Barbarians at the Gate

by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

A good book.

As someone starting my own PE firm, I wanted to read this book to understand the mindset of the dealmakers in the PE industry. The book delivered. Reading about the battle for Nabisco reminded me the dynamic of my negotiations selling my first starups. There are days where nothing happen, and then there are hours where days happens.

Another thing in the book that jumped out to me was the junk bond industry. Forstmann Littleā€™s stance against it made sense. Their operating philosphy of building family-like relationships with operators made sense. Today, despite all that, Forstmann Little is a footnote while KKR (the opposite of Forstmann) has become the leading name in private equity. As a society, we often cherish the heroes that swim against the tide and emerge victorious. What we fail to see is that there are many more skeletons like Forstmann who struggled and was crushed by the tide.


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