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Anyone Can Do It: My Story
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on 13 July 2017
Prior to reading, all I knew about Duncan was from what I saw on Dragon's Den. However, having read the book my opinion of him has completely changed. Before reading I just thought he was a stern, northern, no-nonsense entrepreneur, now I think he's an inspirational role model. I really enjoyed reading how he got started and built his business from scratch. The book flows brilliantly and you feel you are sitting with Duncan while he tells you his life story. The book is very moving, really sad and upsetting in parts and hilariously funny in others (The story of the paperclips/pens and the fight in the ice cream van are great :) Later in the book, I was blown away when I discovered how kind and compassionate Duncan is, he does so much for charity and people who need help. It's a side of him you never really see on the T.V. Duncan just proves the naysayers wrong and that anybody who works hard and is dedicated enough can achieve great things. This book has really motivated me to better my life, and I think it will yours too. Highly recommended.
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Duncan is a canny Scot with a very dry sense of humour. He remains true to his challenged upbringing by not wanting to spend unless really necessary. He made a heap of money following common sense principles. He does try to remain unassuming by giving the impression that what he achieved financially was nothing special and 'anyone can do it.' Well they can't.

Not everyone is able to create the story that he did. Times and opportunities have changed. These days, building property investments, the bedrock of his growth after selling ice creams is now not so simple. The book is well worth a read without being spectacular and riveting. It has a load of nice to know anecdotes and old school theories in it. Much of which are still relevant.

His achievements are impressive and his appearances on Dragons Den, no less solid. If you have some spare time and want a light commercial read, this book is advised.
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on 11 May 2014
The only good thing I can say about this book is that Duncan Bannatyne was brave enough to write it himself: it was so poorly written (and edited and proofed - the Kindle version anyway), that he clearly didn't use a ghost writer.

I didn't know much about Mr Bannatyne before reading this book. I was looking for insight and inspiration into starting up in business. Instead, what I learned is how he looks down on his sibblings (who, he is perplexed to add, are satisfied with what he calls an 'ordinary' life), owns a villa in Cannes, rents a private jet and has helped with charitable work in Romania. But the book lost all credibility at this line: "It was there and then that God said hello."

Yes this man has made a fantastic success of himself, having amassed a fortune from humble beginnings. But it has made him big-headed and, quite frankly, dull.

Don't turn to this book for inspiration.
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on 16 January 2016
I like Duncan Bannatyne, he was my preferred Dragon on DD. But WOW when I read his book, I lost respect and admiration and in fact realised that he won't be the sort of person I'd like to be around with. I was really disappointed by the writing, the constant belittling of graduates, a sort of anger towards the financiers and all the world executives without a credible reason... So I realised that Duncan hates the sort of person that I am so why should I like and admire him???
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on 6 September 2014
A genuine page-turner, enjoyable, interesting and easy to read. Health warning: don't start reading in bed - I lost several hours of sleep as I didn't want to put it down!

In this book, Bannatyne - who was made famous through the BBC's Dragon's Den -charts the course of his career, talking openly about the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.

After a dishonourable discharge from the navy, and various jobs, he bought an ice cream van and started to work for himself. One van became two, then three...

Seeing an opportunity in the care home industry he went into business with someone else and once it became clear that would work he started a series of care homes himself, scaling the business and eventually floating it.

He set up a chain of children's nurseries, applying the skills learned from his care home business. He rapidly grew the business and then sold it a few years later.

Other than Dragon's Den, he's perhaps best known for his chain of gyms, and we read about how it developed from an idea to a single gym and then rapidly scaled to become a large chain.

Hotels, a spell running (turning around) a radio station, and many other ventures are narrated.

As you'd expect, the book also talks about the Dragon's Den show relating lots of fascinating stories.

Bannatyne's passion for his charitable interests shines through. Between chapters on various business ventures he talks with much emotion of trips to Romaina and other places.

A fascinating book, well-written, and easy-to-read, charting Duncan Bannatyne's life and entrepreneurial ventures. Well worth reading!
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on 6 August 2014
I am a Business Studies teacher by trade and this has become one of my 'go to' books whenever I introduce any topics to do with enterprise. Bannatyne's life story is both moving and motivating. From a very poor background he shows how as a late bloomer through research, planning and good decisions anyone can succeed in business. This is perhaps arguable but Bannatyne did not have any advantages in life other than his own good brain and sheer hard work. I often read aloud to my students various sections from this book: especially as the 'Dragon's Den' is very popular viewing amongst 14-18 years olds, in my experience. I have to say I came to this book with a rather cynical point of view (what did you do to deserve being a dragon?) and finished it feeling truly humbled by his life experiences.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 September 2011
I bought this for my son at Christmas after he had just set up his companies. Hoping for socks or a short scarf, he opened it and smiled a mischievous grin, not unlike Bannatyne's own.

