Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures With the Titans, Poseurs, and Money Guys Who Mastered and Messed Up Big Media

Autumn of the Moguls: My Misadventures With the Titans, Poseurs, and Money Guys Who Mastered and Messed Up Big Media

by Michael Wolff
     
 

Astute, brutally honest, and always provocative chronicler of assorted media-world implosions Michael Wolff has sorted through the wreckage of fallen media empires and fearlessly deconstructed the peculiar psychology behind the mess. A former media entrepreneur himself, Wolff has had a ringside seat as the conglomeratized worlds of newspapers, magazines, television

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Overview

Astute, brutally honest, and always provocative chronicler of assorted media-world implosions Michael Wolff has sorted through the wreckage of fallen media empires and fearlessly deconstructed the peculiar psychology behind the mess. A former media entrepreneur himself, Wolff has had a ringside seat as the conglomeratized worlds of newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and the Internet have taken often bewildering turns.

In Autumn of the Moguls, Wolff explains it all, taking on the great (and not-so-great) characters of the age, including:

  • AOL Time Warner's Gerald Levin, Steve Case, Bob Pittman, and Walter Isaacson;
  • New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.;
  • Viacom's Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmazin;
  • Disgraced domestic goddess Martha Stewart;
  • Would-be media empress Tina Brown;
  • Legendary kahuna Barry Diller;
  • Media mogul turned New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg;
  • Disney czar Michael Eisner;
  • And an outrageous cast of self-proclaimed creative geniuses, short-sighted (and often short) financiers, and shameless politicians who attempt and frequently succeed in manipulating the media.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
[Wolff] never really pauses to make a sustained argument on behalf of his thesis, nor is there a story per se. Driving the narrative is, of all things, a conference: early in the book he is invited to participate in a media conference, and hundreds of pages later, he does. This is a daredevil level of anti-plot, and you have to admire it for sheer nerve. He gets away with it because the real point here is the tangents, the asides, the riffs. Wolff loves to riff, and it suits his style, which manages to be breezy and grandiose at the same time. — Rob Walker
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Michael Wolff. Harper Business, $25 (272p) ISBN 0-06-662113-5 When the Internet boom began, Wolff set out to make a fortune and wound up with a bestselling memoir chronicling his failure (Burn Rate). Successfully reinventing himself as an industry pundit, most notably for New York magazine, he's reached the point where, as he boasts here, "[I]f there was a media party, I'd be invited to it." (He can even produce a guest list as proof.) This book centers on one such party: an industry conference where he's enlisted to interview Rupert Murdoch. Onto this foundation he piles digression after digression until he has offered up a catty remark about just about every major player in the media biz. Thus "gray and corpulent" Fox News head Roger Ailes is "one of the great creepy figures of the age," and even Walter Isaacson, acknowledged as the "fantasy life" figure for journalists of the author's generation, is eventually skewered as "the most self-important person in [his] class at Harvard." All this heel-nipping serves as anecdotal support for Wolff's contention that the industry is a chain of con games in which the last domino is about to fall and Wolff is the only one brave enough to say so. Eventually, every topic returns to the subject of the author as industry outsider, with other people existing so that he might have opinions of them. A thin veneer of self-effacement does nothing to blunt the tremendous display of ego slathered over this superficial analysis. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (Nov. 4) Forecast: The publisher plans ads in the New York Times and the New Yorker, a 25-city national radio campaign, a 15-city NPR campaign and author appearances in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. All of that publicity may not help sell as many books as the publisher hopes, however, since this title lacks Burn Rate's consistency and fair-mindedness. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
New York media columnist Wolff (Burn Rate) presents an up-close examination of the people who drove the media business to new highs and new lows in the boom years. The book provides ample context as it covers the shifts in the culture of business, the evolution of global economics, and the revolution of media consolidation. Yet, somehow it always comes down to the personalities of the "moguls" making the deals (e.g., Michael Eisner, Rupert Murdoch, Barry Diller, and Edgar Bronfman). In some ways, it is a lesson in the power of ego to facilitate unprecedented change, but it is also an opportunity for the author to drop names; his Manhattan address and role as a media columnist give him access to global players. He writes about the people he lives near and with whom he peripherally works at one point to plan a major conference on the future of the global media giants. This is a book on the media, but it is really about the world-shaping personalities who drove major media enterprises to collapse. Though not essential reading, it would provide business students with a sense of the current ways of the world.-Stephen Turner, Turner & Associates, San Francisco Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780066621135
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/04/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
381
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.28(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Wolff is a National Magazine Award winner and two-time nominee. His weekly column in New York magazine, "This Media Life," is one of the most influential commentaries about the media industry. He is the author of the best-selling Burn Rate and of the books White Kids and Where We Stand, which became a multipart PBS series. He is a frequent guest commentator on a wide range of national television news shows. His work also appears regularly in the Guardian newspaper in London. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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