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The Real Deal

My Story from Brick Lane to Dragons' Den
Narrated by: James Caan
Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (301 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

"The Real Deal".

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

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and entertaining

Really enjoyed listening to this book and would recommend it to anyone either as a decent business book or a good autobiography

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 13-09-11

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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worth Listening More Than Once

Great book. Bought the audible on two device’s that’s how good it is. I don’t usually listen to audible books twice this one is awesome

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Book

This was a brilliant story or determination and resilience.
I never knew how James Caan started his life. Very uplifting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Real Nice Guy

This book was a great listen, James comes across as a genuine and real nice guy and perhaps the least famous but nicest of the dragons ! He has given me plenty of food for thought in terms of running my business.
I found myself really connecting with him and I’m now tying to figure out how I can buy him a coffee !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book

Very informative and interesting. Absolutely loved it and picked up some great advice. Definitely worth the read.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SBTA247
  • 06-11-09

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 10-02-11

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Tucker
  • 20-09-19

Great read. Really interesting & inspiring book.

I've listened to this book twice as I enjoyed it so much. A very interesting life story of someone who has clearly lived his life to the full. In awe of his approach to life & humility.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mpb
  • 06-07-17

the best book of the year

I am a 8 years audible fan. The book was recommended through the algorithm of what I should like. I purchased it and i was so pleasantly surprised. James Caan career and life story as of today is so well written, the audio is fabulous. He does a fantastic job at story telling. I didn't even know of him prior to this book. the book is entertaining, educating, stimulating. Thank you for sharing and you had an amazing impact on how i will continue my career in technology and serve the world.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gerardo A Dada
  • 08-09-14

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 24-11-13

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 27-10-12

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Denis
  • 05-11-09

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • zman
  • 07-11-09

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.