Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel by Jerry Oppenheimer | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel

Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel

4.3 9
by Jerry Oppenheimer
     
 

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An eye-popping, unauthorized exposéof the House of Barbie

From Boise to Beijing, Mattel's toys dominate the universe. Its no-fun-and-games marketing muscle reaches some 140 countries, and its iconic products have been a part of our culture for generations. Now, in this intriguing and entertaining exposé, New York Times bestselling author Jerry

Overview

An eye-popping, unauthorized exposéof the House of Barbie

From Boise to Beijing, Mattel's toys dominate the universe. Its no-fun-and-games marketing muscle reaches some 140 countries, and its iconic products have been a part of our culture for generations. Now, in this intriguing and entertaining exposé, New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer places the world's largest toy company under a journalistic microscope, uncovering the dark side of toy land, and exploring Mattel's oddball corporate culture and eccentric, often bizarre, cast of characters.

Based on exclusive interviews and an exhaustive review of public and private records, Toy Monster exposes Mattel's take-no-prisoners, shark-infested corporate style. Throughout this scrupulously reported, unauthorized portrait, you'll discover how dangerous toys are actually nothing new to Mattel, and why its fearsomely litigious approach within the brutal toy business has helped their products dominate potential rivals such as Bratz.

  • Introduces you to the larger-than-life personalities that have shaped Mattel's eccentric world
  • Offers an inside look- from an experienced author-at the scandals that have been a part of this iconic company
  • Jerry Oppenheimer is also the author of Madoff with the Money, an in-depth look at Bernie Madoff the man and his billion dollar scam

Engaging and accessible, Toy Monster shows you why today's toy business isn't always fun and games.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Oppenheimer (Just Desserts) takes a tour of Mattel's seamier side, highlighting its dubious corporate practices and kooky cast in this scathing portrait to be published to coincide with Barbie's 50th anniversary. Drawing on personal interviews and public sources, Oppenheimer paints a bleak picture of the peculiar practices of the adults running the toy company-including the "playboy" Jack Ryan, known as the "Father of Barbie" and rumored to be sexually obsessed with his creation, and Mattel cofounder and white-collar criminal Ruth Handler, who took credit for Barbie's invention. The author chronicles the "Doll Wars"-the fierce competition and eventual litigation between Mattel and the creators of the rival Bratz line, as well as 2007's "Black Friday the 13th," when potentially deadly magnets and lead paint in the company's most popular toys led to two massive recalls. Executive scapegoats and backpedaling resulted in public lashing from the media and intense public mistrust. Fast-paced and engaging, this exposé will absorb readers until the last page and will forever change the way they think about the company. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Journalist and pop biographer Oppenheimer (e.g., Front Row; Anna Wintour) here covers the more sensational side of the toy industry with this unauthorized company history of Mattel. He begins by focusing on Jack Ryan, who was hired by Mattel for research and development and who claimed to be the "Father of Barbie." Much is made of Ryan's sexual peccadilloes, including requiring his wives and girlfriends to hew as closely to Barbie's physical characteristics as possible, going so far as encouraging them to have plastic surgery and take diet pills. The book continues through the history of Mattel, including the rise and fall of Jill Barad (CEO from 1996 to 2000) and her replacement by Robert Eckert, former Kraft CEO. It also outlines the changing marketplace, including the creation of the He-Man action figure, the uproar caused by the emergence of the competing Bratz dolls, and the recent liability suits brought by parents of children tragically injured or killed through lead paint and tiny magnets in Mattel products. Marking the dark side behind the decline of yet another iconic American company, this is a tabloid-style book covering tabloid topics. Purchase only where there is interest.
—Susan Hurst

From the Publisher
"Jerry Oppenheimer, best known for mordant biographies like "Just Desserts" (about Martha Stewart) or "State of a Union" (on Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage), has now trained his sights on the world's biggest toy company — its egos, scandals and flawed products. In his toyland, nothing is cute." (The Wall Street Journal)

Oppenheimer (Just Desserts) takes a tour of Mattel’s seamier side, highlighting its dubious corporate practices and kooky cast in this scathing portrait to be published to coincide with Barbie’s 50th anniversary. Drawing on personal interviews and public sources, Oppenheimer paints a bleak picture of the peculiar practices of the adults running the toy company—including the “playboy” Jack Ryan, known as the “Father of Barbie” and rumored to be sexually obsessed with his creation, and Mattel cofounder and white-collar criminal Ruth Handler, who took credit for Barbie’s invention. The author chronicles the “Doll Wars”—the fierce competition and eventual litigation between Mattel and the creators of the rival Bratz line, as well as 2007’s “Black Friday the 13th,” when potentially deadly magnets and lead paint in the company’s most popular toys led to two massive recalls. Executive scapegoats and backpedaling resulted in public lashing from the media and intense public mistrust. Fast-paced and engaging, this exposé will absorb readers until the last page and will forever change the way they think about the company. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, January 26, 2009)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470548585
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
02/02/2010
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
542,309
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

JERRY OPPENHEIMER has written eight biographies of major American icons, from Martha Stewart and Barbara Walters to the Clintons and Kennedys, and has worked in all facets of journalism, from national investigative reporting in Washington, D.C., to producing TV news and documentaries. He's quoted in magazines such as Vanity Fair, and is a frequent guest on national TV interview and syndicated magazine shows, including Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Anderson Cooper 360, Nancy Grace, BBC News, Fox News, and more.

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