I had cheekily glanced through it without damaging the tight spine of the well-produced hardcover; I got another chance later trying to recover from the usual large Xmas lunch. I learned as much about the author (on and between the lines) as I did about his business empire. It was easy reading and I came away with the feeling that anyone who has the business acumen, will to succeed, eye for a good contract and the astuteness to choose business partners carefully, a hardy constitution and a quick sense of humour could do it. I was going to shelve it temporarily with my "Ten Traits of the Successful Business Mogul" but found I had lost it! I wrapped it instead and hoped my son would enjoy it. He did.
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on 31 January 2014
Duncan Bannatyne's story is so inspiring. Most millionaires tend to only become relevant when you've had a good work history and some savings. I read Duncan's book solely because I like dragon's den, I was so shocked at his story and it was so refreshing to see that I didn't need savings or a solid work history just an idea and passion. His book has the right title, it's the first book I've read by a millionaire that made me put it down and get on with it.
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on 12 November 2007
A great book, whether you're looking for a (lightweight) autobiography or a (lightweight) entrepreneur's manual. OK, lightweight (i.e. an easy, non-demanding read) but none the worse for that.
What comes through is Bannatyne's no nonsense approach to both business and life. He emphasises that his most useful skill is delegation, but he's also, clearly, a very good negotiatior - knows both his own position and that of the person he's negogiating with.
Yes, there are a few inconsistencies here and there - for example he questions the need to pay fees to advisors ("....you never need to pay for an expensive consultant.") but then goes on to say that it's worth paying for expert advice - but overall it's a genuine book written from the heart. Made him a penny or two also, no doubt, but as they say, nothing succeeds like success!
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on 11 June 2011
After just finishing this book I have come to the conclusion that Duncan is a remarkable man who had come from near poverty to living a life that is of riches (and I do not mean just in the economic sense either). He reports how happy he feels from helping others in the World who are born in countries that offer little chance of escaping their poverty by participating and funding projects like that in Romania, Malawi amongst others. Through his actions (and the help of colleagues/charities) he has made a difference to many peoples lifes (especially children) by building orphanges and providing a better standard of living.

Duncan comes across in the Dragons Den as a shroud man who is very hard towards business matters. From reading his book, it's true he is hard in the sense that he doesn't like people taking the "piss" (his words). One example that comes to mind is the 'expenses' that some company (who were buying a bussiness from him) would add without asking. One stated a bill of £300k and basically 'tried it on' as they knew they were buying his business for tens of millions and hoped he would simply cash in and overlook it.

Duncan is a man of principle and would happily walk away from a lucrative deal even if they are paying way over the odds compared to the next bidder. If their principles are not in place he would put the takeover in question. He believes people have no right to 'take' for no reason and for that I salute him for doing the right thing.

Overal I really enjoyed the read and I liked how the chapters were short but also informative of his life and style of business. You are taken from how he was brought up to how he setup each of his business to how he finally reached his current position of today.

The only reason I did not give this book a 5 star was down to 'anyone can do it' phrase that is stated across the book. I believe people can better themselves and start a successful business but in my opinion Duncan has somthing unique which makes his successful, being his personality.

To do what Duncan has done it requires balls, intelligence, determination and hardness. On many occasions Duncan stated how he conforonted those who 'threatened' his profit. An example that comes to mind is the icecream 'turfwars' chapter where he confronted a supposed 'hard man' who controlled who worked where in the area. This man was a black man with a reputation with two dobermans who drove around in a campervan and Duncan has heard people say he would not allow him to sell in the area as it was deemed 'his turf'. Duncan (upon seeing him in person for the first time) took off, opened his car door and confronted him stating who did he think he was etc. The man was so shocked that he actually turned to respect Duncan as a friend rather than an enemy agreeing to work things out towards who can work where.

I believe this hardenss as well as this always active 'thinking' ability in looking for the next business venture is not somthing 'anyone' can do. In my opinion it comes from personallity and upbringing in the right environment.

Do not however let this put your off the book. It is a very intersting and satisfying read and I am glad I have read it. I will now look at Duncan differently when I see him next on TV and I also feel better in knowing the real man behind that on the Dragons Den.
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