Start reading Creating Magic on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney [Kindle Edition]

Lee Cockerell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $12.79
You Save: $13.21 (51%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $12.99 after you buy the Kindle book. Learn More


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $12.79  
Hardcover $19.04  
Paperback --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged --  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $19.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Kindle Daily Deals
Kindle Delivers: Daily Deals
Subscribe to find out about each day's Kindle Daily Deals for adults and young readers. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

“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 ran Walt Disney World® Resort operations for over a decade. And in Creating Magic, he shares the leadership principles that not only guided his own journey from a poor farm boy in Oklahoma to the head of operations for a multibillion dollar enterprise, but that also soon came to form the cultural bedrock of the world’s number one vacation destination. But as Lee demonstrates, great leadership isn’t about mastering impossibly complex management theories. We can all become outstanding leaders by following the ten practical, common sense strategies outlined in this remarkable book. As straightforward as they are profound, these leadership lessons include:
Everyone is important.
Make your people your brand.
Burn the free fuel: appreciation, recognition, and encouragement.
Give people a purpose, not just a job.

Combining surprising business wisdom with insightful and entertaining stories from Lee’s four decades on the front lines of some of the world’s best-run companies, Creating Magic shows all of us – from small business owners to managers at every level – how to become better leaders by infusing quality, character, courage, enthusiasm, and integrity into our workplace and into our lives.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On his way up the career ladder to become Executive Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort, Cockerell freely admits he was such an autocratic young hotel and restaurant manager that he was hit over the head with a beer bottle by an employee he'd treated poorly. This and other incidents (including a bashing with a clipboard) convinced Cockerell to study leadership, which he proceeded to do with gusto throughout his stellar career, ultimately creating the Disney Great Leaders strategies. The author's engaging storytelling brings life and infectious energy to this entertaining and inspiring book, which outlines the processes and rationale behind Disney's employee-driven ethos. Each chapter expounds on the Disney Formula for Success, which Cockerell sums up as "great leadership leads to employee excellence, which leads to customer satisfaction and strong business results." Cockerell's willingness to use his management gaffes as examples not only makes him a likeable narrator but also a credible leader, offering up a mesmerizing view of a career devoted to excellence in customer service, employee empowerment, organizational improvement and responsive leadership.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“In Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell delivers his ideas about leadership in a common sense way that can really reach people and help them improve their effectiveness at work, at home, and in their communities. His valuable leadership strategies and remarkable Disney stories will ring true for everyone who reads this book.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute Entrepreneur

“Lee's common sense principles and down to earth storytelling are refreshing. His book will help leaders and managers at all levels become better in all parts of their lives.”
—Lee Huebner, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, Georgetown University

“Disney is one of the world’s prime exemplars of service, having pioneered and implemented much of what is today seen as best practice in service management. Lee Cockerell has played a major role in this . . . For those wishing to learn how Disney has achieved its reputation for service, this will be a book to read.”
—Chris Voss, Professor of Operations and Technology Management, London Business School

Product Details

  • File Size: 490 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0018QQQIU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,239 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bigger than Blanchard and Covey? November 7, 2008
Lee Cockerell should be bigger than Blanchard and Covey combined. Lee is light-years past theory. He is straight-forward, no-nonsense, wise. Every great leader should read this book, or miss an incredible opportunity to see Disney from an executive mind-set, with tons of practical, how-to's for any leader, in any organization.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magically Successful October 31, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lee Cockerell, by his own admission, wasn't a very easy person to work with. After getting whacked on the head a few times with various office supply products, wielded by unhappy co-workers, he got the message: Lighten up. It's a message many people currently engaged in "business" (including more than a few CEOs) need to heed. Watch out, that next clipboard may have your name on it.

Sometimes it takes a good smack on the head by a clipboard, or a swift kick in the pants, to make us understand that we need to get along with people in order to succeed. That's such a simple concept, but one that so often is dismissed by so many, especially the higher up the corporate ladder they climb.

Fortunately, Lee Cockerell got the message, loud and clear. The rest is contemporary American business history. He went on to great accomplishments with the Disney empire, simply by learning how to effectively engage with people; especially those working under him.

For anyone looking for the most basic & wonderfully "common sense" approach to leadership, look no further than this terrific book. Read it, and you too, may create some magic.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense for a Common Problem November 23, 2008
As a corporate human resources director, I really enjoyed reading this book. "Creating Magic", is a common sense approach to leadership that will help those in need to improve on the job, indeed in their personal lives too. The strategies and great WDW stories make this a very "usable" book that also happens to be a fun and insightful read.

"Creating magic" is the bounding of various stories that teach us a lesson about leadership and management. The stories drive home the point that leadership is not about the leader but rather the people that are being lead, molded and guided in their respective careers.

