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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

'As FT editor, I was a privileged interlocutor to people in power around the world, each offering unique insights into high-level decision-making and political calculation, often in moments of crisis. These diaries offer snapshots of leadership in an age of upheaval....'

Lionel Barber was editor of the Financial Times for the tech boom, the global financial crisis, the rise of China, Brexit and mainstream media's fight for survival in the age of fake news.

In this unparalleled, no-holds-barred diary of life behind the headlines, he reveals the private meetings and exchanges with political leaders on the eve of referendums, the conversations with billionaire bankers facing economic meltdown, exchanges with Silicon Valley tech gurus and pleas from foreign emissaries desperate for inside knowledge, all against the backdrop of a wildly shifting media landscape.

The result is a fascinating - and at times scathing - portrait of power in our modern age; who has it, what it takes and what drives the men and women with the world at their feet. Featuring close encounters with Trump, Cameron, Blair, Putin, Merkel and Mohammed Bin Salman and many more, this is a rare portrait of the people who continue to shape our world and who quite literally make the news.

©2020 Lionel Barber (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"An extraordinary personal and professional insight into 15 years of tumultuous times." (Tony Blair)

"Riveting - a world of power, money, ego and disaster, as witnessed from the front row." (Philippe Sands)

"Brutal, brilliant and scurrilously funny...don't miss it." (Misha Glenny) 

What listeners say about The Powerful and the Damned

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting but not enlightening

Barber is very congratulatory of his own performance. I am certain the book could have been significantly more revealing. The book is interesting but not enlightening.

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The backstory, which is more interesting than the headline.

Lionel Barber shares the backstory to many scoops that the FT was involved in. Importantly, he also shared his personal story on becoming the Editor. If you want to know the story behind the need and learn about the comms and influence then it’s worth a read!

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A lively diary of a decade leading the FT

Lots of interesting snippets and characters. Some self-aggrandisement but that’s the nature of such books. A reporter at heart, rather than a visionary but he did give the FT a fresh impetus.

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Interesting, informative & entertaining

An all round great account of a well-respected newspaper, insight into world class reporting, global & European affairs & life as an editor. I am far from a finance boffin but Lionel Barber made some of the more confusing elements of economics understandable.

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Reasonable listen but fairly pompous

Very light on the financial crisis, at times tin eared and pompous but a reasonable listen nonetheless. I'm a longtime FT subscriber so was interested in the evolution of the newspaper. I found some of Barber's anecdotes quite dull and (as important as it was) the expose of the Presidents Club was given more attention than the financial crisis and the FT's alertness to it. Sense of airbrushing throughout.

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  • O. Buraimoh
  • 02-01-21

Truly disappointing

Horrible book with a lot of promise but its only success was in how completely disappointing it is. I so much looked forward to this book for insight and a telling of contemporary political history from the viewpoint of someone with a frontline seat. Instead, the author might as well have published his deeply boring diary of his period in office infused with never-ending asides about his role in charting the course of the newspaper he edited. He should have stuck to editing. I want my money back!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-20

So captivating

Brilliant narration, impeccable English, enjoyed every line of it! Fantastic insight into world politics and journalism!