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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant in-depth analysis of the Eisner era!
This is without doubt one of the best business books I have read in years. It is a gripping account of how Eisner solely controlled The Walt Disney Company without any regard for shareholders nor the competent executives serving under him. This is a must-read for anybody who is employed in any sense of the word. Eisner was a serial killer of corporate careers and this...
Published on 19 May 2006 by M. A. Verdickt

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars apologies but ....
... I must didn't quite get this book. I thought the subject would be so gripping, and it is probably my fault, but I just couldn't get into it. I found the structure darted around too much and I never quite understood how the major players developed or got to their positions of power. Whenever i put the book down I had to struggle to pick it back up and start reading...
Published on 3 Mar 2012 by Chris Miller


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant in-depth analysis of the Eisner era!, 19 May 2006
By 
M. A. Verdickt "Marialine" (Middle East) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom (Paperback)
This is without doubt one of the best business books I have read in years. It is a gripping account of how Eisner solely controlled The Walt Disney Company without any regard for shareholders nor the competent executives serving under him. This is a must-read for anybody who is employed in any sense of the word. Eisner was a serial killer of corporate careers and this book may give you some insight into the antics that may go on in any company. At least, it may provide you with some strategies to predict and counteract a boss who is outright dishonest, vicious and intolerant of any criticism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful!, 11 Aug 2005
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Disneywar (Hardcover)
Pulitzer prize winner James B. Stewart paints a portrait of Michael Eisner that has more in common with a totalitarian dictator than with most CEOs. Stewart is careful, though, to trace the Walt Disney Company's growth and success under Eisner, even though he was really running Disney for the benefit of just a handful of people - including himself. And, just as carefully, Stewart traces the company's spiraling internal chaos. The pluses: the author tells an instructive, intricate corporate saga in intriguing detail. Minuses: He is no expert on the film industry and the narrative doesn't build much momentum. Frustratingly, although no doubt for sound reportorial reasons, he also mostly refuses to draw conclusions until the short final chapter. We recommend this troubling portrait of corporate excess and misbehavior to all managers and to students of entertainment and media as a lesson on the pitfalls of untamed corporate politics and unbridled CEO power.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and highly informative book, 13 July 2005
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disneywar (Hardcover)
In 1984, the beloved Disney Corporation was in trouble, seen as a likely target for takeover and dismemberment. And then the Disney board of directors brought in Michael Eisner, a seasoned Hollywood creature, who had never even seen a Disney movie but knew how to successfully run a corporation. By 2004 Disney Corporation was one of the largest Hollywood corporations, but in decline, and Eisner was touted as the "Magic Kingdom's evil emperor." What happened to Disney and Eisner, and how did they get from one state of affairs to the other? Read this book and find out!
I must say, this is one of the most fascinating books that I have read in a long time. The author does an excellent job of showing the many personalities of the people at Disney, especially Michael Eisner himself. The back cover of the book touts it as a tragic tale that could have been written by William Shakespeare, and I must say that I am inclined to agree.
Overall I found this to be a fascinating and highly informative book. If you have watched the rise and decline of Disney, and want to know what really happened inside, then this is the book for you. I highly recommend it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars lies and double dealing as one person after another falls foul of his growing suspicion and megalomania, 4 July 2014
This book, far from being just an insight into Disney, offers a fascinating look at the very nature of the entertainment industry itself and just how exposed it is to the petty foibles of human nature as any other walk of life.

Although the book touches on a long list of Disney’s executives and affiliates, it’s primary focus is Micheal Eisner, the company’s longest serving CEO. In painstaking detail, the narrative plots his rise and fall amid a seemingly endless parade of intrigue, animosity, lies and double dealing as one person after another falls foul of his growing suspicion and megalomania. As a testament to the corrupting influence of power, the account of the events which lead ultimately to his forced resignation is an old story made all the more fascinating as it is set against the backdrop of one of the world’s most recognized and respected brand names.

Politics aside, the book also offers a mesmerizing insight into the creative process, with no end of fascinating anecdotes about some of the most iconic television and movie events of the last two decades. One such that I found particularly interesting was the story behind the creation of Pirates of the Caribbean, a project in many ways conceived as a slight to the sensibilities of the very institution that sponsored it, much to the horror of many of the executives involved.

As damning as the book is of Eisner, it’s difficult to conclude whether the man should be castigated for his many personal flaws, pitied for the hopelessness of his position, or applauded for the many things he did ultimately get right. In the end, I settled for the middle ground. It’s easy to imagine that things might have worked out better for Disney had Eisner never been there, but more realistically, I would argue that he simply outlasted his own ability to stay sane in a position of almost unlimited power, a situation that inevitably degenerated, as all such arrangements eventually do.

