians at the Gate, “Superlative”. The Chicago Tribune raves, “It’s hard to imagine a better story...and it’s hard to imagine a better account.” And in an era of spectacular business crashes and federal bailouts, it still stands as a valuable cautionary tale that must be heeded.

©1989, 2009 Bryan Burrough, John Helyar (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Barbarians at the Gate

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Simply magnificent

Great timeless story with superb narration. Required regarding for every business graduate or anyone with an interest in how ego trumps logic

2 people found this helpful

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Solid Story

Enjoyed the books from start to finish, even wiki'd all the folks to see how life went after the story was over.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book but too dense

The story is well told but it goes on for too long and too in depth. Not every phone call or meal needs to be detailed. Still, an incredible story about Wall Street and LBOs.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator is just ok

Narrator takes some getting used to in pace and tone but the book is excellent

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Fun finance heavy story

This book requires a fair amount of attention, as it covers a lot of characters. It feels like a good window into what the 1980s LBO craze was like. It focuses less on employees and customers than shareholders and executives.

1 person found this helpful

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A Mixed Bag!

I read this book in the early 90’s and recall it being better. The audio version is quite long and could easily be three to four hours shorter. It requires listening very closely due to the complex financial details.

Many interesting, fun, and unbelievable stories about a free wheeling $25 Billion deal. Ross Johnson was a real character but perhaps not the most effective CEO.

Eric Martin is a strong narrator!

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  • Jazz
  • 06-27-21

Brilliantly read.

Glad I waited for this full length version, read the book years ago and a lot of what happened then still applies today. There was a movie made a few years ago with James Garner (I think), but this is so ready for a remake! It has it all; drama, tension and even a bit of comedy. The authors did a fine job of telling this incredible story. Brilliant narrated too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ewel
  • 09-10-21

Boardroom Politics

This brilliant work just makes it clear that those at the top have always looked out for themselves. This book depicts not only the marketplace but the political landscape.
Greed, waste and ego.

I loved every minute of it all the same. Great learning too.

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  • Mr
  • 07-28-21

One of the great epics of American capitalism.

Having loved the 1993 movie, I was delighted to find there was a new, unabridged version of the book it was based on. Even if you're not particularly interested in business sagas, the story remains one that stands on it's own as a intriguing drama: full of larger than life characters who seethe with ambition, jealousy, pride, righteous indignation: and it must be said - a fair bit of greed.

It's a story that depicts both the dynamism and excess of the financial industry when it reaches the summit of one of its periodic feeding frenzies. A picture that will seem familiar to students of everything from the Mississippi bubble to the current SPAC fad. A fad that made some people very very rich, shook up complacent managers, and did a lot of damage to ordinary workers in over-leveraged companies.

The authors clearly did a huge amount of research first hand, interviewing all the main participants back in 1989 when memories were still fresh, and it really shows. The book is detailed, very comprehensive, and provides plenty of history to explain the mentalities of the people and organisations it explores.

Despite the poisonous nature of the product they made, one can't help feeling a little sorry for the inhabitant of Winston-Salem, whose company was ripped away from them and turned into a football for Wall Street tycoons who cared not one jot about a community that had been built around Reynolds tobacco for over 100 years.

Narrator is well chosen and keeps up a lively and entertaining pace.

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  • Gyrfalcon
  • 08-04-21

Remains a cracking good story

A long listen, but will worth it, classic 80's tale that set the template for decades of finance shenanigans

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  • Tom
  • 07-06-21

Enthralling and still relevant

Such an engaging and exciting story, well worth the time invested. The performance of the reader is superb and flexes to each character. The pace of the performance builds throughout the book culminating in an exciting conclusion. Each party is introduced methodically and adds to the swirling complexity of the negotiations. Although the exact financial circumstances are different, there are some interesting lessons on negotiations and tactics that are still relevant to today.