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Working Together Hardcover – September 14, 2010

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It certainly helps in writing a wannabe best-selling business book to be able to snag personal, face-to-face interviews with celebs. Then again, if you’re Michael D. Eisner, former CEO of the Walt Disney Company (with no small assistance from a writer–TV producer cowriter), access should be no issue. The list of corporate partners—in a variety of industries—is one key to catapulting to the top 10 list; among his distinguished interviewees are Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger. The second key? A topic that’s sure to prompt no small discussion: why certain business duets succeed in the corporate (and entertainment/sports) world. A third feature: an almost dialogue-type style, by which readers feel intimately involved in the conversation. Are the conclusions about working together groundbreaking? Not really; Eisner points to trust as the foundation, followed closely by a real sense of ethics. There is wisdom in remembering the 10 Commandments—and, what’s more, taking the golden rule to heart. A name-dropping book that is catchy enough for all to skim. --Barbara Jacobs

From the Back Cover

Dig deep and you will find the most compelling argument for working together: Happiness.

In business there are always unique individual achievers, but pull down the veil and you'll often find someone alongside them. Michael Eisner does just that in Working Together. Using his own collaboration with Frank Wells at Disney as a launching point for examining other famously successful partnerships, Eisner offers us an intimate and deeply personal look at some of the most rewarding business partnerships, uncovering what makes them tick and offering unconventional wisdom and unexpected insights. In this essential book for businesspeople everywhere, Eisner shines a light on these startlingly long-lasting and enriching partnerships, weaving together ten separate narratives—from investment gurus to entertainment impresarios, from fashion designers to big-box retailers—into a larger story about the true nature of achievement in life and in business.

Ten Stories, Ten Magical Partnerships:

Michael D. Eisner and Frank Wells (Disney)
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (Berkshire Hathaway)
Bill and Melinda Gates (The Gates Foundation)
Brian Grazer and Ron Howard (Imagine Entertainment)
Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti (Valentino)
Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell (Studio 54)
Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus (The Home Depot)
Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (restaurateurs)
Joe Torre and Don Zimmer (New York Yankees)
John Angelo and Michael Gordon (finance)

Collectively, the stories you're about to read form a blueprint for building partnerships that matter, that last, and that allow each of us to do our very best work.


Read an Excerpt from the Book
Download the second chapter from Working Together [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 283 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBus (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061732362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061732362
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #928,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For four decades, Michael D. Eisner has been a leader in the American entertainment industry. He began his career at ABC, where he helped take the network from number three to number one in prime-time, daytime, and children's television. In 1976 he became president of Paramount Pictures, turning out hit films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Saturday Night Fever. In 1984 Esiner was appointed chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company and, in the ensuing twenty-one years, transformed it from a film and theme park company with $1.8 billion in enterprise value into a global media empire valued at $80 billion. In 2005 Esiner founded The Tornante Company, a privately held corporation that makes investments in and incubates companies and opportunities in the media and entertainment space. Visit his website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James J Abodeely on February 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In Working Together, Michael Eisner uses the stories of several successful partnerships (including his own) to find commonalities and perhaps offer the reader a formula for identifying or creating the same.

The stories are great and every reader will find a different partnership that he or she identifies most with, but the overriding lesson is that the best two person teams have partners who have very different personalities and skill sets, but shared values, beliefs, ethics, and ultimately goals.

As an investor, I particularly liked the chapters on Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger and John Angelo and Michael Gordon, which remind us that most great partnerships have at least one optimist and one skeptic. The trust that Warren and Charlie have developed in one another was a key feature of several other partnerships including Joe Torre and Don Zimmer of the New York Yankees who also discovered that trust fostered loyalty and an ability for partners to benefit from each other's strengths, without feeling compromised by their own vulnerabilities.

Several notable stories emerged from Eisner's interviews like Bernie Marcus asking Arthur Blank to just keep bumping the revenue projections up on the first Home Depot store until the projections showed profitability. While this obviously worked out for them, I imagine there are more than a few entrepreneurs where that wasn't the case. I also enjoyed learning about Brian Grazer's networking techniques at Warner Brothers which ultimately led him to his partner, Ron Howard.

Ultimately, Eisner draws a set of conclusions about successful partnerships that lead to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts which can be measured in both financial and emotional terms. Eisner's book is a relatively quick read with enjoyable stories and relevant lessons for anyone interested in how to identify or create the next great partnership.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Kober on January 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very interested in reading this book. I don't want to trash Eisner. I think if it were not for he and Frank Wells there might not be a Walt Disney Company today. I thought this was a real opportunity for him to more fully explore what worked between he and Frank. In the end, I found little more than his conversation about the relationship in his autobiography. That was a disappointment.

He goes on to explore other successful partnerships. Some are from Hollywood, like Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, which I found interesting. Some were outside Hollywood like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. Also interesting. But then he goes on to talk about Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti. If that were a marriage, we would call it dysfunctional or co-dependent. But I wouldn't call it a great partnership. That was a disappointment.

Eisner then goes on to highlight Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. They founded Studio 54. This is the best we can produce in a great partnership? Really? Why didn't he highlight Bonnie and Clyde? I found no inspiration from that story. That was a disappointment.

What was really missing was a study of the greatest Hollywood pair, past and present. Here Eisner headed Disney, but it's absent of any real conversation about Walt and Roy. Was there any more successful pair, not just in Tinseltown, but in corporate America? And then there's the best modern day example of all--John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. They not only made Pixar what it is today, they've had to go back and pick up the pieces left by the Eisner era. That was a big disappointment.

In short, while the book has few merits, and in fact, is a disappointment.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Bet-David on December 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My father told me many years ago that there are two things that are the most difficult things to find in life. One is a good wife or a husband, and the other is a good partner/friend that's with you for the rest of your life. But once you find them you better hold on to them forever. This books shares with you several stories that validate the importance of finding a partner who learn how to work together and accept each other's strengths and weaknesses.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul on December 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Picked it for my self and my partner. This book is truly motivating as it highlights the need of good, reliable partners to succeed in today complex business environment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carla on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've always been a solitary business man. I've liked to launch businesses alone and keep the pie to myself.

But Michael Eisner's book "Working Together" really changed everything for me. It introduced me to a number of examples of beautiful partnerships, where each individual was better for having the other by his side.

Furthermore, the book was just an enjoyable read. Its so cool to hear about all of these REALLY successful business celebrities and how a partnership early on helped get them to where they are.

Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph C. Kusnan on March 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book is, "Why Great Partnerships Succeed" but it never really answers the question. The Frank Wells chapter is worth the price of the book alone, nonetheless. Only Michael Eisner could have written that. Frank Wells is still missed nearly 20 years after his tragic death in a helicopter accident. Frank Wells is strong evidence that how you treat people in life is remembered long after you are gone. The other interviews/profiles in the book are a bit hackneyed and have been covered extensively elsewhere (Buffett/Munger). This book might have benefited from a bit more introspection or analysis from Eisner. For example, it could have included some counterexamples of disagreement, tension, challenges and/or even partnerships that didn't work. Ovitz/Eisner is one obvious example. "Why Great Partnerships Fail" is probably the subject of a different, perhaps equally noteworthy, business book.
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