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Summary

An astonishing - and astonishingly entertaining - behind-the-curtain history of Hollywood's transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the number-one best-selling author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.

In 1975, five young employees of a sclerotic William Morris agency left to start their own strikingly innovative talent agency. In the years to come, Creative Artists Agency would vault from its origins in a tiny office on the last block of Beverly Hills to become the largest and most imperial, groundbreaking, and star-studded agency Hollywood has ever seen - a company whose tentacles now spread throughout the world of movies, music, television, technology, advertising, sports, and investment banking far more than previously imagined.

Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that hot-blooded ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled CAA as well as financial information never before made public, acclaimed author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, drugs, sex, greed, and personal betrayal. Powerhouse 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. Here are the real Star Wars - complete with a Death Star - told through the voices of those who were actually there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, hedge fund managers, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.

©2016 James Andrew Miller (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Cold people

This is a story that left me feeling cold. About self serving people I couldn't care less about. Interesting in parts, ultimately I wish I'd never started it.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • James M. Patton
  • 07-08-18

The history of the legendary agency.

An extensive telling of the history of the legendary agency that changed Hollywood. This books takes you inside the walls of CAA with the people that lived it. A fantastic telling of a story you wouldn't believe if it was all put into a film.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin
  • 26-07-18

Great book!

It was a great read, and I'm really glad that I listen to it. I now have a much better understanding of how it works in this world, and it was also very entertaining. I couldn't get enough.

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  • Tom Barreiros
  • 06-06-18

Pulled back the curtain on a lot of events!

The story and performance made a dense subject enjoyable. CAA affected the lives of so many people and it was very interesting to learn about it all.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Wing
  • 13-11-17

Magnificent History

Having worked with CAA over the years, it is amazing to read the history behind such a giant, the stories that shaped its creation and the impact that is has had on the creative industry. Without a doubt, this is worth the listen.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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  • Allen Patton
  • 13-11-17

A Solid oral history that does not stick the endin

I love me some corporate bio's, add that in with an oral history and you got a winner. The CAA book really nails this balance for the fist 18 hours then slows down a bit as the company change and moved into other things. I am not saying that the ending is boring but you go from something I care about (movies) to something I find full (sports) and a bit of the shine comes off in the last ten years of CAA.


(AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY)

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  • Anthony
  • 07-10-17

Great insider look into the entertainment industry

This book really goes in depth about the agency business but also scans the major trends that have happened in congruence with the rise of CAA. Kind of amazing how many people were included in the book.

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  • WPA Member
  • 27-09-17

History by quotes

I am not a fan of this book's format. Telling a story completely by quotes- however impressive to construct- lost me at many times. I forgot who the quoted person was (their significance) and many times I was frustrated the contexts' illustrations were limited to the persons quoted. The author rarely intervened with a couple paragraphs rather than painting the correct context and environment to better understand each quote. While I logically knew this format protected the writer's liability and was an impressive accomplishment to weave a storyline solely by quotes, I was felt irritated that more analytical research was not included and the book was solely reliant on here-say. A better format is like Disney War by James Stewart. I will say, when I finally accepted Powerhouse's story as more of a professionally-interviewed celebrity magazine rather than a researched company biography, I enjoyed how the writer captured the lifestyle, relationships, personalities, pressures and elations of the CAA experience. Most positively, the quotes were always intriguing. I am sad I did not understand the context behind much of the quotes.

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  • Doc G
  • 07-08-17

Great read. A little long especially near thre end

Nice story of the original founders.three recent history interested me less, and frankly I could had done without much of the current political battle stories. still enjoyed it very much.

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  • Patrick M.
  • 17-07-17

Solid Story, Questionable Voice Work

Here's the good: excellent insight into the business of Hollywood, TV and broadcast sports. You won't come away with a ton of hard business skills from this book other than be nice to people and value relationships over everything, but I found great value in the telling of CAA's early years led by their founders. In short, the origins of the CAA story is about the American Dream, friendship (or lack thereof) and hustle. I appreciated the multiple voice actors as well. The interviews are consistently candid in the first 3/4 of the book. Here's the bad: the last 3rd of the book could be chopped off. It's essentially a long form advertisement for their advisory services and sports arm. The voice acting is robotic and needs more variety. I love JAM but he is not a terribly gifted voice over actor. Oddly enough I would have appreciated more editorial commentary or 3rd party data to properly verify aspects of this story.

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  • Blessing Mpofu
  • 04-06-17

how books should be

A well researched and written book. Individuals views are not diluted. Giving many facets of the grand story of a Hollywood institution.

It was inspiring getting insight of how some of the things that have shaped culture throughout generations were born, developed, packaged and delivered.

A must read / listen!