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The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den Paperback – 30 Apr 2009
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JAMES CAAN'S INCREDIBLE BEST-SELLING AUTOBIOGRAPHY NOW IN PAPERBACK
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.See all Product description
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Well done to Mr James Caan (do you know his birth name?) Whether it's the powerful story of his family and integrating into UK culture, or his more recent adventures in the Dragons Den, he doesn't disappoint.
As I say, this book had me crying with sadness and happiness as well as genuinely laughing aloud. Read it.
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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