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Who Is Michael Ovitz?

Length: 11 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (558 ratings)

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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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  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

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 of 2 people found this review 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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • LM
  • 10-24-19

Outstanding biography

Thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Inspiring read for anyone navigating the tricky world of Los Angeles.

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  • William
  • Manchester, NH, USA
  • 09-10-19

truly an amazing story

One of the best autobiographies of the 21st century . I enjoyed learning about the people he worked with. I always felt Michael Eisner was a lazy fuck who was scared of anyone looking better and here is the truth.

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Fascinating Peek Inside the Mind of a Super Agent

After listening to the Eisner book (Disney Wars) and this book back-to-back, I’m somewhat surprised to find Mr Ovitz the far more likeable, accomplished, industry-changing leader. He's clearly had some time to reflect on, learn from, and gain new perspective on his career. Or maybe I’ve just been agented. In any case, this is a very dishy, entertaining, illuminating, only occasionally-revisionist history with some heartfelt tough career moments and good life lessons.

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Ovitz the Magician

Decades ahead of his time. I loved hearing about all the layers and strategies behind one of Hollywood's most successful entrepreneurs.

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Great!

Loved this. Anyone who enjoys learning about the entertainment business should get this book. Loaded with cool stories.

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So inspiring!

As a young entrepreneur, I found so many lessons and gems in this book. I am so inspired by Michael rise from nothing. This book was amazing!

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Captivating Stories About Movie Making

I love reading/listening to stories about Hollywood and filmmaking. I read every biography or memoir that I can get my hands on. Of all the books about Hollywood that I've read, which amounts to a ton, this book is one of the best. It's extremely enjoyable and delivers exactly what I am looking for--stories about stars, directors, writers, making films, and life in Hollywood.

It fascinates me.

Easily Five Stars