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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
"The Curse of the Mogul" provides a clear, evidence-based approach to analyzing and understanding effective (and ineffective) media strategies. The book has profound implications with respect to how corporate executives of media companies should think about organic investment and M&A initiatives, how sector investors should evaluate sustainable barriers to enty, and how advisors could more effectively counsel their media clients regarding the defense and expansion of competitive advantages. Real stories, real companies and real names are brilliantly used to illustrate provactive viewpoints throughout this most engaging read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2009
With a pending merger between NBC & Comcast, Knee/Greenwald/Seave's book is remarkably relevant for investors, analysts, would-be moguls and those interested in any and all aspects of the media industry. "The Curse of the Mogul" clearly outlines the common pitfalls of media conglomerates (ones that are consistently repeated today) and offers insightful alternatives for a healthier, more profitable industry. I can't image why any media company operating today would not require their executives and business leaders to read this book.

Aside from the business acumen offered in "The Curse of the Mogul", it's a very entertaining read! The authors write with a sharp wit and dry-humor, making the 300-or-so pages a surprisingly quick and enjoyable read.

If the media industry interests you (and judging by the fact that you are on, that is likely the case), I suggest you check out this book.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2009
Knee, Greenwald and Seave have done an excellent job in this book of delving into the fundamental flaws in the management strategies for many of the major media companies in the past few decades. Most importantly, they are able to evaluate not just consumer media markets but enterprise content markets as well to show how the problems are truly universal. Put simply, the self-congratulatory posturing of many media "moguls" who insist on ignoring the basics of economics and sound business management in pursuit of dominance and scale for its own end, regardless of its effectiveness in returning value to the marketplace. It also does a brilliant job of dissecting key flaws in many companies' technology strategies, showing where companies failed to perceive that their presumed technology advantages were in fact commoditized or wasted as companies pursued diversification and "synergies" that drew investment away from key platforms. If you're a professional in the content industry or a student of it, this will be an invaluable read.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
I picked up this book with great anticipation, as I work in the media business and have my own thoughts about "the moguls." Sadly, this book was ultimately nothing more than frustrating. It makes the very correct point that media mergers never fulfill the analysis done to justify them. This is well worn ground, and largely true for most mergers. Indeed, the core of this conclusion about media mergers is borrowed from a somewhat dated Wall St. analyst report, not written by any of the authors. While the skeptical tone about media business rationales for various acquisitions is very healthy, this book ultimately provides insufficient hard support for this skeptical tone. I came away feeling like the conclusions reached were likely correct, but that the analysis of the book really didn't support them. Ultimately, it seemed like the author's recommendation to the media moguls was to concede that they were not running growth businesses, should not be investing capital in growth that was unlikely to materialize, and instead should be raising their dividends and returning capital to shareholders. Something that would make the shareholders scream, as the value of their investments would plummet.
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on May 2, 2012
The curse of mogul is a fascinating research work on the media industry. Mr. Knee and Mr. Greenwald were able to dissect the media industry and discuss important topics such as the difference between perceived competitive advantages vs. real competitive advantages, areas in which you can find better investments in the media landscape as well as the internet impact on eroding once dominant organizations advantages.

The authors fascinating facts finding efforts, significant depth of evaluating competitive advantages and the landscape of many media companies as well as numerous examples of the impact of changes, will enable the reader to have a framework to use to overcome the "pixie dust" spread by the moguls and discover the true value of a media company as a long term investment. Highly recommended for all who wish to learn and invest in the media industry.

Amir Avitzur
Author of "Why do we sell low and buy high? The guide you must read BEFORE you invest"
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2009
If you're in any way interested or involved in the media industry, then this book makes for a compelling read.

It's ultimate aim is to provide some "guidelines" for the media industry, by surveying the industry over the last few decades. From interesting anecdotes to detailed analysis, it makes for easy, light reading and builds a strong case for their key points. What's most interesting is that their analysis indicates that conventional wisdom in the media industry is all wrong.

Whether you agree with their views or not, this book will definitely ask you to think some more about the media industry and the moguls that run it.
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on March 23, 2010
The Curse of the Mogul identifies step-by-step the systematic problems that result in poor shareholder returns at the world's leading media companies. Author Jonathan Knee provides a quick and inspiring read and offers six real suggestions to improve the performance of media companies. This book reinforces many beliefs I started to formulate in my head concerning the future of the media industry, particularly the thesis of content as king. The reason I find the book invaluable is that it builds a logical case study pointing out problems plaguing the media industry and attempts to offer solutions to overcome these problems.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2009
"Curse of the Mogul" puts forth a stark thesis: media companies have been performing poorly long before the advent of the internet. This is due to a fundamental error in strategic management. Those running the media industry have been pursuing revenue growth at all costs, even when that growth is destructive to the economics of the business. The authors propose an intuitive strategic framework, which is then applied to several sectors within media (print, news, television, internet, etc.) resulting in solid guidelines for making investment decisions.

This book is well written and a pleasure to read. Each chapter is akin to unlocking another piece of the puzzle, and the narrative will keep you engaged and entertained. Strongly recommended!
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on July 30, 2013
The best book using competitive rationale to analyst media industry. Thoughtful as well as practical. Help me a lot. Thanks.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2009
Jonathan Knee's insightful analysis of media mergers is worth reading even if you don't spend your days dining with media titans at the Four Seasons. Knee and his colleagues have produced a thoughtful (and yes, somewhat academic) assessment of media companies and the personalities that have sought to combine, unwind, and rewind these businesses through value-destroying deals, all in the name of synergy.
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