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Creating Magic

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,324 ratings  ·  208 reviews
It's not the magic that makes it work; it's the way we work that makes it magic.
The secret for creating magic in our careers, our organizations, and our lives is simple: outstanding leadership--the kind that inspires employees, delights customers, and achieves extraordinary business results.
No one knows more about this kind of leadership than Lee Cockerell, the man who r
ebook, 158 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Broadway Business (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,324 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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Josh McConnell
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disney, business
Fantastic book on leadership that anyone in a management or leadership position MUST read. Cockerell says right in the title that it is common sense, but it is amazing how many people don't use common sense. With real world examples, the book is inspiring and should be added to your collection. ...more
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Most likely, a 4.5 rating...

This book was originally given to me by our district superintendent who wanted us to take a look at how we lead and start to change a culture. The book is written by Lee Cockerell, who is the former Executive VP of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort - the epitome of customer service. His expertise of leadership strategies is definitely top notch.

Mr. Cockerell goes through his strategies in a very familiar, easy to read style, with stories throughout, in order to v
Jo Oehrlein
May 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a management book from the man who was head of operations at Disney World for many years. Before that, he led Disneyland Paris (in fact, he was the one who led it in the very beginning) and before that he worked for Marriott.

The book seems very list heavy. There are 10 leadership strategies that each have their own chapter. But within each chapter, there are numbered lists of ways to implement that strategy or components of that strategy.

Because of his background in hotels/restaurants/am
Fahd  Younus
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
If you could teach how to create magic then it won't be magic, it would be chemistry :)

Telling the secret recipe about good business management / leadership is like telling how to loose weight; most of the general principles (eat right, work out) are true but useless to tell and most of the details are more useful for some situations than others and certainly not worthy of generalizations.

The same is the problem with this book. Although you will get some interesting tit bits about Disney along t
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it in 2 days (always a good sign when I want to keep listening). I love the magical world of Disney, all they stand for, strive for, and represent. They know what they're doing and it was really interesting to hear how they implement their strategies.

This book made me consider myself as a leader. I've always thought of myself as a natural leader, but the book clearly states that being a true leader is something that has to be learned. I love that Lee Co
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, audiobook
Reading Cockerell's writing, he comes across a little like a Ross Perot type. He talks about his early career, and he was not the favorite of his employees. He describes his hard-nosed earlier self getting beaten up by employees twice! From there he does have a revelation or two that lead him to become a much more progressive manager and leader. The book is based around lists of how to be a great leader. These lists contain additional lists, so on audio this was impossible to follow without perf ...more
Brett's Books
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'd recommend Mr. Cockerell's combination biography and business leader motivational book. I admit I love Walt Disney's style and very much enjoy the visits to the parks, movies, memorabilia, pen trading, you name it; so when I was assigned this book to read at work I was pleased. I found the book a collection of practical knowledge by an experienced corporate leader, interesting recollections of Disney memories and self promotion on the part of Mr. Cockerell. Honestly, near the end of Creating ...more
Nathan Brant
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great book. It was recommended by a colleague, Jeff Merighe, at a conference we were part of last month.

The anecdotes Mr. Cockerell shares make this content very accessible. The leadership lessons are concise and build well upon one another. I am looking forward to sharing this with my staff team in an upcoming retreat.
Jake Welchans
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book with extremely practical leadership advice. Lee Cockerell's wisdom and know-how on leadership shines through the pages. My only thought, don't buy the audiobook but buy an actual copy and take the time to digest. That's what I'll be doing next. ...more
Kara Bailey
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It is no secret that I am a huge Disney fan; having been to Disney World so many times, I am constantly impressed by their service and attention to detail. This book, written by now retired, previous VP of Operations at WDW focuses on how that service is created at Disney and what leaders in any field can learn from that to apply to their own work and daily interactions. So many great, concrete and simple but strong takeaways
Esther Dan
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about the inner workings of Disney I have read.
Kayla Fletcher
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about hospitality! If you've ever left a Disney park amazed at how friendly the entire staff seemed to be, this book is a great read for you! ...more
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
For a business leader, this is a great book. I can say that as someone who has a business degree, has worked in business and even considered owning my own business.
However, that is no longer that season I am in, and therefore I found more than half of the book didn't apply to the leadership I am in or striving to be in at this time. Several of the strategies are incredibly practical - not in a bad way if that's what's you're looking for. But they just didn't apply to me. I probably wouldn't hav
Nádia Figueiredo
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic audio book, it has such great and valuable advises and tips. Really, I think that this is that type of book\audio that i will keap consultating. And in such a warm voice that translates a man with character and values. It's not a boring technical book, I was mooved by some stories, I was surprised with some solutions and results and most important it is all about the importance of all employes. And it's about Disney and the passion behind the brand, so I really enjoyed listening. ...more
Maria Caplin
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I now know why Walt Disney World is the happiest place on Earth. I picked this book because I love WDW and always curious about the behind the scenes. I learned so many ideas that transfer easily to my classroom. I am going to revamp the start of my year based on this book. I wish it was a must read for my district leadership teams.
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio-s-companies
Creating Magic is an inspiring book. I'm a huge fan of Disney, it's resorts, parks and movies. It's great to get some insight in the story behind the scenes. And I must say, I completely agree on al 10 strategies mentioned in this book. Well recommended! ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic leadership book. I've read dozens of leadership books and Cockerell's is among the best. I am drawn to it because he offers identifiable examples that are linked to real world successes. ...more
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I love everything about Disneyland, Disney, etc. Well, that is a general statement, but I just wanted to establish myself as a fan. With that, I had a very hard time getting through this book. It was just okay. Some good principles for leadership are included in the pages, and then they are included again, and again, but not in a repetition leads to learning kind of way. The author's examples seemed to all be the exact same with just a small twist or spin added to make his point and to hide that ...more
Paul C. Stalder
An acceptable introductory book on leadership, geared specifically towards service industries. Most of the strategies expounded within are, as the subtitle suggests, common sense. There is nothing truly shocking or unique about them, but it is helpful to consider them in many leadership roles. That being said, a number the strategies would have a hard time being ported outside of the service industry. It is clear that Cockerell has spent his career, illustrious as it may be, in a single industry ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books on leadership I have read. Such a great read and Lee Cockerell touches upon so many great points: Respect of employees, watching out for competition, getting to know every single struggle your employees/Disney cast members have, make your customer feel special, make your employee feel special, having to let go of people,...
It is absolutely people-driven like me so it resonated quite well with me.
I listened to the audio version and it was pleasant listening to the a
David Wilson
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Do you want to know more about the "Magic" that comes with working as an employee of Disney? this is the book for you.
There are numerous personal examples of leadership principles shared by Mr. Cockerell. I would have given this a 5 star rating -- but I found that some of his examples were just a bit too much to deal with throughout the book. They were good and interesting, but I found that the nuggets of importance for me were his "Action Steps" at the end of each chapter.
If you don't want to
Candice Minks
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was honored with the opportunity to attend the Disney Institute’s Quality Service training last November. Since returning, I have been charged with creating the Service Model and creating and documenting all of the processes for the firm I work for. While this book deals more with Leadership, many of the same concepts are discussed, and it’s a nice reminder of what I learned during my week at the Institute.

