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How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life Paperback – August 1, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


My grandfather believed so much in what he was doing that he put his name on everything. He had a thirst for life, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to take great risks in order to achieve great things. We could all benefit by studying the lessons of his life.

From the Inside Flap

"I’ve read every book that has ever been written about Walt Disney, going back to some that were published in the 1930s. [How to Be Like Walt] is by far the most enjoyable to read of them all!" —Tim O’Day, Disney Scholar

"How to Be Like Walt is a fitting tribute to Walt’s memory and an important contribution to the Disney legacy . . . Now more than ever, we need people with the qualities Walt had: optimism, imagination, creativity, leadership, integrity, courage, boldness, perseverance, commitment to excellence, reverence for the past, hope for tomorrow, and faith in God." —Art Linkletter


Product Details

  • Series: How to Be Like
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757302319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757302312
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA's Orlando Magic. As one of America's top motivational speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits. Clients include AllState, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Tyson Foods to name a few. Pat is also the author of 100 books, his most recent title highlighting the secrets to peak performance in EXTREME WINNING.

Since 1968, Pat has been in the NBA as general manager for teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia--including the 1983 World Champion 76ers--and now the Orlando Magic, which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995 and 2009. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by Beckett's, a national publication. In 2012, Pat received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pat has been an integral part of NBA history, including bringing the NBA to Orlando. He has traded Pete Maravich as well as traded for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Penny Hardaway. He has won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993. He also drafted Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins. He signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas to their first professional coaching contracts. Nineteen of his former players have become NBA head coaches, nine have become college head coaches while seven have become assistant NBA coaches.

Additionally, Pat served for seven years in the United States Army, spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization--two as a minor league catcher and five in the front office--and has also spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Pat and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 28 to 42. For one year, 16 of his children were all teenagers at the same time. Currently, Pat has 14 grandchildren and counting. Pat and his family have been featured in Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Focus on the Family as well as all of the major network and cable television news channels.

Pat was diagnosed in February of 2011 with Multiple Myeloma. After several rounds of chemo treatments, Pat received a bone marrow transplant where the doctors injected him with almost 5 million of his own stem cells. Pat's recovery from the stem cell transplant has been remarkable and the doctors are extremely pleased. While Multiple Myeloma is incurable the goal is to get the cancer into remission (Pat's personal slogan has been "The Mission is Remission"); Pat's doctors have told him that they are unable to detect any myeloma in his body and have given him a clean bill of health. Pat has accepted positions on several boards for different cancer groups, including an appointment on the Board of Directors for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Pat spends many hours each week responding to emails and phone calls of others affected by cancer, offering hope and words of encouragement.

Pat teaches an adult Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Orlando and hosts three weekly radio shows. In the last 15 years, he has completed 58 marathons--most recently, the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon--and also climbed Mt. Rainier. He is a weightlifter, Civil War buff and serious baseball fan. Every winter he plays in Major League Fantasy Camps and has caught Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver and Goose Gossage.

Pat was raised in Wilmington, Delaware, earned his bachelor's degree at Wake Forest University, and his master's degree at Indiana University. He is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame after catching for the Deacon baseball team, including the 1962 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship team. He is also a member of six other hall of fames around the country.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about Walt Disney, along comes this brilliant book. How to Be Like Walt shines fresh light on the person and character of Walt Disney, a man I never knew but have loved all my life. More than that, it encourages all of us that we can be like Walt, too - if we study his life, discover what drove him, learn from his failures and examine his interactions with others. There will never be another Walt, but we can all be like Walt if we want to be. This book tells us how. He wasn't perfect - but neither are you or I. Still, as the book says, the world would be a poorer place if it hadn't been for just one Walt Disney. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind being remembered for making my world better like he did.

