Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tales of Boardroom Power

I've been reading Barbarians at the Gate, a collaboration of Bryan Burrough and John Helyar written in 1990 about the leveraged buyout(LBO) of tobacco giant RJR Nabisco. If you want a glimpse of a world so exclusive, extravagant, and rich, you will find it here. If envy is one of your weaknesses, avoid this book. The players in this game are wealthy beyond compare, and the totally fascinating part about it, to me, is they got this way by borrowing other peoples money. The players in this game didn't build RJR Nabisco, they sold it. They climbed the LBO ladder by selling other companies, not by building them. Absolutely astounding. The road to riches is not through hard labor, but through hard bargaining.

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