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The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den: A Dragon's Tale Paperback – 18 Sep 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; Airport / Ireland / Export ed edition (18 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753515083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753515082
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

FROM BRICK LANE BOY TO GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR

From the Inside Flap

James Caan is one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs. Dropping out of school at just sixteen, he started his business life with no qualifications and two pieces of advice: 'observe the masses and do the opposite' and 'always look for opportunities where both parties benefit'. Armed with just these two pieces of fatherly wisdom, extraordinary charm and the yellow pages, James Caan built a market-leading business with a turnover of more than £130million from a broom cupboard.

The Real Deal is the incredible story of James' remarkable life. From his childhood as a Pakistani immigrant in Brick Lane in the 1960s and his decision not to go into the family business, to the phenomenal success of his first company this book traces James Caan's journey to both financial and personal maturity. It deals with his disappointment upon realising his goals too early, and offers a frank account of what success at 30 really means. The Real Deal brings us bang up to the present, including the truth about his role on Dragons' Den, what his charity work in Lahore, Kashmir and Kosovo means to him, and how he has come to completely re-evaluate what money is really worth.

This rag-trade to riches story is an intimate account of an exceptional journey. It is a searingly honest exploration of James's journey to success and a source of inspiration for anyone looking to emulate his phenomenal business acumen.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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