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Work in Progress: Risking Failure, Surviving Success

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  178 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In 1964, NBC clerk Michael Eisner made $65 a week.

Though he only took one business course in his life--accounting--he did have a head for business: as CEO of Disney, he earned over half a billion bucks in 1997. Though he had no foundation in finance, he averted the bloody dismemberment of Disney by takeover sharks when he took over in 1984, and by May 1998 he earned over $
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 15th 1999 by Kingswell (first published 1998)
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Barry Bridges
Apr 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Eisner's very own personal highlight reel. Don't go looking for any hints to Disney's success, any shared business acumen, or even any lessons from mistakes. The only thing you learn is Disney and Eisner are successful at telling stories and a good story has to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. He speaks of reworking the second or third act, but gives no clues as to what the problems were, how they were handled, or what made the uncompelling story suddenly a compelling blockbuster. Still, ...more
3.5 stars. If you are interested in this chapter of Disney's history then I recommend checking out the book Disney War by James B Stewart. It gives a "behind the scenes" look at all the events Eisner describes but arguably from a more unbiased perspective.

Work in Progress is a play-by-play of Eisner's work at Disney, up to 1998. He is cocky but that's probably what makes him a successful ceo. Don't read this book if you're looking for interesting anecdotes on the creative work of Disney. Instead
Nov 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book soon after it came out. While it was interesting to read about how Eisner came to be President and CEO of Disney, it was rather absurd the way he spent most of the time stroking his own ego. If you're looking for a good "story" this is a good book. If you're looking for business advice or an accurate description of what life was like inside Eisner's Disney empire I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

I guess that should be expected of an autobiography, though.
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: filmmaking
Really interesting, even if you're not an Eisner fan, it covers a lot of the history in the entertainment industry and at Disney. It is a bit dated, and it's kind of funny to hear about their new ventures in Animal Kingdom and China. Also, it does have some dated business styles, which are still widely practiced today, but not in a social media world.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book about the trials and tribulations of Eisner's time at Disney. Yes..he is an egomaniac but he did some great things during his time at Disney. As a result, thousands of people owe him a "thank you" for his hard work and dedication.

Is this a GREAT business book..NO. Is it worth reading..YES..especially if you are a fan of the work he did at Disney.
Mirah W
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a leadership class in grad school...I think the concepts Eisner includes are great for anyone wanting to be a better leader. I have too many points underlined in the book to even serves as a reference book of sorts for me.
Joe Thacker
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
What had really stuck with me is how Disney leverages assets so much better than anyone else and how this creates not only incredible profits but also a sustainable competitive advantage that still holds today. Not enough companies really understand leverage and how to benefit from it.
Amy Wolf
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
A self-serving hagiography. Really, everything in this book is utter B.S. -- trust me, I worked in Hollywood during Eisner's reign. Pass.
Philip Johnsey
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the stories of risk, failure and ultimate success. Too often we're afraid to try because we might fail. We need to realize that its a "work in progress"
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. My main memories of Michael Eisner are of hosting the "Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights.
Manish Patel
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Provides good insight into Disney's organization, decision making with regards to business acquisitions, site selections and deal structuring and failures during Michael Eisner's term through 1998.
Lori Grant
A should-read autobiograpy on leadership for knowledge workers, managers, directors, C-levels, and entrepreneurs.
Nick Benson
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you like Disney or are just interested in the complexities of the entertainment industry, this is a very good book about a smart man who has been in the trenches.
Michael Eisner... some say saviour... others say not.

This autobiography gives his own version of his rise to head the Disney empire - filled with otherwise unknown facts.
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“Even the most talented executives are a blend of strengths and weaknesses, light and dark. One of the most difficult jobs in running a company is to keep people’s energies focused by giving them new challenges. As we looked for the next generation of leaders at Disney, only those who could handle highly varied responsibilities were going to be candidates. The company had become too interdependent to rely on highly specialized managers with narrow sets of skills. I was less drawn to people with perfect credentials for a given job than to those who had strong underlying qualities such as common sense, character, creativity, and passion. With those traits—and the right training and support—people tend to succeed at whatever jobs they’re given.” 1 likes
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