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Jason

Chicago, IL, USA | Member Since 2005

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  • The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den

    • ABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By James Caan
    • Narrated By James Caan
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    James Caan is one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs. Dropping out of school at just sixteen, he started his business life with no qualifications and two pieces of advice: 'Observe the masses and do the opposite' and 'Always look for opportunities where both parties benefit'. Armed with just his father's wisdom, his own unique charm and the Yellow Pages, James Caan built a market-leading business with a turnover of more than #130 million from a broom cupboard.

    Jason says: "A business bio from a back seat perspective"
    "A business bio from a back seat perspective"
    Overall

    Although this book follows the typical business biography format (e.g. I was born here, I did this, I accomplished that) it stands above many others in that Caan comes across as a sincere, grounded, like-able guy and offers some insight into his motivations, hopes and worries. His willingness explore the conflict between his own aspirations and those of his father is refreshing and make his story personal. For much of the book the story is not rushed and you gain some real perspective on his experience but the exceptions to that are significant. The most notable examples are the lack of detail dedicated to his two most break-through and career changing events. Sure, once somebody has achieved success and wealth it is interesting to learn how they think and what they do when they are on top of their game, but more focus on the defining moments that lead to the success would have taken this book from pretty good to a must read. He could have chosen to let the reader experience the leap of faith that every first time entrepreneur takes while sharing the set backs as well the first taste of success. Instead of doing that Caan goes from a 19 year old high school drop out who stumbles into a recruiting job to the manager in charge at the flag ship location of one of Brittans most renown recruiting companies in about 1 page. He repeats this mistake in the section about opening his first business. Here, the time between using a personal credit card to fund the start up of his clothing store and realizing enough profit to purchase an outrageous home and open a second location seem to pass with just a brief mention about learning the difference between capital and cash flow. All said, this is a good read especially for entrepreneurs hoping to find motivation in the story of a self-made gazillonaire.

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