From Publishers Weekly
The media industry is facing multiple financial and operational crises on an unprecedented scale. Rampant overpaying for acquisitions and strategic investments make incompetent corporate leaders as complicit in media's decline as the difficult economy. The authors, professors at the Columbia Business School, focus their sights broadly but home in on the usual suspects—Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Disney and an alphabet of flailing companies (e.g., TBS, CNN, TNT). They discuss the dilemma of new media vs. old, the difficulty of establishing efficient operations, mergers that worked and mergers that didn't, and attempt to debunk any number of media myths, most assiduously the content is king platitude—considering especially that the movie, music and book industries are all floundering. An interesting subject in theory, but this treatment has the feeling of a homework assignment rather than an exposé and plods along to its meandering conclusion at a snail's pace. Dull writing and a complete lack of human interest detail make this a tough read and a tougher sell. (Oct.)
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"Its [a] disciplined, cogent analysis of what does and doesn't constitute real competitive advantage."
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-The New York Times
"Moguls aside, the author's analysis...provides a sharp reminder of the importance of focusing on competitive advantage and on the barriers that enable it."
-The wall Street Journal
"the authors argue lucidly that the cadre of media moguls who dominated headlines for much of the past two or three decades have been deal junkies chasing rivals out of misguided notions about how to achieve long-term success."
"a shrewdly titled analysis"
"This book is the clearest, most valuable explanation of the evolving economic imperatives of the media industry-an industry whose impact is pervasive in our society today. It is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in media."
-Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001
"Packed with vivid examples, The Curse of the Mogul dares to say what has long been staring us in the face: to understand the media business you need to be a psychotherapist. Mogul is an insider's view of how big egos often trump rational decision making, which is invaluable and hugely entertaining for anyone interested in the high-profile world of media."
-James B. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disney War
"The Curse of the Mogul is a true blessing for anyone with a stake in the future of news, books, movies, music, TV, or any other branch of the entertainment-information complex. The authors' diagnosis of the malaise afflicting media companies is brilliant, and their conclusion that bad management decisions rather than inexorable economic trends are mostly to blame is compelling."
-Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind; Knight Professor of Business Journalism, Columbia University
"Knee, Greenwald, and Seave have written a must-read book for students of the media industry and strategy. Stressing the quest for margins over mogul status and a drive for efficiency over the best table at Michael's, they weave strong economic advice for those who would try to understand-or even make money in-the media business."
-Glenn Hubbard, dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School