PRINCE OF THE MAGIC KINGDOM by Joe Flower

PRINCE OF THE MAGIC KINGDOM

Michael Eisner and the Re-making of Disney

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Valiant Michael Eisner fights the mighty dragons of corporate takeovers, union demands, and executive complacency in this re- creation of the Disney rags-to-riches myth by a free-lance business journalist (Esquire, GQ, etc.)--this version livelier and more thoroughly researched than Ron Grover's The Disney Touch (p. 376). ``I like Michael Eisner,'' Flower admits in his introduction- -and this statement, in the face of Eisner's refusal to be interviewed (a refusal that many of his subordinates at Disney instantly echoed), offers a clue to the contradiction, which Flower finds fascinating, between personal charm and corporate ruthlessness in both the Disney Company and in Eisner himself. How can a business executive be charming, boyish, creative, and aggressive enough to spread the Disney presence around the globe (and up the prices of everything from its theme-park tickets to its stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls), yet manage to maintain Disney as one of the most popular and respected brand names on earth? Along his way of tracing Eisner's career from an assistant at ABC-TV to the rank of CEO at a desperately struggling Disney, Flower analyzes just what it is about the Disney perspective that makes its presence such a treasured part of American culture. He finds that luck has played a role in the nearly perfect match-up between a company identified with childlike optimism and the family-oriented, puppylike, yet ruthlessly ambitious Eisner. But will Disney weather the recession successfully? Certainly, says Flower, at least in the well-trodden areas of theme parks, films, and video--not necessarily, though, in the untried arenas of mainstream book publishing, restaurants, and retail merchandising. Would Disney do as well without Eisner at the helm? A tougher question to answer, Flower finds, given the vital nature of the Disney mythos and its brilliant expression in the person of its cheerful and determined CEO. A captivating tale with intimations--in this rendition--of a happy ending. (Fifteen photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1991
ISBN: 0-471-52465-4
Page count: 298pp
Publisher: Wiley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1991




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