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Ovitz: The Inside Story of Hollywood's Most Controversial Power Broker Hardcover – May, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Once the most powerful and feared agent in Hollywood, the notoriously press-phobic Michael Ovitz cooperated with this biographer, so you won't hear about the arrogance or bullying business tactics that were common Tinseltown knowledge. (For a more critical evaluation, see the July 7, 1997 issue of Fortune.) Instead, you get a revealing account of his childhood and his only public discussion of his disastrous 14 months as president of the Walt Disney Company. It's a worthwhile trade, but bear in mind that it's only one side of the story.

Review

His career as an agent--and his astonishing year as president of the Walt Disney Company ... is the basis for an utterly reverential biography Ovitz by Robert Slater ... Not only did Mr. Slater extensively interview Mr. Ovitz, which is unusual, since the former agent has terrible relations with the press, but he was also given access to Mr. Ovitz's family, associates and some top clients like Mr. Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Barry Levinson and Magic Johnson. Yet Mr. Slater either failed to interview anyone who had a harsh word to say about Mr. Ovitz ... or didn't believe that his subject was flawed. -- The New York Times Book Review, Bernard Weinraub

Ovitz has made a career out of being persuasive--and he has certainly manhandled biographer Slater.... This "inside story" needs more outside perspective. -- Entertainment Weekly, Caren Weiner
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill; First Edition edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070581037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070581036
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Slater was born in New York City on October 1, 1943, and grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from Columbia High School in 1962 and graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966, where he majored in political science. He received a masters of science degree in international relations from the London School of Economics in 1967. He worked for UPI and Time Magazine for many years, in both the United States and the Middle East.
Slater has written 16 books about major business personalities before his new book on Donald Trump:
' The Titans of Takeover (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1987).
' Portraits in Silicon (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987).
' This ... .Is CBS: A Chronicle of 60 Years (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988).
' The New GE: How Jack Welch Revived an American Institution (Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin, 1993).
' Get Better or Get Beaten! 31 Leadership Secrets from GE's Jack Welch (Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin Professional Publishing, 1994). This book made the business best-seller list in Japan.
' SOROS: The Life, Times, and Trading Secrets of the World's Greatest Investor (Chicago, IL: Irwin Professional Publishing, 1996). This book profiles superinvestor George Soros, and it appeared on the Business Week best-seller list.
' Invest First, Investigate Later: And 23 Other Trading Secrets of George Soros, the Legendary Investor (Chicago, IL: Irwin Professional Publishing, 1996).
' John Bogle and the Vanguard Experiment: One Man's Quest to Transform the Mutual Fund Industry (Chicago, IL: Irwin Professional Publishing, 1996). This book profiles the most important business figure in the mutual fund field.
' Ovitz: The Inside Story of Hollywood's Most Controversial Power Broker (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1997). This book made the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times business best-seller lists.
' Jack Welch and the GE Way: Management Insights and Leadership Secrets of the Legendary CEO (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1998). This is an updated look at the business secrets of General Electric's chairman and chief executive officer. It made the Business Week and The Wall Street Journal best-seller lists.
' Saving Big Blue: Leadership Lessons & Turnaround Tactics of IBM's Lou Gerstner (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1999).
' The GE Way Fieldbook: Jack Welch's Battle Plan for Corporate Revolution (New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 1999).
' The Eye of the Storm: How John Chambers Steered Cisco Systems Through the Technology Collapse (New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 2003).
' Magic Cancer Bullet: How a Tiny Orange Capsule May Rewrite Medical History (New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 2003), co-authored with Novartis CEO, Dan Vasella.
' The Wal-Mart Decade: How a New Generation of Leaders Turned Sam Walton's Legacy into the World's #1 Company (New York, NY: Portfolio, 2003). A paperback version was published in June 2004.
' Microsoft Rebooted: How Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer Re-Invented Their Company (New York, NY: Portfolio, 2004
' No Such Thing as Over-Exposure: Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump (New Jersey, Pearson, Prentice Hall, February 2005)

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have read the reviews below, and this is similar to the love'em or hate'em polarization in the press. I liked this book. IT WAS FUN. Getting this perspective (quite favorable to Ovitz) may be off-putting to the purists, but then I do not believe you should read biographies in a vacuum. No one said getting to the top should result in everyone loving you. Winners are going to have their proponents and opponents--just like the ordinary man. Get a life and get a little perspective. Read the book and get the essence of the story. It is a solid story of the quest to be the best and how great leaders consolidate their positions almost out of instinct. You will learn something in this book and you will have fun in the process. It is a short book and an easy read. Judge for yourself. I do recommend you read some of the Vanity Fair articles and the Fortune article on the man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Asia Voss on March 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
You might walk away from this book thinking Mike Ovitz is the All-Powerful WunderMaster that many think he is.

You might away from this book thinking his a self-centered, narcicist who deserved his fate at Disney.

Either way, when you finish reading this book, you'll get a pretty thorough account of what his business life is like.

The critics who calim this book make him look 'too' good forget a rather important fact: Ovitz really WAS known as the most powerful man in Hollywood for several years, if not a decade!

This book is not self-serving. In fact, you often get the feeling that author thinks he's a big as a paranoid nut as many of us 'real worlders' do.

But it's well written and it covers a lot of ground. If you want to know how Mike Ovitz got to where is is (both the ups AND the downs)...it's a good read. If you want to read about someone entirely driven and successful, I highly reccomend it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Amazon doesn't allow zero stars - shame.This is a book about journalistic fear...and in that sense it should be recommended reading on a psychology course. According to Slater, Ovitz is a classroom whiz, a college football star, a business guru, and a true visionary in all aspects of man's struggle with the universe. Let me put it all in context for you...from some of the Author's opening pages. Ovitz gave a list of people to the Author, for research, most people on that list 'phoned Ovitz to get permission to speak! Then, Slater actually used those same people as the backbone for his writing - enough said. Ovitz may be a bad or good guy, who knows and who cares (this book was purchased for me).Basically, this is a project that the world didn't need, but Slater, having begun, made a thoroughly bad job of it. I'll admit to stopping this book after reading 80% of it - if I could get a rebate on my wasted time, I would. I'm embarrassed for Slater
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By miklotz@ix.netcom.com on September 4, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Critics may be right when they say that Slater wrote only one side of the story. However, he doesn't say that Ovitz is the nicest guy on earth, either. Slater is able to convey the image of a very interesting and complex personality. He captures the extraordinary drive and determination of a self-made man. The well written book includes many anecdotes which are mostly interesting and entertaining while it documents a fairly complete chronology of events.And no, I'm not writing this to make Slater a rich guy. I just like the book. To get rich, he'd have to become president of Disney for a few months..
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book should be college accredited and titled How to be a Hollywood player 101. Very interesting information about the entertainment biz scene. Learn how to negotiate and maneuver through through the shark tank. A must read for future entertainment players.

Kamal Jabbar
Palace Music Group, LLC
DUN&BRADSTREET # 00-496-6718
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