In the Wall Street Journal‘s best-selling business book list last weekend (8/21-8/22), a new blockbuster by James Andrew Miller debuted at # 2. Miller, who you remember wrote Those Guys Have All The Fun, about ESPN, and Live From New York, about Saturday Night Live, this time tackles the Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
The book is called Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency (Custom House, 2017). As of today, it is # 1 in three of the book categories on Amazon.com.
Here is a brief summary of the book from Amazon.com:
“The movies you watch, the TV shows you adore, the concerts and sporting events you attend—behind the curtain of nearly all of these is an immensely powerful and secretive corporation known as Creative Artists Agency. Started in 1975, when five bright and brash employees of a creaky William Morris office left to open their own, strikingly innovative talent agency, CAA would come to revolutionize the entertainment industry, and over the next several decades its tentacles would spread aggressively throughout the worlds of movies, television, music, advertising, and investment banking.
“Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled with CAA, as well as financial information never before made public, author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, greed, and personal betrayal. It is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business.”
This certainly qualifies as a business book for our First Friday Book Synopsis, and we presented Miller’s ESPN book a few years ago. Whether it holds up as a best-seller on the list is the only reservation.
Today, I saw that he published his list of the top 50 sports books, in an article entitled “By My Reading…” (March 15, 2015, p. 14C) Click the link here and you will see an interactive page that explains why he believes that a book belongs on the list, and what it contributes.
Cowlishaw is a veteran sports reporter in the DFW area. He also appears on the ESPN national television program “Around the Horn.” He joined the Dallas Morning News in 1989. He has been a beat writer for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and Dallas Stars. Today, he focuses his work on daily columns.
It was fun to look at Cowlishaw’s list of books. If I were making such a list, I would include Men at Work by George Will (Easton Press, 1990). That book explained the game day business of baseball better than anything I have ever seen. It convinced me, as well as others, that baseball is not “boys at play.”
I was amazed how many of the books I had read, and even saved. My favorites off his list were:
- Ball Four by Jim Bouton (Dell, 1971)
- Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn (Harper and Row, 1972)
- Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger (De Capo Press, 2000)
- Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof (Holt, 2000)
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton, 2004)
- Cosell by Howard Cosell (Playboy Press, 1973)
- Instant Replay by Jerry Kramer (World Press, 1968)
Cowlishaw did a good job of selecting and explaining why these books were prominent in a very concise way.
After reading it, I wanted to go out to the garage and see if I can pull out some of these. Some would be yellowed, tattered, and torn.
Of course, I would have to find them first.
We rarely get any comments on our blog posts. But, I am interested to see if you would add or subtract any sports books from his list after you look it over.
I am frequently asked what I think was the greatest speech of all time. I receive these questions since I coach professional presenters in the marketplace, as well as teach business presentations as part of the MBA program in the College of Business at the University of Dallas. I think that many people like to benchmark features of their own presentations against famous speeches that they are familiar with.
Since we recently passed the 50th anniversary of the great “I Have a Dream” speech by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., you have likely seen several editorials about the context, the speaker, and the speech. I will not repeat any of these here as they are readily available for you. There is no question in my mind that it is one of the greatest of all time, but it is not THE greatest.
That honor goes to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who at the Democratic National Convention in 1988, gave the most inclusive presentation I have ever seen. That evening, he put it all together. There is no single presentation that I have seen which embodies all of the elements of successful speechmaking this well. No matter what you wish to critique – projection, tone, eye contact, posture, gestures, language, verbal and vocal variety, storytelling, and on, and on, and on….this speech is a model. I am especially impressed when I see how he touches all elements of his audience – young and old, white and black, rich and poor, able and disabled, male and female, and any other demographic classification that you want to examine. I especially encourage you to watch Part 7 by clicking here. He would be nominated for the presidency of the United States the next evening. Had he been elected, I think he would have been powerful with foreign leaders, but would have had great difficulty passing legislation through his own bodies of congress.
Two other items about this speech stand out to me. First, he has energy. Even 75 minutes from the beginning, Jackson has the same enthusiasm he started with. Second, he puts elements from the African-American pulpit into a political speech very successfully. As you watch Part 7, note features such as repetition, parallelism, cadence, etc., which you would see any Sunday in this type of church.
So, for what it is worth, here is my list of the top five American speeches of all time, with links to a YouTube version of the speech where available:
1. Rev. Jesse Jackson – 1988 Democratic National Convention
2. President Ronald Reagan – Challenger Explosion Speech – January 28, 1986 – in just 4:40, he settles down the country, gives hope to children who watched the broadcast, praises NASA, and restores faith in the United States space program.
3. Robert F. Kennedy Announces Death of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – April 4, 1968 – en route to a political campaign stop in Indianapolis, RFK receives word of the King assassination, and speaks from the heart in an attempt to unify the country which could experience significant polarization; he holds an envelope with scribbled notes that he barely refers to.
4. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – “I Have a Dream” – August 28, 1963 – an electrifying, sincere, and emotional presentation filled with striking metaphors and allegories that marks a transition in civil rights
5. Jim Valvano – ESPY “Don’t Ever Give Up” – March 3, 1993 – filled with terminal cancer, the famous NC State basketball coach stirs the crowd with hope, passion, and humor
You may ask where are these American speeches? Yes, they are great, and likely in a “top 20,” but….
JFK inaugural address – January 20, 1961 – upbeat and enthusiastic, but disorganized, and one famous line does not make an entire speech famous
Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address – November 19, 1863 – we all memorized it, but our effort is why we probably think it is great
Richard Nixon “Checkers” Speech – September 23, 1952 – the first of many defiant and denial attempts by an elusive liar
Barbara Jordan addresses Democratic National Convention – July 12, 1976 – a remarkable address by a woman of color who left us way too soon, but she was the star, not the speech
What do you think? Do you have other favorites? Let’s talk about it really soon!
Before you leave town for the Labor Day Weekend, come join us for the September First Friday Book Synopsis.
Karl Krayer will present a synopsis of Those Guys Have all the Fun, about the wildly successful business launch of ESPN. I will present a synopsis of Knowing Your Value, which starts with the remarkable personal story of Mika Brzezinski and her “discovery” of just how unequally she was treated at Morning Joe. Then, as the journalist she is, she pursues this question with interviews/insights from many other accomplished women.
We always have great “back to school – beginning of the fall” attendance at the September First Friday Book Synopsis. If you are in the DFW area, come join us – 7:00 am, September 2, at the Park City Club. Click here to reserve your place.
I was disappointed in a recent article in B&C (Broadcasting and Cable) magazine. In the July 11, 2011 issue, the feature article was “Women in the Game” (pp. 8-16). The message of the article was that “the TV sports business is hardly an old boys’ network. Meet the women making big plays behind the scenes.”
That is exactly what the article chronicles – women behind the scenes. It includes highlights about the careers of:
Karen Brodkin – Senior VP, Business and Legal Affairs – Fox Cable Networks
April Carty-Sipp – Senior VP, Creative Services – Comcast Sports Group
Teresa Chillianis – General Manager – Cablevision MSG Varsity
Christine Godleski– COO – WNBA
Debra Honkus – CEO – NEP Broadcasting
Jodi Markley – Senior VP, Operations – ESPN
Lorie McCarthy – Senior VP, General Sales Manager – Turner Sports
Deborah Montiel – VP, Marketing – GolTV
Rebecca Schulte – Senior VP and General Manager – Comcast Mid-Atlantic
Suzanne Smith – Producer/Director – CBS Sports
Molly Solomon – Coordinating Producer – NBC Olympics and Talent Development
Melinda Witmer – Executive VP and Chief Video and Content Officer – Time Warner Cable
I am thrilled at these stories. I am elated that these women have broken the glass ceiling in one of the most difficult business contexts that exists in the world.
But, why not include women in front of the scene? For years, women have filled the role of sideline reporters. But, now look at Pam Ward, who calls play-by-play for college football and basketball for ESPN. Or Doris Burke, who is a prime analyst for men and women contents in college basketball for ESPN and ABC. There are others. I can’t include them all. But, on the sidelines we have seen Pam Oliver for FOX, Andrea Kremer for NBC, Lesley Visser for CBS and ABC, Suzy Kolber and Michele Tofoya for ESPN, among many others.
The one that I am the proudest of is Erin Andrews from ESPN. She has remained resilient in the face of an awful, invading peephole video expose by a cowardly stalker, shot through a keyhole of her hotel room. In spite of the negative publicity and occasional “cat-calls” from fans in the stands, she has continued to do her job. She covers football, baseball, basketball, and other sports, and has not flinched from any of the pressure created by the negative incident. She asks tough questions and seeks out stories. She even now hosts a weekly college football show with Andre Ware that airs on ESPN, and is featured on College Game Day every Saturday morning.
I refuse to watch the peephole video. It is widely available on the internet for free. Not that she isn’t attractive – she’s actually beautiful. I just think that if she wants to show us her body, she should be the one who decides to do it. The uninvited and imposing stalker who invaded her privacy has no right to show us anything about Erin Andrews that Erin Andrews does not want us to see. Make no mistake – I will look at her if she makes herself available. But, notice that in that case, she would have decided to feature herself. That’s the only way that I am going to participate as a viewer.
But, Erin Andrews is not about looks. She does her job. She does it well. There are other women who do this work well. We should see more articles about “Women in the Game” who are in front of the scene, not just behind it.
In September at the First Friday Book Synopsis, I will feature a book about ESPN. It is called These Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. It’s not all about guys, and I will have some content from Erin Andrews. I hope that someday soon she will write her own book.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it.