Disney war by james b stewart well-researched, well-written book that may be too detailed for most
DisneyWar by James B. Stewart Well-Researched, Well-Written Book That May Be Too Detailed For MostJames Stewart has done it again. The author of the mega-bestselling Denof Thieves, about the 1980s insider-trading scandals on Wall Street, andBloodsport, the 1990s tale of the Clintons Whitewater affair, now gives usanother epic story, this one culminating in late 2004. With DisneyWar,Stewart turns his investigative and storytelling lens on Michael Eisner andthe corporate intrigue which has overtaken the Walt Disney Company inthe last decade. He explains how this once-proud institution, long one ofAmericas most admired and well-known businesses, has stumbled inrecent years amid a disastrous swirl of egos, personalities, and badbusiness decisions. Like one of the roller coasters at DisneyLand,Stewarts epic book takes readers through a wild up-and-down ride as itdescribes Eisners regime as CEO. The tale begins with Eisners earlysuccesses rejuvenating Disneys live-action movie franchise and themeparks, the kickoff of the modern animation era with blockbuster hits likeThe Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, and the cultivation of a highlytalented cadre of lieutenants, which reads like a Whos Who of executive
talent now dispersed across the Fortune 500: Stephen Bollenbach (HiltonHotels), Steve Burke (Comcast), Geraldine Laybourne (Oxygen Media),Richard Nanula (Amgen), Joe Roth (Revolution Studios), and so on.Stewart makes clear that Eisner has had a major eye for strong creativecontent himself, both as a young executive in his pre-Disney years at ABCand at Paramount Pictures and more recently in building partnerships likeDisneys extremely lucrative one with Pixar. Just as he credits Eisner forvarious Disney successes, though, Stewart assigns blame for the failures,too. The thoroughly researched 534 pages of DisneyWar make clear thathis overall verdict on the CEO is negative. Much of the book describesdetailed and specific interactions between Eisner and his rivals. Readersinterested in the entertainment industry or in the personalities which drive itwill not be disappointed. The blow-by-blow accounts of Eisners feuds withDreamworks SKG founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was his chief aide fornearly two decades, and Michael Ovitz, the superagent from CAA who hadbeen friends with Eisner for even longer than that, are amazingly detailed.They show Eisner to be creative, funny, and charming when he wants tobe--and devious, dishonest, and horribly Machiavellian when he doesnt.Though dispassionate in his writing, Stewart assembles a withering portraitof Eisner as a grasping, self-centered, manipulative, and ultimately self-destructive executive. He shows how the Disney CEO has consistentlyundercut his potential successors within the company, in many casesdrawing on Eisners own writings and conversations with board members.He shows how Eisners erratic attitude towards paying severance to formeremployees--in some cases being overly stubborn (as with Katzenberg, towhom he had a chance to close out for $90 million, but whom Disneyended up paying $280 million) and in others being shockingly lenient (aswith Ovitz, who received a $140 million golden parachute after onerelatively ineffective year at the company). He shows the overreach ofgrandiose projects like Euro Disney, and the missed opportunities like Lordof the Rings, Sopranos, and Survivor, on all of which Disney passed. Inthe end, Stewart has returned with DisneyWar to what he does best:drilling into a murky and complex subject, capturing an enormous amountof detail through personal interviews, emails, memos, court records, andother data sources, and then weaving together a rich tapestry of peopleand events to bring others to the same conclusions he has clearly reachedhimself. Though some readers might tire of the reams of detail Stewartoffers--at certain points, the book reads like a gossip rag, with intricate he-said, she-said accounts of individual meetings--most will enjoy it. Beyondthe entertainment value, this book also has serious value to students ofcorporate governance, as it presents a scathing portrait of Disneys captiveboard of directors and shows what happens with the lack of proper CEOoversight. --Peter HanFeatures:* ISBN13: 9780743267090* Condition: NEW* Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.* Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices
This 4 and 1/2-star book is a wonderfully detailed account of the rise andfall of Michael Eisner within the Disney company. It is very well written butneeds some editing--most of the accounts are so detailed that at times youwant to say to the author: "Just summarize it for me!" His access to themajor players allowed him to have minute inside information that includesphysical gestures, specific meals eaten, and phone conversations.In the end Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg look like spoiled brats that useDisney as their playground. You will be disgusted as you read page afterpage of lying and cheating people, while lower-level executives are justyes-men that say anything to keep their jobs. There are few heroes here.Roy Disney is certainly criticized throughout (even called "idiot" and otherbad names) but he seems like the sensible one, whereas the highly -paidguys that run the company seem totally blind to the real world (Eisner hadnever seen an animated Disney movie until the year before he tookover!?!). Ironically, it is Eisner who comes across as the idiot when hefights the pre-production of some of the companys biggest successeswhile championing some of its largest flops. Eisner also never seems toshake his rich-kid persona and is only attracted to hiring young male richkids who carry his same style of bravado.The book does skip over major of the major events in the Disney companyhistory by just mentioning a movie or devoting only a couple paragraphs toa company-altering film. If you are looking for a history of Disney films fromthe past two decades, this isnt the book. They are glossed over to insteadfocus on the business aspects and behind-the-scenes leadership fights.Another problem is that the book often states as fact things that areactually opinions the author gleaned from conversations with one of themajor players. The writer will state conversations as fact but not attributewho reported that version of the discussion.The book also has a couple of really big factual errors, simple things that afact checker should have picked up. At one point the author calls the TVshow "Friends" a "drama" and the hit Disney Channel show is called "ShesSo Raven" instead of the correct title "Thats So Raven."In the end its all about Eisner. He is a total, complete, egomaniacal fake.A born liar who appears to have no ethics. Anything to make a buck andmake himself look good, always worrying about how every tiny move in thecompany will impact him. How in the world did Eisner get away with all ofthis for so many years and then make multiple millions on top of it? Theone person who tried to stop him, Michael Ovitz, was out of the companyfaster than Katzenberg. And for the notorious jerk Ovitz to look like a heromeans Eisner was really a terrible human being!Its a great inside look into how Hollywood operates and the dysfunctionalpeople who run the companies. The lessons learned can apply to anyone
who works for any hierarchy, proving that you should never believeanything those in charge say and the more they praise you the greaterchance they really hate you! The Disney culture ends up being untrut hful,anti-family and one of the worst companies on the planet. It will make younever want to spend a penny on a Disney item again. For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: DisneyWar by James B. Stewart - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!