Work in Progress

Work in Progress

by Michael D. Eisner, Tony Schwartz
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Work in Progress by Michael D. Eisner, Tony Schwartz

Scores of books have been published about business, but rarely has a CEO as prominent as Michael Eisner of The Walt Disney Company written so intimately about his life and work. In Work in Progress, Eisner describes the daily challenge of a rapidly changing marketplace, countless creative choices, painful setbacks, and dramatic triumphs. For more than 30 years, Michael Eisner has lived and worked at the center of American popular culture. At ABC, as a young executive, he helped bring to life shows such as 'Happy Days' and the miniseries 'Roots'. As president of Paramount Pictures, he was responsible for films ranging from 'Beverly Hills Cop' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' to 'Terms of Endearment' and 'The Elephant Man'. As chairman of The Walt Disney Company for the past 14 years, he has orchestrated the transformation of a beloved but struggling company into a multimedia giant in movies, television, radio, theme parks, theater, and even cyberspace.

Having spent his life helping other people to tell stories, Eisner now tells his own -- with humor, insight, and unstinting honesty. He recounts such significant events as the extraordinary revival of Disney's animation business and the negotiations for one of the largest acquisitions in corporate history -- Cap Cities/ABC -- which began in an Idaho parking lot. He is just as forthcoming about the early struggles of Disneyland Paris and the fierce opposition that finally helped to derail Disney's America theme park. Blending the personal and the professional, he tells the stories of the tragic death of his partner and closest confidante, Frank Wells; his own emergency quadruple bypass surgery; the high-level personnel changes that followed; and the emergence of a new generation of young leaders at Disney. Throughout Work in Progress, we watch Eisner grappling with the often paradoxical choices that he faces each day in managing a creative company. What is the proper balance between art and commerce, tradition and innovation, short-term profit and long-term growth, pragmatism and excellence -- the company's good and the greater good? Like no other business memoir, Work in Progress is a riveting tale of high-pressure life at the top -- an ongoing drama about risking failure and surviving success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375500718
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/16/1998
Pages: 450
Product dimensions: 6.44(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.46(d)

About the Author

Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jane. They have three sons. He will donate all the author royalties from this book to a special fund for the education of children of Disney employees.

Tony Schwartz has worked as a writer and associate editor for Newsweek, and as a reporter for The New York Times. He is the coauthor with Donald Trump of the number one bestselling Art of the Deal. His most recent book was What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

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Work in Progress 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
Imagine a multi-million dollar business that revolves around a mouse. How could this be so? Who hasn't heard about Mickey Mouse, who originally was going to be called Mortimer by creator Walt Disney until Brother Roy suggested Mickey. In Work in Progress by Michael Eisner with Tony Schwartz you get the behind the scenes of the magic of the Disney empire, where he served as head. This book is semi-autobiographical, reflective, and confessional. Eisner disclaims the rumor that Walt Disney is cryogenically frozen. He traveled himself to the relatively hidden memorial site at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California where his ashes are buried in a tiny, overgrown plot. Eisner openly discuss his health issues and recognizing his mortality. He shares, "I felt unsettled, close to panic. Moments later, I experienced intense pain, not just in my arms but also in my neck and chest. My anxiety was making the pain worse. The next thing I knew, I was being wheeled into the emergency room. All I could think of was ER, the pilot I'd just watched. Suddenly, I was living it." This business man is chronicles his climb to the top from television to movies to Disney filled with details of the nasty behind the scenes turf battles. The unexpected death of the President of Disney Frank Wells and how he had to carry the full burden of the company's responsibility. How many of the icons of the entertainment industry began with a silly idea. For instance on ideas Eisner states, "When an idea can't be articulated simply, crisply and accessibly, there is usually something wrong with it. When I hear a good idea, it has an effect on my mind and body. Sometimes I feel it in my stomach, other times in my throat, still others on my skin- a kind of instant truth detector test." A bit dated since it was written in 1998, the book does have charm and valuable insight into the entertainment world from someone who had a front row seat.