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The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den | [James Caan]

The Real Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den

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 his father's wisdom, his own unique charm and the Yellow Pages, James Caan built a market-leading business with a turnover of more than #130 million from a broom cupboard.
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Publisher's Summary

James Caan is one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs. Dropping out of school at just 16, 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 his father's wisdom, his own unique charm and the Yellow Pages, James Caan built a market-leading business with a turnover of more than #130 million from a broom cupboard.

The Real Deal is the incredible story of James Caan's 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'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 day, 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 the true value of money.

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

©2008 James Caan; (P)2009 James Caan

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (108 )
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4.6 (26 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Colin Blairgowrie, United Kingdom 10/02/2009
    Colin Blairgowrie, United Kingdom 10/02/2009 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic book"

    I looked at the price and the 2 1/2 star rating and thought it can't be up to much but I like his style in the Den so I took a punt. James Caan tells a fascinating story, his fears, his joy and his unorthodox perspective on moving ahead of the pack in business. A charismatic maverick with a spellbinding story to tell and the fact that he reads his book makes it so much more real. As a small business owner this has truly inspired me to take my business to the next level. WARNING: This is a cannot stop listening audiobook so make sure you have plenty me time!

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charlie London, United Kingdom 07/12/2011
    charlie London, United Kingdom 07/12/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow, not what I expected to hear"

    A good listen. Full of small tips and tricks as well as some interesting strategic stuff.

    But I have been ASTONISHED that almost everything in his life appears to start with a lie. And even more amazed that he's rather proud of that. Whether it's his relationship, getting clients, pushing candidates or starting new divisions, he can't appear to start anything without first telling a fib.

    I'm afraid this book makes it all too clear why recruitment consultants can have a bad reputation - a focus on the Porsche James has "painted a blue sky" about rather than desire to help someone find the right role. a sad state of affairs.

    But that aside, he's clearly a great motivator and an astute entrepreneur. the book is worth getting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karim LondonUnited Kingdom 04/06/2009
    Karim LondonUnited Kingdom 04/06/2009
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    "Great book, suspect reading."

    Giving his incredible success you can forgive James Caan's laboured reading style. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes. His audacity in pursing his eventual wife, deciding on a whim to change his name and his many successful charitable endeavours were actually more interesting then how he made his money. A very real story which a lot of life lessons contained within it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norman Glasgow, United Kingdom 13/09/2011
    Norman Glasgow, United Kingdom 13/09/2011 Member Since 2011
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    "Enter the Dragon...."

    James Cann, delivers a fascinating account of his rise to the top. This audiobook provides any budding entrepreneur with masses of tips and insight into the man behind the sharp suit. James Cann takes you from his roots in the bustling ‘Brick Lane’ to the heady heights of selling his recruitment business for millions, to ultimately becoming a Dragon on Dragon’s den. From maverick business man to respected philanthropist, James Cann has lived the life that most can only dream of. He provides you with the route-map to success and encourages you to live a remarkable life, no matter what business venture you decide to pursue. Enjoy, learn and prosper.

    N. Matheson

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Haywards Heath, West Sussex, United Kingdom 10/04/2009
    Tom Haywards Heath, West Sussex, United Kingdom 10/04/2009 Member Since 2006
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    ""The Real Deal"."

    Its a really good listen, well told with good advice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yousef Afghanistan 12/07/2014
    Yousef Afghanistan 12/07/2014 Member Since 2012

    Momin

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    "Insightful and inspirational"
    Where does The Real Deal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 25.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is an inspiring story and within it there are some golden nuggets from a business lessons perspective.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tariq United Kingdom 24/03/2014
    Tariq United Kingdom 24/03/2014 Listener Since 2008
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    "Very inspiring!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Real Deal to be better than the print version?

    I've not read the print version, I prefer audio books as I can do other things at the same time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Real Deal?

    The early stages of James' career especially the pains and uncertainties and how opportunities presented themselves.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Some sentences just didn't make sense and sometimes James would stumble in his narration as his pitch or tone wouldn't reflect the sentence.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Griffiths Newport, UK 07/01/2014
    P. Griffiths Newport, UK 07/01/2014 Member Since 2012
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    "Outstanding Business Autobiography"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Real Deal to be better than the print version?

    Yes, as its read in the own words of the author with feeling.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A personal story warts and all!


    What does James Caan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    All the intimate details of his life


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the death of his father who was a great influence on James


    Any additional comments?

