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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

Critic Reviews

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

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Cheimon
  • New York, NY USA
  • 11-17-07

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lynn
  • Westminster, CA, USA
  • 10-14-07

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jake
  • PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, United States
  • 01-24-13

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Al
  • San Francisco, CA
  • 07-14-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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..

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Short, no details. ok history but there should be+

too short no details, more on the negotiations than on the outcome. didn't like m

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  • Story

Wall Street Machinations, Corporate Greed and Big

I missed this one when it first came out. Great view into the machinations of Wall Street investment banking firms, corporate executive greed and hubris and over-sized egos.

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  • Story

Henry Kravis being unlike Henry Kravis

An amazing story of the success of our economic system being so badly abused. But that's America, and I love it!

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  • Story

Don't buy abridged

Assume the full version is better, but the abridged version has virtually no substantive discussion of the financing mechanisms. It's no more than a personality/event driven plot, and you don't even feel engaged with the personalities because of the abridgment.

For some inexplicable reason the authors decided to narrate themselves. One is like listening to storytime by a 12-year-old off his adderall.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story / Terrible narrators

Cool story but one of the guys reading it makes it almost unbearable. Would read this one or find a different recording.

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  • toRouxo.gr
  • 10-20-17

A great book really poorly narrated

The narration is very poor and a lot of the nice details are left out, I wouldn’t bother if I were you.

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  • Chattian fauna
  • 10-30-16

Lost in translation

I was disappointed to find that the full version was not available on audible so was forced to go with this abridged version on the off chance. Bearing in mind the original was critically acclaimed as being an engrossing thriller as well as a thought-provoking business book. The resulting narrative here is pallid and uninspiring. All excitement and compelling material has been boiled out leaving the listener with one of the most dull and tedious descriptions of a business deal ever written.

The narration is at least authentic, but even their authoritative tones cannot resuscitate this dead dog of an audiobook.

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  • Martin
  • 04-01-16

Fascinating subject - poorly served.

What did you like best about Barbarians at the Gate? What did you like least?

Anyone interested in the machinations of corporate excess, skulduggery and the financial world should benefit from this. A classic illustration of how the business world has changed from emphasising producing goods of quality and looking after their employees and the communities in which they operate into rapacious profit machines which care only about enriching directors and large shareholders.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The authors are far from being natural or accomplished narrators. Dull and monotonous - although care would need to be taken to ensure that another narrator did not attempt to be too dramatic!

Do you think Barbarians at the Gate needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. The story has been told. No doubt there are many similar cautionary tales - but it was the sheer size of the deal and the place Nabisco held in American consumer culture which made this tale worth telling.

Any additional comments?

Buy the book instead!

  • Overall
  • Nick
  • 05-21-10

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 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 07-31-16

a lightning fast rollicking ride

a lightning fast rollicking ride through the late 80s junk bond fuelled corporate takeover hi jinks