How to Be Like Walt tells his story through the eyes of people who knew him and loved him, people who have admired his accomplishments, and people whose lives have been shaped by the force of his personality. It's the most complete picture of Walt Disney available to date from any book. In the bargain, we get lessons to apply to our own lives. Everything to gain and nothing to lose! Read it today.
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Format: Paperback
As a self-help book, "How to Be Like Walt" is a powerful tool with 17 lessons exemplified by Walt Disney's life. As a biography, the book is one of the finest written about Walt Disney.

Disney was a unique Hollywood success story. The squeaky-clean Disney reputation was built on a lifetime of doing good work. It's not that Disney was without fault or rough edges. But Disney was more often the victim of unscrupulous dealings rather than one who was putting a deal over on someone else. This book explores those aspects of his life, and reveals how these experiences shaped his career and led him to bigger and bigger accomplishments.

Just as each of Disney's successes was based on telling a compelling story, Pat Williams and Jim Denney have told Walt's life story in a unique and interesting way. The narrative is filled with stories and challenges in Walt's life, as related by friends, family, and co-workers.

The stories tell about the man, Walt Disney, more effectively than most biographies which are loaded with impersonal facts.

This book provides a multifaceted look at his personality as well as his behaviors. Different people saw him in various ways; that is all fully explained and reconciled as well as can be expected of a complex, creative genius who is not easily explained.

Disney was a workaholic and a taskmaster, yet he was also compassionate about his creative staff and his family. As you read the story of Walt's life, you will learn how we can adapt our lives to achieve greater creativity, success, and fulfillment.

As an author who has read and written about Disney, I recommend this book as one of the best Disney resources available.

Buy this book and read it several times; with the extensive details of the many Disney stories, you will find each reading reveals new insights about Disney's approach to success.

-- Rich Hamilton
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Format: Paperback
Alright, I confess. I wanted to be a jerk. I wanted to be the first person to give this book less than five stars, but I just can't do it. Sure, I could complain. I could say that the material in the second to last chapter should have spread throughout the book so there would be one summary chapter instead of two. Or I could focus on the lack of explanation as to WHY Walt chose to do some of the films he did. Because it sometimes pains me that I have to assume Walt's idea to animate Pinoccho came from reading it as a kid and liking it, without really knowing for sure.

But I can't complain too much, since I realize that this ain't some half-hearted work here. It is a well-researched collection of hundreds of valuable stories. Each story tells us what Walt was like, the kind of things he did, and the kind of things he wanted to do. I was particularly fascinated with his vision of the futuristic city of EPCOT, where pedestrian and car would never touch the same ground, and a giant dome would keep the city's climate forever under control.

Walt's obsessive dream of constructing a new kind of city is just one of many little tidbits of information the book has for anyone not already intimately familiar with his life. I mean, I had no clue that Disney created a popular cartoon BEFORE Mickey Mouse. And I had no idea his company was so often under the strain of severe financial woe. Heck, this book even told me the name of the 19 year old guy who invented electronic TV.

As much as I would have liked to have read about the origin of that hilarious Donald Duck, I wasn't disappointed at all when the book instead brought up the time Walt turned a hat his wife hated into a flower pot and gave it to her for her birthday.
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Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed Pat Williams' spoken pearls of wisdom for years, mostly in quotes as GM of the Orlando Magic NBA team. I've also known that he's a Christian and that he and his wife have adopted about 15 children over the years. But this is the first book of his I've read and I was extremely impressed.

Pat obviously admires Walt Disney deeply and figures he has many qualities worth pursuing. Pat not only brings those qualities into sharp focus so that we can apply them to our own lives, he also looks at Walt's shortcomings. No punches are pulled: Virtually every criticism people have leveled at Walt Disney is examined honestly, but a great man is still found when all is said and done.

Even if this wasn't a "self-help" book, it would stand alone as a dynamite biography. Questions about Walt Disney's life that I've never seen anyone even deal with in print before were examined here in depth. Pat interviewed about 250 people and spent years probing into Walt Disney's life. The result is absolutely the best book on the man I have ever read.
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