    A 3 dimensional story told with great insight into his business success.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tiina WEYMOUTH, United Kingdom 19/07/2013
    tiina WEYMOUTH, United Kingdom 19/07/2013 Member Since 2013
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    "I loved this book!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Real Deal to be better than the print version?

    Only as I can work at the same time as listen. But love print versions too.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Real Deal?

    I think the overall inspiration from an entrepreneur to another was great and I got a lot of great ideas what to do and not to do.


    Have you listened to any of James Caan’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    no I havent.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No crying but laughed a few times. It was more the 'dreams do come true' idea which toughed my heart.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall a great book to listen to and really enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L LITTLEHAMPTON, United Kingdom 12/12/2012
    L LITTLEHAMPTON, United Kingdom 12/12/2012

    justsomeguy

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    "So easily well into 5 star territory"

    Of all the Dragon's in the Den, James was perhaps the one I didn't get the most and so was intrigued to discover both that James has written his autobiography and that he also narrates it. This is a completely spellbinding listen from start to finish. Brilliantly written, frank, intimate and expertly read. Experienced a whole range of emotions listening and overjoyed to hear such sound business advice in this rags to riches journey. A hugely inspirational man and a very highly recommended audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 28 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Jason
    Chicago, IL, USA
    06/11/09
    Overall
    "A business bio from a back seat perspective"

    Although this book follows the typical business biography format (e.g. I was born here, I did this, I accomplished that) it stands above many others in that Caan comes across as a sincere, grounded, like-able guy and offers some insight into his motivations, hopes and worries. His willingness explore the conflict between his own aspirations and those of his father is refreshing and make his story personal. For much of the book the story is not rushed and you gain some real perspective on his experience but the exceptions to that are significant. The most notable examples are the lack of detail dedicated to his two most break-through and career changing events. Sure, once somebody has achieved success and wealth it is interesting to learn how they think and what they do when they are on top of their game, but more focus on the defining moments that lead to the success would have taken this book from pretty good to a must read. He could have chosen to let the reader experience the leap of faith that every first time entrepreneur takes while sharing the set backs as well the first taste of success. Instead of doing that Caan goes from a 19 year old high school drop out who stumbles into a recruiting job to the manager in charge at the flag ship location of one of Brittans most renown recruiting companies in about 1 page. He repeats this mistake in the section about opening his first business. Here, the time between using a personal credit card to fund the start up of his clothing store and realizing enough profit to purchase an outrageous home and open a second location seem to pass with just a brief mention about learning the difference between capital and cash flow. All said, this is a good read especially for entrepreneurs hoping to find motivation in the story of a self-made gazillonaire.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dan
    Fairfax, VA, United States
    10/02/11
    Overall
    "Excellent book"

    It's weird that a business book could be so personal and emotional. I found his life just fascinating and full of good business lessons.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Denis
    pasadena, CA, United States
    05/11/09
    Overall
    "self promotion"

    I really liked how James Caan protrayed himself on the Dragon's Den but in this book I got really sick listening to his continual repetition of the fantastic brilliant mind of James Caan ......
    He has made a lot of money ,this is great but he has not made a scientific breakthrough which saved lives or anything......Boring Self Promotion

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gerardo
    Austin, TX, United States
    08/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Essential for Entrepreneurs"

    James Cann is the Mark Cuban of the UK.
    He is a celebrity in part because of his participation in the Dragon's Den, which is the BBC version of Shark Tank (although it started years earlier). To be honest I did not know about James until I got this book. Now I am a fan.

    I found James' story to be personal, detailed and incredibly insightful. I made a ton of notes even though I have been in business for decades.

    His story, and the process he followed to build Arthur Mann, his first super successful company, are enlightening and should guide any entrepreneur who is aspiring to open a business.

    Aside from the business insights, I enjoyed listening to his story, his context and his personal story from Pakistan to a business celebrity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Newtown, Australia
    24/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic"
    If you could sum up The Real Deal in three words, what would they be?

    A fantastic story of rags to riches and how to create something from nothing using real world examples and experiences. I highly recommend this book for any entrepreneur.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Its all true!


    Which character – as performed by James Caan – was your favorite?

    James Caan


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    27/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Finished in one day,"
    Where does The Real Deal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is definitaly one of the most enjoyable books i have listened to. I began in the morning and took the day off work to finish it.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When James realised that recruiting was a sales pitch in chapter 7


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I Did


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • zman
    Baltimore
    07/11/09
    Overall
    "Simply awesome"

    I really liked listening to James Caan. He engaged me from the beginning and his life story is truly amazing. I could not put the iPod down until I finished the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

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