While I recommend this book in that it pursues leadership excellence. However, I cannot rate it 5 stars as Creating Magic does not contain any novel or new techniques. That is, the lessons of the book have already been digested by most of those in the managerial profession. If you are seeking an excellent reminder of these values then the book will meet your goal. If you are looking for the novel and new approaches to leadership, you will not find it here. I also suggest High Altitude Leadership: What the World's Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us About Success

Michael L. Gooch, SPHR - Author of Wingtips with Spurs
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Handbook of Practical Love for Leaders at Every Level October 25, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most of us judge ourselves based on our intentions. The people around us judge us based upon our behaviors. As leaders, we must make sure that our behaviors support our intentions. This is one of the many lessons I've learned from Walt Disney World, a legendary culture created and sustained under the exemplary leadership of Lee Cockerell, WDW's former Executive VP of Operations. In "Creating Magic," Lee Cockerell explains how to make that kind of loving, caring, respectful leadership a practical reality. Lee shows leaders in all walks of life how to operationalize a culture of caring in every sphere of influence. "Creating Magic" is the most inspiring and the most practical book on leadership I have ever read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Insight June 23, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Absolutely an amazing book. Lee has such an insight into what works in a leadership position and what won't. I have already begun to utilize his suggestions with great success. Even if you are not in a position of leadership, this will help build your sense of self, and is great for business and Disney fans alike!!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sustainable Strategies for Success June 11, 2009
Finally, someone has demystified the social complexities that created a reputation of legendary service at Walt Disney World. Creating Magic promises 10 common-sense leadership strategies, but delivers much more by deconstructing each strategy into specific tips and action steps. Mr. Cockerell brings refreshing honesty in detailing how past mistakes led him to the principles in the book. Creating Magic contains strategies that are transferrable to any industry. Anyone who can internalize and implement the contents should enjoy improved business results and a higher sense of purpose at work.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent business and life lessons February 11, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Overall, Mr. Cockerell's book provides straightforward and common sense lessons for creating better companies, better employees, and a better you. I appreciate the frank and honest approach taken in the book. The author discusses his successes and failures evenly, even when his mistakes led to physical retribution from his employees! Considering the hospitality industry's complex operational and HR issues, I can appreciate his recommendations that are easily implementable yet powerful ways to improve a business.

One issue I have with the book, while not directly relevant to the overall subject, is not discussing in enough detail the importance of developing a company's long-term strategy for success. Anecdotally, I have heard that Disney has a large number of fresh out of business school MBAs that are more concerned about short term profits and cost control than maintaining high quality standards and preserving long-term brand identity. I would be interested to get the author's reaction to this challenge, which he surely must have dealt with during Eisner's last years as CEO. While the author must consider his relationship with his former employer, it would have been interesting to get his reaction to a sore subject that many would argue has challenged the long-term success of Disney's brand.

I hope Mr. Cockerell considers writing more life and business lessons in a future book. I will be among those to purchase a copy!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 3 hours ago by Judy Betz
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT book!
Awesome book for any leader. Disney has always been exceptional for their customer service and this book highlights many of their tactics. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars If people would just make others feel special it is amazing how well...
I have read this book several time I find it more interesting. If people would just make others feel special it is amazing how well their performance improves. Read more
Published 18 days ago by George Galanis
4.0 out of 5 stars review
I had to buy this book for a class but so far I have enjoyed it, I have not finished the book yet though.
Published 1 month ago by Michelle dinser
5.0 out of 5 stars New Perspective
Awesome book .... gave a a new perspective
Published 1 month ago by Bill Wesolowski
5.0 out of 5 stars but this is the best - highly recommended
A truly outstanding book on management! Well written, with many examples from his career. I've read many books on this subject, but this is the best - highly recommended. Read more
Published 1 month ago by H. A. LeBeau
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you want to lead more effectively? Then, you need this book!...
Lee Cockerell has truly captured the heart, passion, and art of being a great leader. His Disney stories and experience create magic that simply bursts from the pages of this... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark Bowser
4.0 out of 5 stars 0-60
As a baby boomer I can appreciate the accomplishments that the Disney organization made over the years and the competition their faced
Published 2 months ago by Doug Geiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for leaders and those who aspire to lead
Lee Cockerell shares valuable insight into the stumbles and successes that he experienced on his path to becoming a great leader. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jerry D. Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Working Together as One
Awesome book I would recommend every organization to follow it's instructions to bettering not only the work place but the relationship between everyone as a whole.
Published 3 months ago by Eugenia Knight
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

When Lee Cockerell announced his retirement on July 28, 2006 it marked the beginning of a new adventure for the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World' Resort.
"As the Senior Operating Executive for nine years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village and a sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.'

One of Lee's major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which continues on as the primary resource for developing the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World.
Lee has held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for eight years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project.

Lee has served as Chairman of the Board of Heart of Florida United Way. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Culinary Institute of American (CIA). In 2005 Governor Bush appointed Lee to the Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Public Service for the state of Florida.

He is now dedicating his time to public speaking, authoring a book on leadership which will be published in 2008 and performing leadership and service excellence consulting for select companies as well as the Disney Institute. Lee has received the following awards;

2002 Golden Chain Award for Outstanding leadership and business performance from the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operations Association (MUFSO).

2003 Silver Plate Award for Outstanding Operator in the foodservice industry from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).

2006 Excellence In Production Operations Management and Leadership (POMS) from the Productions and Operations Management Society (POMS).


Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category