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Barbarians at the Gate Audiobook

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

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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)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (4 )
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3.8 (4 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tom Macquarie Hills, Australia 31/07/2016
    Tom Macquarie Hills, Australia 31/07/2016 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a lightning fast rollicking ride"

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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Cheimon
    New York, NY USA
    17/11/07
    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Lynn
    Westminster, CA, USA
    14/10/07
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jake
    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, United States
    24/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Tze Ming
    SerembanMalaysia
    13/09/07
    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
  • TomBrooklyn
    Brooklyn, New York, United States
    16/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting story. Somewhat brief."

    Interesting story. Seemed to be well researched and it narrated many behind the scenes activities. Was somewhat brief--a shorter book than I expected at just over three hours for the audio edition from audible.com. The epilogue, of what took place after the buyout , would have been interesting had it gone into a lot more detail then the 4 minutes allocated to it, and would have been a good way to flesh out the story some more. If more couldn't be found to write about this deal, more discussion on the rise and fall of LBOs in general would have been welcome. There was only passing mention of the junk bond rage of the 80s. More on that would have been a good way to flesh out this book also. That being said, I just realized this was an abridged version. If an unabridged version ever comes out, I will get it.


    The narration was clear, but might have been a little more emotional and animated, especially in the beginning. Towards the climax, the narration seemed more animated to good effect--either that or I had gotten used to and warmed up to the narrator's intonation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Donald M. Scott
    Durango, CO USA
    23/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The characters are little more than names"
    What would have made Barbarians at the Gate better?

    Give the characters more depth, more color. If they are nothing more than names they will be hard to keep straight.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Helyar?

    Someone who reads a bit slower. The presentation is too rushed, both the writing and the reading.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, it's a good story but poor story-telling.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ferrell Foster
    Texas
    12/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "abridgements leave big gaps"

    this book was abridged too tightly. it's a complex story that needed more of the details from the printed book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • ninth gate
    14/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "poor narration"

    it was an informative book but the narration seemed amateurish. not my best audio book purchase to date.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Carlos Rincon
    Bogota, Colombia
    13/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, poor format"
    What did you like best about Barbarians at the Gate? What did you like least?

    I'd stick with the unabridged print version. If you definitely want to go the easy route get the HBO feature film starring James Gardner, far more enjoyable and right on point in delivering the lessons behind what could best be described as a greed-fest of Shakespearian proportions.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The flamboyant F. Ross Johnson and what could go down in history as the most famous advertisement slogan never used... "Tastes like shit and smells like a fart."


    Any additional comments?

    Get the HBO feature film of the same name, far superior to this audiobook that in reality reads more like a long feature article from Vanity Fair.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dane Pieri
    3/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unabridged version would have been better."

    Fascinating story. It went by so quickly that I'm sure it left out a lot of details that I would have liked to learn about. I wish Audible had an unabridged version.

    The readers are pretty bad, especially one because he read so fast I had to listen at 0.75 speed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Chattian fauna
    30/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    1/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nick
    miskin, rhondda cynon taff, United Kingdom
    21/05/10
    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 1 people found this review helpful

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