While full of great business tips, this book also incorporates the magic of Disney Stor
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Creating Magic is one of the best books I have read on leadership. It reinforced many of my personal views (hands on management, servant leadership, employee recognition) on the subject and also taught me some new things (time management, growth strategies) to improve. Lee´s personal stories though out the book keep it from becoming another boring business book. I definitely will have to buy a physical addition, so I can take better notes. I recommend this book for Disney fans and people who wan ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was interesting hearing about all the leadership techniques applied at Disney. I’m not working in the hospitality industry, but I am trying to be a better leader. The tips offered were useful and I plan on implementing them. I appreciate the chapter focusing on ARE. I think that was the main takeaway from the book.

The style was incredibly lost heavy, but the purpose isn’t to remember every single number/item from the list. The purpose is to take away all the items and apply them, which I thi
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I listened to the audio book and it's pretty good. I worked at E.P.C.O.T. Center in 1990-1991 and I have been through the Disney Experience training and Disney History training so this book really resonated with me.

The book is packed with Lee's own stories throughout his career with Marriott, Disney, and Hilton and he learned some lessons the hard way.

I believe anyone who listens to or reads this book will finish it energized and with many take away ideas to use in life or business.

I highly rec
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-leadership
This was a good book with practical tips to improve workplace culture and personal leadership skills. His approach to teaching through storytelling is very effective. While trying to consider everything might be a bit overwhelming, just focusing on a couple of things would be manageable, and make a difference in your work environment. I especially appreciated his view that everywhere you go, you can find an idea to improve or implement in your business. He is definitely an out of the box thinker ...more
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest, I was not expecting to like this book or get much out of it as I have personally zero leadership aspirations, but this book ended up being an easy-to-read guide to general professionalism. Easily applicable to any level of professional in any industry, it actually pointed out all of the ways one IS a leader in the workplace even if you don't have manager/supervisor in your title. I was really impressed and would recommend this book to anyone serious about being a professional lea ...more
Greg Whipple
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really insightful managerial tips. Teaches you to create a culture of customer service and how treating everyone with respect raises the performance of the entire group. I question the implementation for all industries but do agree that if worked at, most of Lee's ideals would improve any workplace. Would have liked to see a more updated version with use of more practical tools than a DayTimer but otherwise very good. ...more
Chris Fabiszak
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as part of the Creating Magic seminar at WDL. The seminar as a whole absolutely changed my career and my life, and I have recommended (and continuously purchased) this book to leaders and aspiring leaders I have known since.

It's an easy read that you can devour every word of, or also just skim as you desire.

There are a thousand little gems, instructions, anecdotes, and behind-the-curtain insights into both Marriott and Disney.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Disney does everything top-notch! I think these 10 leadership strategies are spot on. They make sense. They're simple & practical. This book will help us all improve our effectiveness in work environments, at home, in volunteer arenas, in all facets of life. Lessons like everyone is important, give people a purpose not a job and others are valuable in all walks of life. ...more
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“a workplace can look as diverse as the United Nations, but if the employees are not truly respected, not truly valued, not truly involved, and not truly treated with dignity, what you have is a great photo opportunity, not real inclusion.” 5 likes
“We’ve always done it that way” could mean that you’ve been doing it wrong all along.” 2 likes
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