- File Size: 45565 KB
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0753553376
- Publisher: Portfolio (September 25, 2018)
- Publication Date: September 25, 2018
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07B2HS77M
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$30.00|
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Who Is Michael Ovitz? Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
Excerpted from WHO IS MICHAEL OVITZ?
Me and my neighbor Dustin Hoffman at Broad Beach, Malibu.
With Bobby DeNiro and Penny Marshall at Marty Scorsese's surprise fiftieth birthday party.
Me trying to convince Bill Murray of something very important that I no longer remember at the Ghostbusters premiere.
The team in David Letterman's new office at CBS after we closed his deal.
With Tom Cruise and his first wife, Mimi Rogers, at the opening of The Color of Money.
"A revealing retelling of his Hollywood career…. A study in the unusual personality traits required to pull this off, Who Is Michael Ovitz? represents a master class of sorts." —The New York Times
"Learn how to build an empire and transform an industry from the Jedi master of modern Hollywood." —Marc Andreessen
"This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The meticulous detailing is as graphic and captivating as Michael’s Jasper Johns 'White Flag' painting. The stories are vivid, educational, entertaining, and deeply satisfying." —LA Reid
"Who Is Michael Ovitz? is an unexpectedly good read….What makes [it] juicier than the average business memoir is that the author proves surprisingly willing to dish about the foibles of former clients and colleagues alike." —Michael Cieply, Deadline: Hollywood
"Michael is a legend and I don't use that term lightly. Learning from his journey is something that every entrepreneur and executive should do." —Gary Vaynerchuk
"Michael’s brilliance and relentless drive clearly shine through in this entertaining memoir. You see the man behind the agency and how he built a global business empire. His life story has powerful lessons for us all." —Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
"It is truly rare to read a book this honest from a living legend. The Hollywood superhero lets us peak behind his mask and understand his weaknesses and methods.... I was shocked, thrilled, and surprisingly educated. A masterpiece of a memoir."—Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner, Andreessen Horowitz
About the Author
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Ovitz combines business lessons, an inside look at Hollywood and a personal memoir all in one book. Anyone interested generally in business case studies will enjoy the book at the author built one of the most successful startups in Hollywood in the modern era. If you are interested in the film business specifically, the book is probably a must read.
You also get some insight on how he handled negotiations, employees, and clients. There are Hollywood anecdotes about stars and famous directors including a priceless paragraph about how he got his martial arts instructor, Steven Seagal, a movie deal.
The "memoir" part is also interesting. Ovitz doesn't get too specific but you get a feel for the background he came from and what drove him. He admits to some mistakes he made and discusses how he manipulated people and was stabbed in the back as well. As usual with memoirs, there is some self-promotion and score settling.
I'm surprised there aren't more reviews of Who is Michael Ovitz. Maybe Ovitz's Hollywood enemies have helped bury the book, which is one of the better reads of the year.
As a tech person with no background (or interest) in Hollywood I was still gripped by his stories. My outsider knowledge is similar to his description of LA movie people ignorant of New York finance people: “Hollywood, where people didn’t know Goldman Sachs from Saks Fifth Avenue”. He worked with so many people moving behind the scenes with such high profile outcomes.
Ovitz transformed the commercial artist representation business, in the process dramatically raising the price and power of talent for the studios. In an industry built on luck and relationships he scaled up hard work and hard ball to make an almost monopolistic agency that often represented all the major actors, directors and producers in each movie so the studio could not play any off against the other.
He then expanded the agency to handle mergers and acquisitions, selling 2 of the 7 Hollywood studios to Japanese companies. And extended further to advertising, winning a $31 million Coca Cola contract from a standing start in the advertising industry. He would have done much more if it was not for the guilds stopping him.
The CEO of Disney did not allow him to succeed when he hired him as the COO of Disney. But Orvitz got $130 million severance out of it. He latest act was to become a successful technology investor in Silicon Valley.
The secret to his enormous success is clear - he works harder and longer than anyone else, and his hard work has compound interest. I do not understand how he managed to sustain such a pace but he really did.
I also do not understand why he still cares because he clearly does. Once you get $130 million for being fired and the court confirms that you were mistreated by your employer, why does the mistreatment still hurt you? Once you sell Columbia to Sony, why does your LA colleagues’ annoyance at your being in Japan during the deal still upset you? Once you have signed up every important actor and director away from their previous agent, why be angry that the agents you beat and the buyers whose buying power you crushed are angry at you? But the book is full of hurt, upset and anger. Even though he won, and won massively, I don’t think he got to enjoy it.
Nevertheless, what an extraordinary collection of stories of winning in difficult situations. One story stuck with me from his founding of the agency. He and four cofounders left their previous agency employer to found the new agency. The employer found out about this before they had fully set up because the banker setting up their account was friends with the employer and tipped off the employer. The employer fired them, blocked others in the industry from working with them, and convinced another company to sue them for the trademark name of the new agency. A spurious lawsuit, but it would take time and money to fight and the new team has neither. Back against the wall, Mike remembered that the massive company suing his tiny startup was being investigated by the Federal government anti trust team. Hands shaking, voice quivering, he calls the company’s lawyer and says he will tip off the federal government that this lawsuit is another example of monopolistic practices. He gives the lawyer 2 hours to send a letter cancelling the law suit before Mike will call his contact. Mike has no such contact. But in 1 hour and 45 minutes he has a hand delivered a letter cancelling the law suit.
There is always a move.
It’s inspirational to read Mike share some of his moves.
While running an agency, he somehow brokered large M&A deals for the likes of Sony and made wildly famous ads for Coca Cola (I won’t spoil which ones). My favorite part was probably hearing the strategy behind how he built and expanded his agency, CAA, which eventually changed the power dynamics in show business.
The book was a slight notch below Shoe Dog, a similarly-structured life story about Nike’s founder, Phil Knight. And for that, I gave 4 stars. But I regularly picked up my Kindle on Saturday afternoon, when I‘m free to do whatever I want, which is always a sign of a page turner.
Top international reviews
Recommended to people who loves watching Hollywood movies and are curious about the inner workings of Hollywood.
Also Ovitz is an interesting personality which makes the read more fascinating.
Anyway I loved every page of this book . Well done Mike!