An astonishing - and astonishingly entertaining - behind-the-curtain history of Hollywood's transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the number-one best-selling author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.
In 1975, five young employees of a sclerotic William Morris agency left to start their own strikingly innovative talent agency. In the years to come, Creative Artists Agency would vault from its origins in a tiny office on the last block of Beverly Hills to become the largest and most imperial, groundbreaking, and star-studded agency Hollywood has ever seen - a company whose tentacles now spread throughout the world of movies, music, television, technology, advertising, sports, and investment banking far more than previously imagined.
Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that hot-blooded ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled CAA as well as financial information never before made public, acclaimed author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, drugs, sex, greed, and personal betrayal. Powerhouse is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business. Here are the real Star Wars - complete with a Death Star - told through the voices of those who were actually there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, hedge fund managers, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.
©2016 James Andrew Miller (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
While too long and repetitious, the book offers great insights from major players. Inexcusable were the mispronunciation of prominent people such as John Calley and Guy McElwayne.
This was a great book on many levels, personalities, organizational behavior, business strategy, managing interpersonal communications and many more. However, it should have ended with the real estate transaction between Michael and Ron. The remainder of the book seems like a lot of patting themselves on the back as payback for cooperating with the author and providing access for interviews. Still a great book, just got bored with the last 25%.
This book was very enjoyable to listen to — even for someone not at all involved in "the industry," as it is called in Southern California. It was fun hearing the same stories from different points of view, and the narrator who did the interview voices was terrific. The other narrator — and I'm afraid it might have been the author! — was less successful. He didn't even bother to pronounce CAA correct about 85% of the time! Instead, "see-YAY." Sloppy. He added a few unnecessary syllables here and there to other words, however. The tone (rough but casual urgency) of his voice worked — but why did there need to be two narrators at all? Not necessary, in my opinion.
Michael Ovitz was such a lively character — if infuriating — that when he vanished from the story in an almost fairytale like spiral of greed ("The Fisherman and his Wife" is a fairytale that illustrates him pretty well, I think), the reader can't help but miss him, even if no one else in his immediate circle did. Things dull down considerably after that, though it is still well worth listening to.
This book dropped more names than snowflakes in a blizzard. Rarely were they familiar. This book would be interesting to industry insiders, not mere mortals.
The number of individual names incorrectly pronounced.
I disliked the lack of booth direction.There's a female performer who told sad anecdotes with a smile in her voice.
The lack of phonetic support made me angry.
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