All in all, I found the book hard to put down. It is professionally written and well researched. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the workings of the entertainment industry in general, and Disney in particular.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ALL DISNEY FANS MUST READ! Aexcellent read, 12 May 2014
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Excellent! Amazing book I finally got around to reading. Learnt so much about The Magic Kingdom. Absolutely worth the money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a real page turner......................., 26 Oct 2013
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a facinating and in-depth look into big busness. and they dont come any bigger. a spotlight into what it takes to be the best and how easy it is to fall.
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5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTAYED HIS WELCOME, 18 Feb 2013
By 
DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Disney War (Hardcover)
This book by former Page-One editor of The Wall Street Journal and Pulitzer Prize winner, James B Stewart takes a detailed look at the reign of Michael Eisner at the top of the pile at The Walt Disney Co, from his joining in 1984 through to his being eased out in 2004.

Despite his arrogance and almost total insensitivity which intensified as the years passed, Michael Eisner for the first part of his stewardship must be given full credit for turning a faltering animation and amusement park company into one of the world's most sucessful suppliers of home entertainment. With the invaluable help of his number two and proverbial 'sweeper-up of the Eisner tsunami of hyper-activity, President Frank Wells, he transformed a sleeping 'seen-better-days' entertainment once-goliath into a vibrant, inovative, cutting edge, commercially sucessful outfit.

However, after the untimely death of Frank Wells in 1994, it all deteriorated with Eisner proceeding to turn himself into the 'villain' of the piece (worthy of one of his animated nasty characters) displaying an unedifying serving of megalomanic and insidious management style which alienated just about every talented senior executive, and important corporate partners. Among the many who experienced Eisner's arrogant and disengenuous modus operandi were Michael Ovitz, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Roy Disney (who he kicked off the board), Harvey Weinstein, and last but not least Steve Jobs, boss of Pixar, the massively sucessful animation company, that was making lots of money and market penetration for Disney from joint ventures. Jobs got to the stage with Eisner that he totally mistrusted him and refused to deal with him further.

Eventually Eisner was brought down by the tactile Roy Disney and his friend and former Disney Board member Stanley Gold, who engineered a campaign to unseat Eisner from initially the position of CEO but a complete severance from the company in short order.

This is a masterful work of investigative journalism, which is highly informative, interesting, and a great read. Highly recommended and a compulsive experience.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating look into a very un-typical boardroom, 23 Oct 2012
This review is from: Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom (Paperback)
There's little fun to be found in this book. To start with it's pretty hefty, with my hardback version coming in at almost six hundred pages. It's also quite serious, being a business study of one of the darkest periods in Disney's corporate history.

If the above hasn't put you off and you can get hold of this volume at a reasonable price then you're in for a treat. It's a fascinating account of Roy E. Disney's attempts to oust Michael Eisner from the company's boardroom in the early years of the 21st century.

Pulitzer prize-winner Stewart had access to both camps and gives a glorious account of a company in danger of destroying itself from the inside out... and coming through the battle scarred but arguably stronger than ever. He paints a balanced picture of Eisner as micro-managing control freak who wanted to run the company as his personal empire and didn't mind who he upset on the way - but got some amazing results too. And Roy Disney comes across as a man living in giants' shadows, trying to clear up a mess that he knew he was largely responsible for creating.

It would be a great read if it were about any large company. The fact that so many of the major players - both real and fictional - are known to us makes it all the sweeter.
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3.0 out of 5 stars apologies but ...., 3 Mar 2012
By 
Chris Miller (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom (Paperback)
... I must didn't quite get this book. I thought the subject would be so gripping, and it is probably my fault, but I just couldn't get into it. I found the structure darted around too much and I never quite understood how the major players developed or got to their positions of power. Whenever i put the book down I had to struggle to pick it back up and start reading again as I didn't feel any great excitement about what might happen next. everyone else seemed to enjoy the book hugely so I must have just missed something.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, 25 Feb 2012
By 
Brawny Withed (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom (Paperback)
Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom is an interesting and engaging book describing the boardroom politic's of The Walt Disney Company during the eighties, nineties and early noughties with Michael Eisner at the helm of the ship.

The main characters in the book are Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roy E Disney.

The writing is superb and for me their was never a dull moment in the book. Stewart's prologue to the book when he describes his experience being Goofy for the day at Disneyland is very humorous and an insight into the backstage magic that happens at the parks.

The book is also full of anecdotes about Walt Disney himself and Hollywood in general. If you have seen the Documentary 'Waking Sleeping Beauty' by Don Hahn the book discusses the story in greater depth.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Film, Disney and Business.
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Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom
Disneywar: The Battle for the Magic Kingdom by James B. Stewart (Paperback - 6 Mar 2006)
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