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Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco | [Bryan Burrough]

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

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's and John Helyer's account of the frenzy that overtook Wall Street in October and November of 1988 gives us not only a detailed look at financial operations at the highest levels but a richly textured social history of wealth in the twilight of the Reagan era.
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Publisher's Summary

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's and John Helyer's account of the frenzy that overtook Wall Street in October and November of 1988 is the story of dealmakers and publicity flaks, of strategy meetings and society dinners, of boardrooms and balls. It gives us not only a detailed look at financial operations at the highest levels but a richly textured social history of wealth in the twilight of the Reagan era.

©2003 Bryan Burrough and John Helyar; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"A superlative book...steadily builds suspense until the very end." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (146 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (71 )
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1 star
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Story
3.4 (72 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cheimon New York, NY USA 11-17-07
    Cheimon New York, NY USA 11-17-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
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    27
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    5
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    Overall
    "Great book, not so great audiobook"

    The book has lost a lot in transcription, the original is far too heavily abridged. It is too linear, and has lost a lot of its journalistic depth. The book itself, however, is an absolute must.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Westminster, CA, USA 10-14-07
    Lynn Westminster, CA, USA 10-14-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "A little too brief"

    I have read the full book at least three times. This was a good abridgment but not perfect. The personalities never really got developed completely and the stories that really demonstrated Ross Johnson's extravagance (the dog at the golf tournament) didn't make the cut. If you have read the book you will enjoy this version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tze Ming SerembanMalaysia 09-13-07
    Tze Ming SerembanMalaysia 09-13-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    1
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    Overall
    "simplified"

    I am surprise to find out that the audiobook was a cut-down version from the original book. No wonder it is only 3 hour long. I am abit disappointed..

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Al San Francisco, CA 07-14-13
    Al San Francisco, CA 07-14-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Abridged version does not build enough story"

    This is stated as one of the all time greats, but after reading it seems the story dosnot come out in an abridged version. Not worth the credits to use on this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, United States 01-24-13
    Jake PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, United States 01-24-13
    ratings
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    1
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    "Abridged and Poorly Read"
    What disappointed you about Barbarians at the Gate?

    It's only 3 hours long and the narration (done by the authors) is poor at best.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shom Hyderabad, India 01-02-13
    Shom Hyderabad, India 01-02-13 Member Since 2011

    Marketer. The Engineer-MBA stereotype. Sports-fiction writer. Poor reader of text. Thus at Audible. God Bless.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    "Not bad, but I am sure the book will be better"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. I would have been happier to have spent some more time infact. A 4-5 hour audiobook would have been better, I think.


    What didn’t you like about John Helyar’s performance?

    Way too fast. Cannot blame him alone, I suppose this is a heavily abridged version, and the narrator had to do with what was given to him. But especially with the bids, I believe a bit more of elaboration would have helped.


    Could you see Barbarians at the Gate being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    It must have been already. Would be irresistable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jasmine Tenessee 06-26-12
    Jasmine Tenessee 06-26-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Story
    "Interesting, but not pleased with the performance"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The content was interesting and was boiled down so non-financial wizards could understand the intricacies of this world. However, I found the performance lackluster.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harbinger of books Silver Spring, MD, United States 02-28-12
    Harbinger of books Silver Spring, MD, United States 02-28-12 Member Since 2011

    Harbinger of Books

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Review"

    This audiobook gives details of the RJR Nabisco leveraged buyout. It is a decent read because it gives shape to the story of how greed and shortsightedness contributed to probably one of the most poorly done managed corporate takeover in history. I think the authors did a really good job of covering all aspects of this story, at times it brings home the meaning of fact can be stranger than fiction.

    I am glad I got the abridged version because I bet the unabridged version was just full of details that I was not necessarily into. I must admit the reader kind of blew it for me. At times it felt like he was rushing to the end and at times it was to monotoned for me. Not to mention I could hear breathing gaps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pihafan 12-19-11
    Pihafan 12-19-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    What did you love best about Barbarians at the Gate?

    It's a very good story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A great listen to one of the biggest, most chased business deals ever.


    Have you listened to any of John Helyar’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    A1.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mason West Jordan, UT, United States 12-05-11
    Mason West Jordan, UT, United States 12-05-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overall OK book"
    Where does Barbarians at the Gate rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is an average listen for such a fascinating story. The story is a pinacle point in business history, but I think the author approached the story at too high of a level, and reads too fast. The author should not have read the book, and the more time should have been taken to explain the book. The event was interesting, but the book needed to take more time to explain all of the details of the event.


    What other book might you compare Barbarians at the Gate to and why?

    The Devils are all Here, When Genius Failed


    What three words best describe John Helyar’s voice?

    Too fast


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Nick
    miskin, rhondda cynon taff, United Kingdom
    5/21/10
    Overall
    "Relevant Today"

    Reads more like a fiction novel than a business book.

    A case of history repeating itself. A good general cautionary tale for the business world!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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