Work in Progress

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Denison University presents Work in Progress by Michael Eisner.

Scores of books have been published about business, but rarely has a CEO as prominent as Michael Eisner of The Walt Disney Company written so intimately about his life and work. In Work in Progress, Eisner describes the daily challenge of a rapidly changing marketplace, countless creative choices, painful setbacks, and dramatic triumphs. For more than 30 years, Michael Eisner has lived and worked at the center of American popular culture. At ABC, as a young executive, he helped bring to life shows such as 'Happy Days' and the miniseries 'Roots'. As president of Paramount Pictures, he was responsible for films ranging from 'Beverly Hills Cop' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' to 'Terms of Endearment' and 'The Elephant Man'. As chairman of The Walt Disney Company for the past 14 years, he has orchestrated the transformation of a beloved but struggling company into a multimedia giant in movies, television, radio, theme parks, theater, and even cyberspace.

Having spent his life helping other people to tell stories, Eisner now tells his own -- with humor, insight, and unstinting honesty. He recounts such significant events as the extraordinary revival of Disney's animation business and the negotiations for one of the largest acquisitions in corporate history -- Cap Cities/ABC -- which began in an Idaho parking lot. He is just as forthcoming about the early struggles of Disneyland Paris and the fierce opposition that finally helped to derail Disney's America theme park. Blending the personal and the professional, he tells the stories of the tragic death of his partner and closest confidante, Frank Wells; his own emergency quadruple bypass surgery; the high-level personnel changes that followed; and the emergence of a new generation of young leaders at Disney. Throughout Work in Progress, we watch Eisner grappling with the often paradoxical choices that he faces each day in managing a creative company. What is the proper balance between art and commerce, tradition and innovation, short-term profit and long-term growth, pragmatism and excellence -- the company's good and the greater good? Like no other business memoir, Work in Progress is a riveting tale of high-pressure life at the top -- an ongoing drama about risking failure and surviving success.