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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 September 2008
As a non-entrepreneurial woman, but not of the `certain age' who, James tells us with rather touching surprise started writing to him when he began appearing on Dragon's Den - approaches from women of all ages were, I would have thought, an occupational hazard for multi-millionaires - I found this book a terrific read.

From the moment he left school, and walked out of his shocked Muslim family's home at 16, without waiting to take his O'Levels, until he took a late `gap year' at the age of 42, James never stopped working. He was driven by a desperate desire to prove to his dearly loved, but shocked, disappointed and briefly estranged father, that his decision had been the right one. He writes: `I had to prove to dad that I could make it without him. That was the only thing that would make sense of what I had done. I had to prove him wrong.' He made his point, but it was a tough road, and not one for the weak. Sometimes he lived on cornflakes for several days at a time, and after being a cosseted Muslim son, even fending for himself was a shock to his system.

What came across most strongly for me when reading about his progress was that although he was clearly bright, his main assets were that people liked him, he was amazingly quick to learn from just watching other people at work, and he always followed his father's teaching that "successful business is not about good transactions, it's about good relationships."

His love for his wife and two daughters shines like a beacon through this fascinating book, which tells of a life that now encompasses such contrasting events as dining with princes and stumbling through Kashmir after the devastating earthquake, seeing scenes that he says `no one should have to see.' The interesting point here is that he didn't `have' to see it, he chose to go there and see it, to try and find ways in which he could help the situation.

The inside look at the making of Dragon's Den is fascinating, but not as fascinating as the amazing journey that enabled James Caan to take his seat there. Don't miss this book.
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on 19 September 2008
I read a lot of business biographies and this has to be up there as one of the best. It includes real insight into how and why James has made the decisions he has throughout his career, and doesn't flinch from explaining the (very few) mistakes and failures along the way. His enthusiasm and drive come through strongly. This is a great starting point for any would-be entrepreneur as well as a good booster for those of us already out there. Woven through the book is a moving human story revolving around James's relationship with his father. In all a very compelling read as well as an excellent source of business advice from someone who really knows his stuff.
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on 13 October 2008
This book is absolutely brilliant. James' life and story is an inspiration for anyone who wishes to be successful in business and life. Its a very inspiring read that left me charged up at the end! Whoever reads this should also read Duncan Bannantyne's book.
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on 12 April 2009
This review was prompted by the review of Phil Keenan. This book is about history and inspiration. James Cann's History and what inspired him. To say he has never created anything I think is an insult. creating and running a school in one of the poorest areas of Pakistan. Supporting and developing building for the earthquake disaster zone in the himalayas. His work with Cat Stevens.His support for Barts. If that is not creating something that I dodn't know what is. Many other wealthy entrepreneurs could learn from this.

The whole book is about achieving a win win situation between all parties in the business. James Caan's dad got it right 'don't bleed the seller or buyer so they have nothing create relationships'

If you are going to take anything from this books it should be about beinb able to use the vast amount of information and adapt it to create your own business and operational structures. Adapt what you read to fit your own circumstances.

Phil Kenans view that because anyone involved in the investment industry is tainted is the problem with this type view it lumps every one in the same boat and doesn't use the good ones to shame the greedy ones. Yes he has made a lot of money but he uses his wealth to help and support a wide range of business and charitable organisations.
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on 27 September 2008
This book was excellent, James takes you through the journey of his business and personal life in a very easy to read and informative manner. Full of great tips and hints that can be used in all aspects of life.
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on 11 October 2008
What a book. Immensely open and moving. Inisights in this book are worth 100 times the price one may pay for it. By far the best book out of all the dragons. What a genuinely fantastic guy James is. Before I bought this book, I may have said he was my least favourite, but now he is by far my number 1. Great work James. You deserve the very best for your inspiring attitudes and out look on life.

Dave P
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on 8 November 2008
Having read many of these business tycoon type books over the past year I have to say this is the best by far. Really inspirational - Worth the money
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on 5 November 2008
This book is your classic 'rags to riches' story with a difference. Here is a man that got rich by getting the best out of people; not your traditional route of finding an innovative product or making shrewd business deals.

James' real strenth was in identifying good people and motivating and inspiring them to work hard. This is such a rare attribute to come across in modern business and truly refreshing and inspiring. I have read many business and strategy text books, but this has been an important journey in my own development and something that no text book has ever touched on. As I progress through my management career, I will certainly adopt some of the techniques James has (naturally) developed to get the best out of my employees. Already I have started to adopt his sales strategy of asking lots of questions and 'painting a picture' and it works great.

Everyone can learn something from James, whether its his people development skills, approach to selling, or learning when to get out of a business. All in all, I highly recommend this book.
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on 20 January 2015
Having only seen James on Dragons Den a few times, I might not have picked this book to read, other than the good reviews on Amazon. But make no mistake he is a great guy and this is a really fascinating biography, arguably it is the pick of the Dragons Dens books.

As many reviewers have said, once you start reading you can't put it down. Some people will find certain parts a bit too sales based (but this is us being too British & often we need to be more sales focused, in order to move our industries forward). The chapters on Bosnia and Pakistan as well as the private Equity chapters are all fascinating insights into both business and charity. Added to this his personal story from humble beginnings and leaving school at an early age make this a very personal and well written story.

Above all this provides great motivation for those starting off in business and provides a really interesting life story. After reading this you can not help, but have total respect for James in his business, his charity work and his personal story. A must read.
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on 24 November 2008
This book was discussed by James Martin when James Caan was his guest, I was intrigued by James' comments so I had to buy this. I also could not put this book down. I run an on-line business and read what he said about 'observe the masses and do the opposite' - I applied this to my sale page and reversed our sale policy to the effect of accepting returns of Sale Goods (as other companies do not) - This has had a great impact on my business, so Thank You James!!
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