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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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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,

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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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5 Handshakes

Struggled to stop listening. Made me late to at least 5 meetings. So I will give this a ranking of 5 handshakes 🤝🤝🤝🤝🤝

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The turpitude of tinseltown writ large

If you want to get an inside look at what it's like to be a player in the den of iniquity that is Hollywood, you couldn't do much better than Who Is Michael Ovitz. Written by the titular character, Michael Ovitz, co-founder and one time managing partner of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the most powerful talent brokerages in the world, WIMO tells the tale of the author's rags-to riches rise, his many show business triumphs, and ultimate downfall, principally at the hands of some of his closest colleagues, Engaging as it is, in my view, this book was written largely to expiate Ovitz' feelings of betrayal by his former associates, an impression which leads me to suspect its overall factual reliability, but then, since when have we looked to Hollywood for objective truths?

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Outstanding!!! Five Stars

Exhilarating!!! What a life! Wish I could be his friend and soak up all the WISDOM! Was obsessed with this book. Such a great read. Highly highly recommend. It’s dishy and INSPIRING!

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Excellent Memoir

I am in the entertainment business in Hollywood and have found the Ovitz/CAA story fascinating. This is a fantastic story and have discover a few new ideas for employ in my day to day operations. Highly recommended!

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Could not make it past the first few minutes

I just could not make it past the first few minutes of this guy telling me how great he is. Thankfully I never had to meet him in person.

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Not many lessons learned

If you want to learn the lessons outlined in this audiobook, it’s mostly old stories without much depth. To outline some lessons learned…

Wake up and workout daily before you start the day. Then work your butt off from day to night, catering to your clients needs but spending little time with your family.

The guy came from nothing but gave it all he had to create the biggest agency and then used his clients as leverage to run Hollywood by packaging all the talent he represented for the studios.

If you have a goal, don’t aim to hit the target. You must punch through the target.

In business you’ll have a business partner for years only to part ways and become enemies.

You’ll eventually get tired and worn down but when you stop playing the game, you’ll miss the action and the people.

At 70 you’ll want to make peace with your family and your former colleagues .

The narrator is mundane and the book if full of forgettable stories. It would be much better if there were outlined lessons learned from all the business everts. Maybe the paper book has more detail.

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Captivating!

I thought Michael did a wonderful job giving readers insight of his life. His story is an amazing account of a man whose passion and curiosities for art and perfection drove him to the top. I was truly inspired and would recommend taking notes.