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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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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.

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Great book

loved this book, the authors narration was excellent and voice very pleasant to listen to. excellent tale of business history.

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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
  • 28-07-21

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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  • Sinead O'Rourke
  • 14-08-21

Simply magnificent

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

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  • Andrew M.
  • 01-08-21

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.

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  • D. J. Schultz
  • 01-11-21

Still hugely relevant and entertaining after 30+ years!

One of the best modern history, business, and dramas I have ever read all rolled up into one book. Very even handed treatment of the characters and events. Well done!

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  • jason schaefer
  • 10-08-21

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.

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  • Karen
  • 24-07-21

Narrator is just ok

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

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  • Paul
  • 05-07-21

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.

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  • Zen
  • 02-08-22

Funny and insightful

Business is taken so seriously in society, this book reveals the comedy of errors and the imprecise illogic that guides some business decisions at the end of the day. One cannot sever emotion from high stakes poker and all sanity is lost when the stakes are at their highest.

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  • Glenn Ogolah
  • 05-07-22

Great Journalism

I loved the level of research that went into putting this together. I continuously had a clear understanding of the people involved and their thinking during the entire process. The details paint a very vivid picture.

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  • A. Wenzel
  • 26-06-22

insane. A must for every MBA.

Action packed story that reads like a heist thriller for nerds. One of the best books ever. You'll want to finish in one sitting!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-06-22

Worth the Effort

Because of the many characters, scenes, and length, it can be hard to keep track of all the events.
I stayed with it, and it is well done at the end when it all comes together.