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4.6 out of 5 stars124
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 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 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 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 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 9 August 2009
I am not a keen reader but this book was just simply brilliant and managed to read it in 1 week! The book gives a great insight into the life of James and shows how inspirational this guy can be. It is written in a way so that you don't have to understand the jargon and there are also some humourous parts, especially when he enters the Dragon's Den.

I recommend it and I hope you do when you read it.
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on 3 November 2008
From nothing, James went on to build "a market-leading business with a turnover of more than 30 million pounds". It is an astonishing success story, finished the book within a couple of days, I couldn't put it down, Highly recommend for anyone at business school or in business,
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on 4 August 2009
Best known for his role as one of the five multi-millionaire investors on TV's Dragons' Den, James Caan has produced an autobiography which mixes charisma, humility and a genuinely fascinating life story in equal measure.

From his early life as the drop-out son of a Pakistani immigrant to his current status as a TV celebrity and founder of his own private equity firm, we get an insight into what has made Caan successful, both in terms of his business acumen and the personal values that have driven him, among other things, to help save Barts' Hospital and get personally involved in helping victims of the recent disaster in Kashmir.

This book should serve as an inspiration to anyone interested in business, and who wants to believe that the commercial world is not purely about the accumulation of personal wealth. Here is a man who gets involved in charity and humanitarian work simply because it is the right thing to do, as opposed to just being the right thing to be seen doing.
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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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