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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
What an interesting read! I had never heard of 'Roy O Disney', and perhaps that's the way he wanted it. Great insight into the man behind the man at one of the most well-known and well-loved companies in the world.
This book will help you understand the difference between visionary leadership and organizational leadership. One without the other is all but irrelevant! Plus some interesting theories on money and risk-taking. Current self-absorbed (and overpaid) CEO's should read this book and take notes. Any comments Mr. Eisner?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
While this book is published by Disney, it isn't all perfume and flowers about either Walt, or his older brother, Roy. Roy was a tenacious and shrewd businessman committed to seeing his younger brother's brilliance to fruition. Walt is a creative genius with limited interpersonal skills but a great vision and gift as a storyteller. This work is an insightful look at how midwest work ethic and strong family values tied to Irish determination gave these two brilliant men the courage and guile to succeed in the cutthroat entertainment industry for five decades, including a depression, a world war, and an endless parade of naysayers.
Author Bob Thomas is a former AP journalist who interviewed the Disneys in his earlier years, and must have some personal sentiment regarding Roy and Walt to have thoroughly researched and written this book at 76. His polished style is that of a storyteller and he entertains with hundreds of anecdotes from key members of the Disney family an! ! d co-workers of all ages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book that I read on the Disney's and I really LOVED it! It talks about them before they were who they were. It talks about Walt's obessions and Roy's devotion to his brother's dreams. God! If I had a brother who did this for me... the accomplishments I'd have made already in life. It's really a good book if you want to see a little bit of the mind set going on. I really want to find other books that talks about them. I liked how it explained the human side of these two guys. I think that's very imporant for a anyone in a small business with big aspirations to read and understand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Bob Thomas presents a fascinating history of the Disney entertainment empire, with a special focus on Roy Disney's role in the company's growth. While Walt Disney was the creative genius (although he never drew a single picture of Mickey Mouse), Roy Disney provided the solid financial foundation, got the loans and made the deals that made Disney profitable. Thomas mixes the Disney brothers' personal history with an overview of the Disney Company's creative and financial expansion, as they balanced creativity with practical business fundamentals. This personal and corporate saga illustrates the value of a company's commitment to both a central driving purpose and core values. We [...] recommend this lively, engaging, entertaining read. Just one note: The Book's publisher, like so many other entities in the entertainment world, is a Disney subsidiary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
From firsthand experience, I know the tremendous accomplishment Bob Thomas has achieved in his fine documentary on Roy Disney. Roy was a genteel fellow who was highly regarded by colleagues and the financial community. He spoke the language of high finance and was the alchemist who enabled Walt to turn his dreams into gold. Thomas, a veteran scribe whose fine eye for detail is enhanced by his turn-of-phrase ability, has accurately reported Roy's contributions to the Disney Empire. This long-overdue tome is a must for any Disneyphile who is in search of "the rest of the story," or any student of American free enterprise.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be an easy and very enjoyable read. Roy Disney is often overlooked when people are thinking about Walt Disney and the Disney Company. However, as this book shows, he was as important to the Disney Company as Walt. Walt was the creative driving force and Roy was the guy that kept the company solvent and made it possible for Walt's innovations to become realities.
Bob Thomas included more history on the Disney family in the book than he did in his biography of Walt. I really appreciated the inclusion of letters that Roy wrote to family and friends through the years. I think that reading those letters helped to give me a better feel for what Roy must have been like.
Several times in the book I wondered if I was reading Roy's or Walt's biography because Walt was discussed so often and stories about Walt were told in this book. However, I think that given the unique relationship these brothers had, I doubt that a complete biography of either of these men could be written without stories about the other.
I recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the Disney Company and it's history. It is also a good book for those that want to know about the businessman Disney brother as well and those wanting to have a better understanding of Walt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Finally someone who wrote about equally important, 2nd pilar of The Walt Disney Company. Its cofounder is greatly described in this book. It has many comparisons with his more famous brother Walt, but Roy's business affairs genious was equally important for the company, as Walt's creative genious. This book is a must read!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This is a story about the half of the Disney empire that most people are not familiar with, Walt's brother Roy Disney. And it is about Walt the creative dynamo as well, in fact sharing more details about Walt's personal life than most biographies devoted soley to him. But don't get me wrong it is a book about Roy most of all. These 2 brothers were very close and like all family disagreed in business at times, but they were fiercely loyal to each other always. Each understood the others gifts and talents and they shared the load like no other team ever has. Roy was the administrative half of Disney Studio's and Walt was in charge of the Production half. You really get a feel for what the studio set up was like in this book. It includes never before published photos and actual letters of correspondace from Roy that is very touching. Roy was as unselfish a man that has ever been known, and like Walt was not dazzled by money other than its usefulness in business. He had simple tastes and was first and foremost a family man. You really get a feel for their times in this book and I highly reccommend it, whether you are interested in Disney, animation,televison production, theme park development, the business and administrative side of a studio, or you just appreciate a good biography of a special person. They broke the mold with Roy Disney.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
It was essential that this book be written. Bob Thomas has done a masterful job of telling the story of Walt Disney's older brother, Roy O. Disney. The life and work of this man has gone under-reported and under-appreciated for too many years. The book is filled both with wonderful stories of the early years for the Disney family, and of the struggle and hard work involved in establishing one of the most influential American companies of the 20th Century. Roy's story is told through the first hand accounts of both his family and co-workers. An absolutely fascinating read. Don't be surprised to see a television mini-series grow out of this one!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had the good fortune to have Walt Disney World as my first employer while Roy O. Disney was alive. He actually came to one of my job locations while I was working. Alas I was working in the back and missed meeting him.

Prior to the theme park's opening fulltime employees were schooled at "Walt Disney World University" twenty to thirty hours a week. There were massive layers of learning. One lesson taught loud and clear was thousands of artists have come and gone unknown. The reason you know about Walt Disney is he had a brother who was a business genius named Roy. Roy made Walt Disney `happen'.

Before Chapter One is a page with a few colorful paragraphs. This fun quote is a part of that page giving readers a flavor to this book.

"When Walt and I were on the farm in Marceline, we had to sleep in the same bed. Now Walt was just a little guy, and he was always wetting the bed. And he's been peeing on me ever since."

Roy sometimes added with the lighthearted observation: "I can say I'm the only man in the world who has been peed on by a genius."

I enjoyed this book so much I had my high school age son read it. I am a fan of biographies and business. This is one of the top ten books I have read year to date. Today, December 20th is also the date Roy Disney entered eternity. This book gave me a clearer understanding of the Disney Organization that touched my life. I am so grateful it was written giving me a picture of Roy's sacrifices for building the Disney legacy of family fun to our world. His epitaph rings so true:

Roy Disney
A great and humble man who left this world a better place
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