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Publisher's Summary

If you're going to listen to one book about Hollywood, this is the one. 

As the cofounder of Creative Artists Agency, Michael Ovitz earned a reputation for ruthless negotiation, brilliant strategy, and fierce loyalty to his clients. He reinvented the role of the agent and helped shape the careers of hundreds of A-list entertainers, directors, and writers, including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Sean Connery, Bill Murray, Robin Williams, and David Letterman.  

But this personal history is much more than a fascinating account of celebrity friendships and bare-knuckled deal making. It's also an underdog's story: How did a middle-class kid from Encino work his way into the William Morris mailroom and eventually become the most powerful person in Hollywood? How did an agent (even a superagent) also become a power in producing, advertising, mergers & acquisitions, and modern art? And what were the personal consequences of all those deals?  

After decades of near-silence in the face of controversy, Ovitz is finally telling his whole story, with remarkable candor and insight.

©2018 Michael Ovitz (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"When the history of Hollywood is written, few people will have played a larger role than Michael Ovitz.... It is impossible to read such a chronicle and not see Mr. Ovitz as the Steve Jobs of agenting, possessing a version of Jobs’s fanatical drive and a similar desire to remake an industry." (The Wall Street Journal)

"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)

"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) 

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What listeners say about Who Is Michael Ovitz?

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Yep, that's the guy

Ovitz seemed muted in the CAA oral history, and I wanted to hear his side of things. Boy, did I get them. He rarely attempts to couch himself and lets you inside his most historic schemings. He pulled off what he probably wanted in the first place: Cementing his place in history on his terms, coming off as both The Best and Terribly Flawed. No surprise, he even agented his own book. There are only a few revelations (if you've followed him over the years) but they are definitely ear candy when they pop out. The surprise of the book is the reader Dennis Bouthsikaris, who nails a tone that allows him to be anything that he needs to be: vicious, abhorrent, kind, surprised, embarrassed, curious, learned, scornful, remote and aggressive. I read this while driving around LA for work mostly, and it gave me a new sense of the landmarks I was passing along the way.

6 people found this helpful

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Self congratulations on ambitious achievements

If you are interested in reading about how business in Hollywood is done, then this is the novel for you. Otherwise, it is a self promotional book about a narcissistic showbusiness agent who shares boring details about how he successfully made deals. There is no real insight into the people with whom he represented and how they shaped his career. By the time I finished with the book, I felt as if I just took a course in mergers and acquisitions. #ModernWorkplace #Cynical #Celebrity #Tagsgiving #Sweepstakes,

2 people found this helpful

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Been waiting for this book for years.

I've listened to this book as soon as I bought it. I've long admired Ovitz for his discipline. Couldn't stop listening. I highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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Tough book to review because of the subject.

First, he’s a pretty horrible person. Massively egotistical (after four years of Trump I didn’t know there were two of them). His entire life is based on: if you were his client, you get presents; if not, he would send underlings down the street screaming your name. I am concerned that he might have his lawyers sue me for writing a bad review...sooooo The book is actually pretty interesting; narrator is good; Hollywood is my favorite subject so I would listen to peewee Herman give me background information. Knowing you get 11 hours of somebody telling you how great he is, if you can get over that, it’s not worst waste of 11 hours.

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Wow, I had no idea!

I knew Michael Ovitz was a powerhouse agent, but I had no idea how far reaching his talents are or what a visionary he is! Great book and inspiring as well.

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  • 01-31-21

Amazing Read

This book was recommended by my coaching company specificcally by Tom Ferry in a elite retreat. Otherwise I could have never listened to it. It has so many dramatic insights on business growth and personal endeavor. Lots of good lessons.

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Great but...

Misses a lot of info. It feels they shortened the book but it’s a good book if you love the entertainment industry

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Michael's life and ambition are fascinating.

The narration is fantastic. It's well written and engaging. It offers a behind the curtain view of the entertainment biz that I enjoyed.

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The narration turned me off

The conceit of authors narrating their books can take an otherwise amazing memoir and turn it into a steaming pile of manure.

Mr. Ovitz manages to sound utterly obnoxious, monotonous and thoroughly unsympathetic in the first 10 lines.

I think a brilliant narrator would have been able to pull off the tired cliches in Mr Ovitz’s book and make them sound exciting.

For me, “Who is Michael Ovitz?” Is a question that will be left unanswered. Indefinitely.

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Introspective & Honest

I appreciated this book almost more than any other business book I have read. There is an honesty and directness that shows someone who has truly evaluated themselves and found clarity. I loved it. This book demonstrates the beauty of relationships in a long career and the finality of leadership positions in business. There is no job or business relationship that will last forever yet their value will help shape your personal identity indefinitely.