Summary of DisneyWar

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DisneyWar book summary


7 Overall

6 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


Pulitzer prize winner James B. Stewart paints a portrait of Michael Eisner that has more in common with a totalitarian dictator than with most CEOs. Stewart is careful, though, to trace the Walt Disney Company’s growth and success under Eisner, even though he was really running Disney for the benefit of just a handful of people - including himself. And, just as carefully, Stewart traces the company’s spiraling internal chaos. The pluses: the author tells an instructive, intricate corporate saga in intriguing detail. Minuses: He is no expert on the film industry and the narrative doesn’t build much momentum. Frustratingly, although no doubt for sound reportorial reasons, he also mostly refuses to draw conclusions until the short final chapter. recommends this troubling portrait of corporate excess and misbehavior to all managers and to students of entertainment and media as a lesson on the pitfalls of untamed corporate politics and unbridled CEO power.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Michael Eisner and his team built sleepy Disney into one of the world’s great companies;
  • How Eisner’s arrogance and dishonesty turned friends into enemies and forced out many talented managers; and
  • How Eisner’s blunders cost the company billions and contributed to a shareholder revolt.

About the Author

James B. Stewart is a regular contributor to SmartMoney and The New Yorker, and a former Page-One editor for The Wall Street Journal. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading. He is the author of Den of Thieves, Blind Eye and Blood Sport.



The Not-So-Wonderful World of Disney
On Nov. 20, 2003, Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, met with fellow Walt Disney Company board member John Bryson at the "Team Disney" building at Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Roy hated the building, which he felt epitomized how the...

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