book hack
Barbarians at the GateBy Bryan Burrough, John Helyar

In a Nutshell

Barbarians at the Gate shows you how not to run a business and reveals the shocking greed of corporate America in the 1980s by telling the story of the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco.

Favorite quote

The Roaring Eighties were a new gilded age, where winning was celebrated at all costs.

Bryan Burrough and John Heylar

Introduction

The 1980s are associated with big hair, synths, and the winding down of the Cold War. But the 1980s are also remembered as a time when corporate greed reached unprecedented new heights, enabled by new business strategies like hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts.

In this classic 1989 book, investigative journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar take a close look at investment company KKR's acquisition of RJR Nabisco, at the time the largest leveraged buyout in history. Full of drama, power struggles, and corporate intrigue, the book is a gripping chronicle of the spectacular greed that came to define a decade.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

  1. 1.
    Leveraged buyouts began as a way to avoid estate tax but grew into an unstoppable weapon for corporate takeovers
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