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The Biggest Game of All

The Biggest Game of All

The Inside Strategies, Tactics, and Temperaments That Make Great Dealmakers Great

Do you make deals?
Do you want to learn how the best
dealmakers in the world do it?

Everyone -- and certainly every business -- makes deals. Whether you are an automobile dealer negotiating to buy another, or Exxon merging with Mobil in a $76 billion transaction, the craft of dealmaking is everywhere. And like any craft, dealmaking has its apprentices, its journeymen...and its masters. Leo Hindery, Jr., is one of those masters of the negotiating table -- a man who has steered home more than 240 business deals over the last twenty-five years, deals worth well in excess of $150 billion. In The Biggest Game of All, he brings readers inside the rooms where he has worked his wizardry, sometimes in partnership with, and sometimes against, the best dealmaking businessmen of our time, including General Electric's Jack Welch, Jerry Levin of AOL Time Warner, TCI's John Malone, George Steinbrenner, Barry Diller, and Rupert Murdoch.
Through detailed narratives of the key moments in some of the biggest deals of our time -- including AT&T's $60 billion purchase of the cable giant MediaOne, the $54 billion sale of TeleCommunications, Inc. (a deal done in only twelve days), and the USA Networks/Seagram swap -- The Biggest Game of All is a true master class in dealmaking, showing all the inside strategies, tactics, and temperaments that make great dealmakers great. And at the center of the master class are Leo Hindery's ten commandments of dealmaking:
#1. Do more homework than the other guy.
#2. Look before you leap to the altar. You may love him, but you can't change him.
#3. Deals should be done as fast as possible...but no faster.
#4. Remember that you are only as good as the women and men around you. (And so is the other guy.)
#5. Learn how to walk away.
#6. Have adversaries, if need be. But don't have enemies.
#7. Read the fine print.
#8. Don't keep score on things that don't matter.
#9. Hang in there.
#10. Learn to keep your mouth shut.
Leo Hindery's vantage point from the very peak of the dealmaking pyramid is the ideal place to observe, and therefore to understand, what separates good deals -- those intended to improve a company's strategic prospects -- from bad. At a time when the costs of business decisions made out of fear, confusion, and greed have never been higher or more newsworthy, knowing good from bad might be the most important dealmaking skill of all.
No one who reads this insider's look at the incredible speed with which these human calculators make billion- dollar decisions, and at their fundamental, almost intuitive understanding of their own and other enterprises, will look at American business the same way again. The Biggest Game of All is that rarest of business books, instructive, enlightening, and just plain fun...a ringside seat at the real World Series of Poker, where the chips are worth a billion dollars each.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 280 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743229012 | 
  • July 2007
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Dealmakers Who Make a Difference

I was looking across the negotiating table and thinking to myself: This stops right now.

As CEO of AT&T Broadband, I had told the world a few weeks earlier that AT&T planned to buy MediaOne Group for $62.5 billion. Our offer blindsided Brian Roberts, the president of Comcast, who had announced his own plans to buy MediaOne just a month before that. Now Brian, who was seated across the table from me, was in a tough spot. He had to decide if he was going to stand down and lose MediaOne, or hang tough and fight us with a counter-offer.

The situation was tense, and... see more

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