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Download Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,904 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bryan Burrough, John Helyar Narrator: John Helyar Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2007 ISBN: 9780061127472
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The fight to control RJR Nabisco during October and November of 1988 was more than just the largest takeover in Wall Street history. Marked by brazen displays of ego not seen in American business for decades, it became the high point of a new gilded age—and its repercussions are still being felt.

The ultimate story of greed and glory, Barbarians at the Gate is the gripping account of these two frenzied months, of deal makers and publicity flaks, of an old-line industrial powerhouse that became the victim of the ruthless and rapacious style of finance in the 1980s. Written with the bravado of a novel and researched with the diligence of a sweeping cultural history, here is the unforgettable story of the takeover in all its brutality. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The fascinating inside story of the largest corporate takeover in American history...It reads like a novel.”

    Tom Brokaw

  • “All the suspense of a first-rate thriller…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 superlative book, a reconstruction of awesome proportions...The writing is unflawed...steadily builds until the very end.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “One of the greatest business books ever written.”

    Joe Nocera, New York Times

  • “It’s hard to imagine a better story to capture the essence of the 1980s business scene…and it’s hard to imagine a better account than the one by Burrough and Helyar.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The most bizarre financial mock-epic of our age. Read it open-mouthed; wonder and shudder.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Impressive qualities...delicious scenes...a cinematic yet extraordinarily careful book.”

    New York Daily News

  • “The stage is always set, there is dialogue and drama aplenty, and the characters are larger than life…brilliantly effective.”

    Fortune

  • “A reportorial tour de force that provides a stunningly detailed recap of the events leading up to the megabuck takeover of RJR Nabisco...A comprehensive and coherent account of a multilateral struggle.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Hinman | 2/13/2014

    " Fascinating look at the battle for RJR nabisco and the insider world of corporate finance. I really enjoyed it, but for whatever reason had a slow go of reading it. Took me months. Not really sure why. But a great read that does a great job of explaining what happened and why, without getting bogged down into too much technical descriptions "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice | 2/6/2014

    " Fascinating. Incredibly well written. Complex, dramatic. A gem. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich | 2/6/2014

    " Very interesting and entertaining book, even if you're not very interested in the mergers/take-over world of the 80s and 90s. It's amazing to see how the egos of powerful investors can collaborate to essentially destroy an entire company. I would have given it 5 stars, but I thought the first third could have been stronger - way too much detail into the backgrounds of the players. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 L | 1/30/2014

    " Every MBA student should be required to read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sebastian Cosgrove | 1/24/2014

    " Reads like a book of fiction, no doubt it served as the playbook for the Enron hoodlums, and every other corporate thug. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mrdarius Razgaitis | 1/21/2014

    " Great chronicle of an era of greed, with spectacular details and drama despite the fact that it's about the incredibly dull topic of leveraged buyouts. Huge cast of characters is tough to follow at times, but some very colorful ones too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marty | 1/20/2014

    " I never would normally pick this up (usually raised letters on the cover mean Marty no likey). I pretty much only read it to get an idea of what the hell my husband does until 10pm every night. It actually was fairly entertaining, and I definitely learned a lot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lemar | 1/18/2014

    " Excellent account of the ethos or lack thereof behind the leveraged buy outs (LBO's) that changed the landscape of corporate America. The book is often funny and the people are drawn as fully as a novelist might. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 1/12/2014

    " This was a great book about the history of the LBO market and all of the players involved in what was, at the time, the largest LBO ever done. Great background of all the big guys today and the greed and fierceness of those players. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric Lew | 1/5/2014

    " Awesome & a great introduction to private equity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Harry | 12/23/2013

    " Superior book, giving an insight into the world of Wall Street/ high finance. gripping.....well worth the read for even those who are notfinancial types. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Mueller | 12/22/2013

    " Also see the movie by the same title. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seth Freudenburg | 12/14/2013

    " Great read- entertaining and informative. A business history that reads like a thriller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Ponti | 11/28/2013

    " Very interesting look at the inner workings of leveraged buyouts. Not a beach read by any stretch though! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sameer Taimni | 11/13/2013

    " excellent read on M&A in the 70's /80's "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mishaal Al | 9/30/2013

    " The book to read if you want to understand Private Equity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 9/14/2013

    " Was thoroughly engrossed in this - I think because so much of this story affected the people here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Barr | 2/28/2013

    " Absolutely phenomenal "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suman | 2/18/2013

    " Single greatest business book of all time. Not much more needs to be said. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gil | 2/6/2013

    " This is supposed to be the most influential business books in history. Certainly an interesting story, but a little bit hard to follow just because of the way it's written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Riley | 1/19/2013

    " Amazing inside look at a major business transaction. Great character development for a book about a Leveraged Buy Out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Jacobi | 1/14/2013

    " Great book, I couldn't put it down. Very real and in depth tour of the corporate takeover and high finance world. One of the best business books I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Loftus | 1/10/2013

    " This is one of the best books I have found about the world of corporate takeovers. Well written enough to be interesting to someone who isn't in the field as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suvendu Mahapatra | 10/13/2012

    " Very well written book, thoroughly enjoyed reading every word :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 6/28/2011

    " This was an exciting, interesting read. One of the best "business" books I've read. Burrough does a great job introducing great characters and explaining the complex maneuverings behind this deal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suvendu | 5/17/2011

    " Very well written book, thoroughly enjoyed reading every word :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 4/2/2011

    " The first business book I ever read...20 years ago...and still by far the best. It puts you inside the room for every meeting and it's all you can do to keep from yelling "STOP!" as these guys drive a major American corporation (two, actually), right off a cliff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/14/2011

    " A terrific book for those interested in Private Equity. Worthless to all else, hence the low rating "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jordan | 2/10/2011

    " Certainly a business classic. The hoopla involved in this Leveraged Buyout is one for the ages, by far the biggest ever completed at its time. Burrough & Helyar did a fantastic job documenting it all, but the book got bland towards the end for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 1/13/2011

    " Incredibly well-researched and engaging book. There are points that lag with too much information, but the psychology of the business world is fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bradley | 1/3/2011

    " Now I know the origins of the rancid stench I smell each time I hear the words "private equity." A lot of good lessons of what not to do when managing corporations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 1/3/2011

    " A really interesting and detailed account of some the biggest players and biggest companies in their time. Highly recommended for anyone interested in big business or corporate finance maneuvering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 12/29/2010

    " Good intro into corporate greed and the beginning of the Private Equity world. Well told and even though lengthy it doesn't seem to drag. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 12/27/2010

    " I liked it a lot. A bit long, but very engaging. I learned quite a lot about business and finance things that I didn't know about. I'd recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mario | 12/25/2010

    " Engaging, dramatic overview of the RJR Nabisco deal at the end of the 1980's buyout boom. Effectively illustrates the fast-pace, dynamic interactions among the many parties involved in the largest LBO deal at the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taro | 12/11/2010

    " Very well-written, and engaging. I have to admit, though, that the behavior of the people in the book makes me glad that I don't work in the world of high finance or big business. "

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